Menu JTA Search

Orthodox Urged to Lower ‘material’ Standards to Aid Institutions

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

A leading Orthodox scholar of proposed that Orthodox Jews educate themselves to “lower material standards to meet the critical financial needs of our Torah institutions, “adding that “if we insist on living ‘the good life, our most important institutions will shrivel and fall by the wayside.”

That proposal was mode to the delegates attending the 58th annual convention of Agudoth Israel of America which met here, by Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky, dean of the Mesivta Torah Vodaath.

Rabbi Chanoch Ehrentreu, head of the Rabbinical Court in Manchester, England, urged the American Jewish community to create a “Torah corps of laymen professionals and businessmen — to devote one hour per week to reach out to our uneducated brethren who are waiting to be reunited with their heritage.” He said such an experiment had been successfully undertaken in his community.

Rabbi Moshe Sherer, president of Agudath Israel of America and chairman of the Agudath Israel World Organization said that “only through Orthodox Jewry initiating on expanded program of creating new projects which would demonstrate the relevancy of ancient Torah ideals to the modern scene” could the “gods of assimilation” be toppled.

At the closing convention session Sunday, a leading Washington Orthodox attorney and an Orthodox law professor disagreed on the place of the Orthodox Jew in the political process.

Referring to Orthodox Jews as “the moral minority,” attorney Nathan Lewin said that “the legislative objectives of Orthodox Jews can best be secured through the election and appointment or Orthodox Jewish representatives.” But Aaron Twersky of Hofstro University, contended that “Orthodoxy should not be on automatic ticket to on elected office.” He contended that “candidates should be evaluated based on their sensitivity to the issues rather than exclusively on their-religious background.”

Two speakers agreed on Orthodox out-reach to non-Orthodox Jews by non-professionals. Prof. Dale Gottlieb of Baltimore urged Orthodox Jews at every level “to open their homes to non-committed Jews as the best means of prompting a mass return to authentic Judaism.” Rabbi Yitzchok Chinn of McKeespart, Pa. agreed, adding that Orthodox Jews “must look in their own backyard for Jews who are thirsting for Jewish living.”

‘MELTING POT’ BEING REVERSED

Rabbi Pinchos Teitz of Elizabeth, N. J. joined during the opening session on Thursday with Rabbi Chaim Dov Keller, dean of the Telshe Yeshiva in Chicago, in agreeing that American Jews were beginning “to reverse the negative effects of the ‘melting pot’ philosophy.”

Rabbi Teitz said “the greatest change in the post 30 years of American Jewish life is the spiritual reawakening brought about by the third American Jewish generation. ” He sold not long ago, “piety and Torah know-ledge were synonymous with old age and a European background” but now “it is synonymous with youth and an American background.”

Rabbi Keller said the aims of the melting pot had been replaced “with a genuine yearning for Torah. value.” Rabbi Teitz called for the Jewish philanthropic dollar to make it possible for Jews generally to send their children. to day schools which, he said, had become “too expensive” for most Jews.

Rabbi Elya Svei, dean of the Tolmudical Yeshiva of, Philadelphia, warned that “the shortage of qualified teachers in religious schools for girls directly affected the qualify of Jewish mothers and thus endangered the future Jewish family.” He said Jewish girls should seek careers in Jewish education rather than in other professions.

NEXT STORY