JERUSALEM (Jun. 27)
Dr. Nahum. Goldmann warned tonight that Jews, having become prosperous and influential in the world, are in danger of forgetting their timeless Jewish ideals and renouncing Jewry’s universal mission. Dr. Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, spoke at the opening session of the WJC’s Executive meeting here.
“While we were incomparable in remaining Jews in bad times, we now must prove that we can do so in good times,” he said. He said that modern Jewry, with the creation of Israel and their economic prosperity in the United States, was better off and more powerful materially than ever before. But it is just such a situation that presents dangerous spiritual pitfalls, he warned.
“The tendencies which are developing, especially within American Jewry, which would have the Jewish people limit its problems and activities for its own benefit and which renounces the universal character of our national and religious ideas, are an indication of the dangers involved in our new position as a powerful people,” Dr. Goldmann said.
He observed that Jewry today suffers from short-sighted policies. “It lives from hand to mouth and only reacts to events which happen in the outside world.”
Dr. Goldmann reiterated a point he has made on many previous occasions when he said that long-range thinking by Jews must take into account the fact that the democratic West was in eclipse and the Communist bloc and Third World are rising in power. “Today we must learn to orientate our policies not only to the democracies but also to the Communist countries and the Third World,” he said.
On the subject of Soviet Jewry, Dr. Goldmann said that while the first effort must be to secure free emigration, we must not forget that “large parts of these (Russian-Jewish) communities, if not the majority, will in the foreseeable future remain there and we cannot afford to lose them through their complete assimilation.”