JERUSALEM (Dec. 31)
A president of a leading Israeli university has urged the world Jewish community to channel Holocaust restitution funds to programs that fight assimilation.
“The danger is that the money will be wasted and invested in the past, instead of being designated for the struggle for the Jewish future,” said the president of Bar-Illan University, Moshe Kaveh, at a conference held this week on assimilation.
He said the moneys from the funds should be spent on Jewish identity and education programs.
“Those who perished in the Holocaust would have wanted the money that was stolen from them to be donated to the struggle against the spiritual Holocaust taking place before our eyes,” he said at the conference held at the school, which is located in a Tel Aviv suburb.
Meanwhile, a professor of contemporary Jewry said assimilation has reached a “historic record,” with only about 25 percent of children of intermarried Jews in the United States defined by their parents as Jewish.
Professor Sergio DellaPergola of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem made the comments on Israel Radio before appearing at a conference panel.
The effects of this trend are less visible in the first generation, he said. “But afterwards, it snowballs in a very powerful way and really reduces the young portion of the Jewish population, leaving mostly aging and elderly people,” said DellaPergola.