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Jewish Culture Society Discusses Ways and Means of Reaching the Masses

December 4, 1933
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The problem of how best to relate Jewish culture to the life of the American Jewish masses was discussed at today’s meeting of the second conference of the Midwest Region of the Jewish Culture Society, which opened here last night with forty-five delegates and a number of guests in attendance.

Speaking on “The Jewish Cultural Problem”, Shloime Bercovitch, secretary of the executive committee of the Midwest Region, warned the delegates that unless the program of the Society could be closely related to the life of the masses it was doomed to failure.

“We must be less intellectual, speak the language of the masses, and live our Jewishness always, not occasionally,” Mr. Bercovitch said. “Only in this way can our ideal become a religion and a part of a living and thinking philosophy.”

B. Rivkin, member of the New York City division and a guest speaker at last night’s session, spoke on the possibility of creating a united Jewish cultural front Mr. Rivkin declared that a cultural element is supremely necessary to every movement because it is adjustable to political belief and practice and because everything cultural deserves support. Some method, Mr. Rivkin emphasized, must be found to give people realities to serve the purpose of religion, which no longer satisfies them.

Delegates and guests at the opening meeting Friday heard Mr. Rivkin and H. Leivick, famous Yiddish poet, urge that the word is the greatest weapon the Jewish people possesses and therefore to be widely used in the interpretation of the cultural heritage and present of the Jewish people. Both speakers also expressed the opinion that the Midwest groups were in a better position to do so than others because of the fact that they have more time for cultural life.

Mr. Bercovitch also spoke at the opening meeting, as did M. Starkman, general secretary of the Yiddish Culture Society of America at its New York office.

A number of reports concerning the work of the society in the past year were also heard at this morning’s session. The conference, which opened with a presentation of Sholem Aleichem’s “Menachem Mendl”, will continue its sessions all day Sunday. The delegates present represent divisions of the society in seven mid-western cities.

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