The World Zionist Organization will sponsor an international conference on Jewish education next fall to seek solutions to the current crisis in Jewish education, it was announced here by Mrs. Charlotte Jacobson, chairperson of the WZO’s American Section. Mrs. Jacobson chaired a special meeting here last week of 150 leading Jewish educators which was addressed by WZO chairman Leon Dulzin and Israel’s Minister of Education, Zevulun Hammer.
The main project to be explored at the fall meeting will be the establishment of a World Council of Jewish Education that would comprise a partnership between diaspora Jewry, the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency and the WZO. The project originated in a resolution adopted unanimously by the 29th World Zionist Congress held in Jerusalem last February and was subsequently endorsed by the joint Israel government-Jewish Agency-WZO Coordinating Committee with the full support of Premier Menachem Begin.
Dulzin observed at last week’s meeting that “we have the full support of the government of Israel in the cause of Jewish education” for the first time. He said he sensed “great relief on the part of those present that serious efforts will be made to alleviate the danger facing the Jewish people as a result of ignorance of Jewish culture and the increased intermarriage that goes with it.” According to Dulzin, only 20 percent of Jewish school-age children in the U.S. receive some kind of Jewish education and in some other countries it is as low as 2-3 percent.
Mrs. Jacobson pointed out that education has always been a leading obligation and responsibility of the World Zionist movement which has devoted a great deal of manpower and resources to that goal. She stated that a number of attempts had been made in the past to achieve the kind of over-all planning and counsel service now being contemplated but they were never fully realized. This time, with the enthusiastic support of Israel’s Education Minister and the WZO, there is hope for success, she said.
The educators heard hammer analyze the commitments of diaspora Jews to traditional Jewish concepts and values and offer his ministry’s full support in the formation of the proposed council. Moshe Krone, chairman of the WZO’s Torah Education and Culture Department, spoke of the problems involved in creating a World Council of Jewish Education and emphasized the importance of developing a proper approach to Jewish educational problems today.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.