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B’nai B’rith Study Official Says Jewish Education “too Wrapped Up’ in the Past

January 21, 1969
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The national director of the B’nai B’rith’s adult Jewish study program sharply criticized Jewish education yesterday for being “too wrapped up” in what Judaism and Jewish life were in the past and not active enough in interpreting the concepts of Judaism so that individual Jews can find answers to current social and moral issues.

Mrs. Lily Edelman spoke at the annual meeting of the B’nai B’rith’s commission on adult Jewish education. She urged the Jewish community to make Jewish education more “problem-centered” and less concerned with “ladling out tradition for its own sake.” Mrs. Edelman said that proponents of Jewish study oriented in the past “foster a harmful provincial attitude that points the Jew in the wrong direction–toward a self-imposed ghetto mentality–instead of equipping him to live constructively as a citizen, a family-member and an individual.” She said “Jewish education need not be concerned solely with specifically Jewish issues but can be applied to moral problems in today’s society–such as racial unrest, Vietnam, poverty and the urban crisis–to which the Jewish ethic and the spirit of the Jewish tradition are relevant.”

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