Miami Beach, Fla. (May. 14)
The five-day national convention of the American Jewish Congress opened here tonight with a warning by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, that Jewish existence is threatened by an "anonymous process of assimilation and disintegration, infinitely more dangerous because of its quiet and cumulative effect."
He told the 500 delegates assembled from all parts of the country that "it is of decisive importance for the future of the Jewish people to bring the Jews of Soviet Russia back into Jewish life and to create for them the facilities for maintaining their Jewish consciousness."
"There is reason to hope," he stated, "that the Soviet regime will do away with the de facto discrimination it practices against the Jewish minority and grant the Jews the same facilities to maintain their identity that are granted to other minorities in the USSR."
With regard to Israel, Dr. Goldmann said that a "fundamental change of attitude" both in Israel and in the diaspora is necessary if Israel is to become the guarantor of Jewish survival. "The dangers to our future derive at present from within, not from without, Dr. Goldmann declared. "It is the task of Jewish leadership in Israel as well as in the Jewish communities around the world to recognize these dangers and problems and to shape a new policy to secure our future."
"The Jewish community of Israel faces two decisive problems," Dr. Goldmann continued. "One is the need to consolidate its position politically and economically, normalize its relations with the surrounding countries and secure its existence.
"The other is the need for it to transform itself into the main force of Jewish existence, the great spiritual fortress which must replace the destroyed European centers as the generator of new ideas and values of the kind that always sustained the moral and spiritual existence of the Jewish people in the world.
"These problems can only be solved by a continuous and increased joint effort of the Jews in Israel and the Jewish communities outside Israel. The creation of a proper relationship between Israel and the Jewish people in the Diaspora is a primary condition for the solution of the second problem." Dr. Goldmann stressed.
Sidney Hollander, a former president of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds and a long time leader of the Baltimore Jewish community, told the convention the 265,000 Jews in the South must now realize they cannot be "neutral" as the desegregation fight rages. "Jewish institutions are dynamited because the twisted KKK mentality responsible for these criminal outrages hate the Jew, the Negro, and the Catholic regardless of what he says or does, "Mr. Hollander declared.
"Jewish communal leaders and rabbis must realize that they have a stake in desegregation and in obtaining prompt compliance to the Supreme Court’s mandates, "he warned "They must see every constructive opportunity to join with others in defending these mandates. In discouraging lawless resistance to them, they will be upholding law and order and protecting their own security."