NEW YORK (Mar. 22)
Rabbi William Berkowitz, who was officially installed as the president of the Jewish National Fund at the organization’s inaugural conference Monday night, told the 1500 guests that “Jews must assert their own special interests, to become more “particularistic” and devote their energies first and foremost to the survival of the Jewish people.” He criticized those Jews, many of them young, who, he said, seek to serve humanity in general at the expense of Jewish interests.
Elie Wiesel, the renowned author, in installing Berkowitz, stated: “Events are in the making which may be dangerous to Jews and for which we need leadership; leaders who will be our messengers to those who rule the world; leaders who will tell you where to go, when to protest and why.” He pointed to times in Jewish history, including the Holocaust period, when, he said, Jewish leadership proved to be inadequate.
Berkowitz, who is the spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, succeeds Meyer Pesin as head of the JNF. He served previously as a JNF honorary vice-president and has been a member of its board for several years.