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B’nai B’rith Youth Commission Discusses Desegregation in South

November 20, 1958
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The desegregation issue in the South was discussed here today at the annual meeting of the B’nai B’rith Youth Commission at the Waldorf Astoria. Label A. Katz of New Orleans, national chairman of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, reported that Southern white students are “more realistic” about desegregation than their elders.

“High school youngsters in the South prefer an integrated school to no school at all, “Mr. Katz said. He emphasized that white students “are not keen” about mixed classes but “they are more concerned with education than desegregation.” Furthermore, their antagonisms toward desegregation “are tempered strongly by their respectful attitude toward the orderly processes of law, “he added.

A report by Dr. Max F. Baer, national director of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, criticized “the failure of rabbis and group workers to collaborate in the religious training and education of Jewish youth. He suggested that rabbis and group workers adopt a “team approach” in which one of each participate as a team to guide youth groups.

A study conducted among 1,100 Jewish teen-agers, a random sampling of the B’nai B’rith youth membership, disclosed that three out of four youngsters are “affirmative” in describing the values of their Jewish education. Dr. Irving Canter, B’nai B’rith director of youth programing, who conducted the survey, reported that 32 percent of the sampling “liked their religious education experience very much, “while 45 percent “liked it somewhat.” Another seven percent expressed “dislike” and the remainder were “indifferent.” “Surprisingly,” Dr. Canter reported, “more girls than boys think highly of their Jewish training.”

The study, conducted in 25 communities, showed that more than half of the group prefer Conservative Judaism. About one out of four chose Reform Judaism and 12 percent selected Orthodoxy as a preference. The remainder had “no preference” or listed themselves as “non-religious.” Participants in the sampling were in the 14 to 19 age group. Almost all of the boys–96 percent–and 82 percent of the girls have had some religious schooling.

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