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American Jews Warned on Identity at Conference on Family Life

March 8, 1967
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

“American Jews are in danger of becoming non-baptized, secularized, post-Christian would-be Protestants and non-Gentiles,” Dr. Abraham G. Duker, Jewish historian and educator, told a conference here today of 150 rabbis and Episcopal priests, and Jewish and Episcopal laymen, participating in a two-day parley on family life. The parley is taking place under the auspices of the Episcopal Church and the Synagogue Council of America.

Prof. Duker cited inroads being made against the Jewish family, but said that “despite crushing change” there was still emphasis on “the positive aspects of marriage and working with the community.” However, he added that “such negative concepts as juvenile delinquency, drug addiction and the notion of child permissiveness were making gains in Jewish homes.”

The elimination of commercialism from religion was urged at the conference by Rabbi Isaac N. Trainin, director of religious affairs for the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York. Doing away with commercialism in religion, he said, would indicate that vital Jewish events like circumcision, the Bar Mitzvah, weddings and funerals “must be returned to the synagogue.”

“The rabbinate and the synagogue, ” he said, “must discipline themselves to reject their participation in religious ceremonies which take place outside the synagogue. The synagogue must address itself to problems of the Jewish family today such as divorce, intermarriage, separation, the lonely aged and lost youth. ” The conference participants agreed that the family was still a basic and vital unit inculcating high ideals among key individuals who “weave the important fabric of American society.”

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