Israel Helps Retain Family Structure

“Israel can be a countervailing force against those conditions that undermine the modern family,” Dr. David Hartman, professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, declared today. He was the keynote speaker at the opening of the 1978 Jewish Welfare Board’s biennial convention at the Queen Elizabeth here.

Hartman told the 1000 delegates to the convention that the modern family is challenged by technology which emphasizes the future, “revolutionary universalism,” despair and “radical individualism.” He warned that “the memory and values that Judaism imposes on a family through various obligations are being threatened.”

But, in Israel, according to Hartman, “the focus is on ‘we,’ the binding of a people. There is no room for radical individualism. Since Israel is a reality in which everything is not possible, it can cool the grandiosity of radical utopianism.”

Hartman said also that in Israel “historical commitment and technology can merge” and “society is built on the close ties of a family.” He declared that “if Jews all over the world will understand that Israel has given back to their people political sensibility, has returned a sense of continuity in history through the land, has bestowed an ability to live without grandiosity; has presented a chance to feel structure and particularism while remaining open to all men, there may yet be hope for the Jewish family.”

Hartman will be the JWB’s scholar-in-residence and will meet with presidents and executives of Jewish community centers and federations and participate in other aspects of the five-day convention.

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