NEW YORK (Feb. 7)
Rabbi Harold Schulweis of Encino, Califomia, urged Jewish leaders and volunteers to concentrate not only on fund-raising aspects within the Jewish community, but to increase outreach for Jewish cultural and educational enlightment.
“When does a Jew hear from another Jew on a personal basis, “Schulweis asked last night in an address to several hundred persons attending the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies’ Joint Leadership Conference. Answering his own question, the Conservative rabbi said, “For solicitation.”
He challenged the UJA-Federation to train 200 people to serve as “para-Jewish professionals” to aid in reaching out to the unaffiliated, particularly the youth on college and high school campuses. “Jews need Jews to be Jewish, “he declared, adding that they need more than fund-raising to feel as members of the Jewish community.
Schulweis of Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue, the keynote speaker at the meeting at the new conference center at UJA-Federation Campaign Headquarters, spoke on the theme, “Charting a Course for the Future of the Jewish Community. “His speech began with a call for what he described as “earnest congeniality” between the lay leadership in the Jewish community and Jewish professionals in order to ensure “Jewish survival.”
ASSAILS ‘DESPAIR AND INDOLENCE’ IN JEWISH LIFE
The old methods of fund-raising in the Jewish community are outdated, said the Bronx-born rabbi. “We will not shame them (Jewish youth) into believing, belonging, or behaving… We will not scare them into life or scare them into charity.”
He assailed the attitude of “despair and indolence” in Jewish life, and the notion that fears of anti-Semitism should somehow serve as a central focus to fund-raising activities. He acknowledged that no-one should downplay the extent of anti-Semitism, but on the other hand, it should not become an overpowering factor in the Jewish community.
“We are demoralizing our children, “he declared. “If Jews persist in thinking that when you scratch a goy you get an anti-Semite, you’ll paralyze the Jewish community.” He added that he believed there were “millions of friends and potential allies” outside the Jewish community.