Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture to Concentrate Efforts on Youth
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Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture to Concentrate Efforts on Youth

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The so-called generation gap — specifically the alienation of Jewish youth from the Judaism of their fathers — was debated at length here today at the conference of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, a group that aims to revive Jewish culture and its institutions that were destroyed by the Nazis.

Some notable Jewish leaders attending the conference offered suggestions to bridge the gap. But a representative of the World Union of Jewish Students, an organization with chapters in 30 countries, indicated that youth prefers to go its own way, although it wants “a certain amount of material aid without strings.”

According to Edy Rauch of the Students Union, Jewish students, like other students all over the world, resent guidance preferred by their “elders and betters” because they reject the world that their “elders and betters” had created and did not consider them fit guides.

The emphasis throughout the debate was on Jewish education as the best means of helping the young survive as Jews. Michael Fidler, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, thought that “love of Jewishness and of Israel” were the two prerequisites of a good Jewish education. Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the Keren Hayesod, fund-raising arm of the World Zionist movement, and a prominent rabbi, deplored the quality of Jewish teachers. “We must make the teaching of Jewish subjects both a viable and honorable calling,” he said, “otherwise we land in the vicious circle of no remuneration, no good teachers and the victims are the young.” Dr. Moses Rosen, Chief Rabbi of Rumania, said that Torah is the basis of Jewish education but added that by Torah he meant not only prayer but social consciousness.

Terming the Foundation, which has 42 member organizations, “the most representative body ideologically speaking in Jewish life,” its president Dr. Nahum Goldmann outlined its program for the coming year.

It will concentrate, he said, on chairs in Judaica at universities in Israel and at “great institutions of Jewish learning in America and elsewhere”–all dealing with the problem of “Jewish youth and Jewish intellectuals.” The Foundation’s Executive Committee, which will meet next winter, will further consider the projects which, Dr. Goldmann said, will be carried out in conjunction with other Jewish organizations.

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