Delegates attending the 77th annual convention of District Grand Lodge No. 1, Independent Order B’nai B’rith, at the opening session voted to expand its cultural program by providing means for the training of future leaders of American Jewry. The organization went on record in favor of sponsoring additional Hillel Foundations at various American universities and instituting chapters of A. Z. A., junior B’nai B’rith organization, in each city which now has B’nai B’rith lodge.
The same theme was emphasized at the convention banquet Sunday evening by Acting Governor Herbert H. Lehman, Assemblyman Maurice Bloch, Alfred M. Cohen, international president of the Independent Order B’nai B’rith, Rabbi Nathan Krass and other speakers. They called upon the members of B’nai B’rith to assume the leadership in stressing the spiritual values in the lives of the Jews of this country.
The convention opened at the Hotel Statler with 150 delegates and 200 visiting members present. They were welcomed by Mayor Frank X, Schwab of Buffalo. Assemblyman Maurice Bloch, president of District No. 1, in his annual report, emphasized the cultural activities of the B’nai Brith. His announcement that he would decline to stand for re-election after having served two terms caused general disappointment. David Ruslander, Buffalo, was elected president to succeed Mr. Bloch. Other officers elected were Judge Albert Cohn, New York, first vice-president; Louis M. Singer, K.C., Toronto, second vice-president; Benjamin J. Shoolman, Boston, third vice-president; Louis Fabricant, New York, treasurer and Lawrence White, New York, secretary.
Maurice P. Davidson, chairman of the Wider Scope Committee, reported that a campaign to raise $72,000 has been launched successfully. He said the drive has been voted support by all the lodges in the district.
Acting Governor Lehman in his address, declared: “Acknowledging the importance of material things in our lives, I feel, nevertheless, that something definite and practical must be done to keep alive the spirituality of the Jewish people in this country Especially is this so in the case of our youth, and particularly our student youth. The college campus presents many distractions. It has a bewildering effect on the youth whose first venture it represents away from the influence of his or her home environment. Often, in this era of so-called revolt of youth, it is the path that leads in a misguided quest for intellectual freedom, to the torturous road away from Godliness and righteousness and toward moral disaster.
“If we want our youth to remain
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worthy of our traditions, to remain true to what they were taught at their mother’s knee, to the training of their early childhood, then it is our duty to direct our thoughts and devote our energies toward the development of Jewish education and through Jewish centers such as the Hillel Foundations to integrate understanding, love and devotion to Judaism with the higher education of our youth.
“It is important that this be done on the college and university campus, because the leaders of the next generation, those to whom is to be entrusted the task of carrying forward the torch of Judaism, are being developed there. The leaders of this generation will pass on, and we must see to it that the next generation are not called upon to assume its responsibilities without adequate leadership, a leadership whose impetus will be the love of Judaism and the Jewish people.
“If it is the aspiration of the Jews of America to be the best citizens of this land, it is important that these lofty principles which are the foundation stone of civilization, and whose origin is Jewish, shall be implanted in the souls of our youth. The better the Jews, the better the citizen, is our axiom that has by this time become generally accepted. One who is untrue to himself and his people cannot be true to anything else.”
The Women’s Auxiliary Council held its sessions jointly with the delegates of the Order.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.