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Need for Vocational Guidance for Jewish Youth Declared Urgent

November 27, 1928
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The need for increased guidance of Jewish young men, particularly those desiring to enter the overcrowded professions in New York, was stressed at the annual convention and conference held Sunday under the auspices of the Metropolitan League of Jewish Community Associations. The League is composed of 26 Y.M.H.A.’s, Y.W.H.A.’s and Jewish Centers in Greater New York, with over 50,000 members. The conference was held at the Federation Building, with several hundred delegates from Jewish educational and recreational organizations in attendance.

Sol M. Stroock, president of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies and of the Metropolitan League, acted as chairman. “It is our objective at this convention,” stated Mr. Stroock, “to arouse Jewry to a realization of the serious situation confronting our youth who comtemplate entering the overcrowded professions. The Y.M.H.A.’s, Y.W.H.H.’s and other Jewish youth service organizations strive to prepare their boys and girls both for life and for a living. During the hours of leisure, these associations function so that in the hours of work, our youth can better serve themselves and their employers.

“The choice of a suitable professional or business career is a universal problem for all young men and women. Our youth need guidance to prepare for their future life work. Some of our associations are alive to this vital need and conduct vocational guidance and employment bureaus. More has to be done, however, in guiding our youth vocationally. Ambitious young men and women in New York have entered by the thousands and tens of thousands into the professions, particularly the law, with the result that the professions have become overcrowded. A bitter struggle for existence has followed, and while some have succeeded, others have fallen by the wayside. Had our young men and women been properly informed in advance of the real situation in the professions, many a failure might have been avoided. Wasted years of study could have been more profitably spent in preparation for a lifework in which the individual’s chances for success would have been far greater.

“Probably the greatest service that can be rendered boys and girls leaving elementary, high school or college is to guide and fit them for their future employment. As a result of this convention, it is hoped that a constructive program will be initiated which will benefit the individual boys and girls and the entire community.”

Isidor J. Kresel, special investigator for the Bar Association in the recent “ambulance chasing” investigation, spoke on the situation in the legal profession. He deplored the fact that too many young lawyers were intent only on realizing financial success and had disregarded the standards of the profession. He recommended that the overcrowding in this field could be reduced by raising the standards of admittance to the bar.

Other speakers were Dr. Mary H. S. Hayes, Director of the Vocational Service for Juniors, who addressed the conference on “The Situation in the Business Field”; B. C. Vladeck, Manager of the “Jewish Daily Forward,” who spoke on “The Opportunities for Jewish Youth in the Trades”; Benjamin Veit, Associate Superintendent of the Board of Education, who described the vocational guidance work being conducted in the high schools of New York City.

Jack Nadel, executive director of the 92nd Street Y. M. H. A., read a paper on the employment problems of the Jewish youth and the efforts of seven local Jewish employment bureaus maintained by the Federation. He urged the consolidation of these agencies into a central vocational guidance and placement bureau in the business section of New York. A paper by George L. Cohen, president of the Stuyvesant Neighborhood House, presented a survey of the situation in the professions in New York as they relate to the Jewish youth. The closing address was by Meyer Bloomfield, former professor of Vocational Guidance at Boston University, who submitted a plan for the guidance of Jewish youth in vocational matters.

At the morning session of the convention, the President, Sol M. Stroock, read his annual report, indicating the progress made in New York City in Y. M. H. A.’s and Jewish Community Centers, particularly in new buildings. Over $3,000,000 had been raised in New York during the past year for such structures. The annual report of the field secretary, Samuel Leff, described the activities of the League along educational, athletic, religious and civic lines.

Sol M. Stroock was re-elected president. Four vice-presidents were chosen, Mrs. Jerome J. Hanauer, M. Maldwin Fertig, Harry M. Marks and L. K. Goldman, were elected. Hugo H. Piesen, Milton Weill and Samuel Leff were re-elected respectively treasurer, secretary, and field representative.

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