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September 21, 1962 - Image 25

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1962-09-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Head of OBT Tells Story
of Movement's Achievement

By NATHAN ZIPRIN

Editor, Seven Arts Feature
Syndicate

I met Dr. William Haber at
ORT functions and his intel-
lectual texture always intrigued
me.
Dr. Haber
in my book
holds the dis-
tinction of be-
ing among the
few public fig-
ures in Jewish
life who are
always re-
freshingly ex-
hilarating
whether their Dr. Haber
theme is Jewish tzores or Jew-
ish naches. He understands the
Jewish situation in depth and
is keenly sensitive to the under-
currents in Jewish life every-
where. His immediate dedica-
tion is ORT and its program of
creating a future for Jewish
young men and women through
training them in skills and oc-
cupations that are essential to
the economies of the countries
in which they live, particularly
in Israel, where the new olim
must be retrained if they are to
take their proper place in the
economic pattern of the coun-
try. His wider dream, however,
is of the Jewish image in toto,
the planting of Jewish roots,
the preservation of Jewish val-
ues, the burgeoning of Jewish
culture in all its forms.

Dr. Haber is professor of eco-
nomics at the University of
Michigan, but he does not talk
like a teacher nor does he em-
ploy the semantics of the pun-
dit, usually deemed by the
overawed and the gullible as
a sure mark of scholarship.
Whether it was Israel he spoke
about or the distant lands
from which he had just re-
turned—such as India, Japan,
South Africa and Australia—
his limning was always fresh,
in measured words, in sub-
dued colors, in balance d
tropes. One sensed humility"
in his telling whether the
story was about Israel, the
exotic lands or the activities
of ORT and its future plans.
Yet it was not an objective
telling, for his voice vibrated
with intensity and his visage
reddened perceptibly as he
spoke of the Jewish future in
the lands of his visit.

Wherever he went, Dr. Haber
found quest for education for
Jewish children the foremost
problem of Jewish leadership.
Everywhere he sensed striving
for contact with Jewish values,
as well as fear of a youth
breaking away from tradition
because of a lack of understand-
ing of the significance -of links
as a tie , between the genera-
tions. Many of the Jewish com-
munity leaders he encountered
in those countries, Dr. Haber
said, were plainly concerned
"lest the generation of tomor-
row may- not understand why
they are Jews." In some of the
countries there was complain-
ing by the elders that the
Jewish youth "was putting too
much emphasis on the crises of
today" and that "the gap be-
tween the generations was
growing particularly serious"
over the issue of human rights,
with the young unable to under-
stand the neutralist position of
their elders as Jews on some of
the burning confrontations of
the day.

The picture he limned was
not however one of decay,
though not of vibrancy either.
Some of the countries in that
part of the world are on the
brink of the precipice and the
Jews there at best face an un-
certain future, yet Jewish life
goes on as if the shutters
against the storm were im-
pregnable. Many have left for
safer pasture—Israel. But the
bulk of the communities are

Judith Morse Will
Wed _Burton Raimi

Mrs. Roer Receives
Federation Grant for
Social- Work Studies
The Jewish Welfare Federa-
tion of Detroit has joined with
the Council of Jewish Federa-
tions and Welfare Funds in
granting a $1,400 scholarship to
Dorothy Roer of Detroit to com-
plete her master's studies in
social work at Wayne State
University.
Mrs. Roer is one of 11 ad-
vanced social work students
throughout the country who
have recived grants ranging
from $500 to $2,000 for the
1962 academic year.
The announcement was made
jointly by Max M. Fisher, presi-
dent of the Detroit Federation,
and Mrs. A. Louis Oresman of
New York, chairman of the
CJFWF national scholarship
committee.
Mrs. Roer received her B.A.
in sociology from Boston Uni-
versity and for the past few
years has been a part-time stu-
dent of social work at Wayne
University. Since 1956, she has
worked with the Detroit Jewish
Community Center and will re-
turn to full-time group work
upon completion of her train-
ing.

communities from four to three,
in order to supply the early
influences which the home sur-
roundings do not give such
youth.

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planning for the future, build-
ing synagogues, houses of
gathering and the familiar
ramparts that have always
stood us well in crisis.

There were deep furrows on
Dr. Haber's face as he spoke of
the Jewish future in the distant
lands. But they vanished as by
magic once his theme turned to
Israel. He was of course mind-
ful that Israel had not yet sur-
mounted its troubles, that its
economy was in need of being
shored up. that the various
strains in its pattern must yet
be integrated, that its military
position was under constant
test by hostile neighbors and
that its productivity needed
considerable augmenting. But
there at least he found an
awareness of purpose that will
inevitably find the answer to
the challenge and the dream.
Here were Jews who had their
path marked out for them by
their own hands as much as by
destiny. Here was the distilla-
tion of a dream that over the
centuries is bound to illuminate
the path of all Jews wherever
they live.
As an economist Dr. Haber
understands of course that no
country can proceed to its
destiny unless it is built on
sound economic foundations.
And as president of ORT, he
is determined to have his orga-
nization contribute to Israel's
growth through providing it
with a skilled manpower. ORT
schools in Israel are now train-
ing about 15,000 men and
women of all ages in various
skills, but its ambition now is
centered on expanding its ac-
tivities with a view to being
able to train some 25,000 within
three years. One of Israel's ma-
jor challenges is its manpower
problem. For that reason ORT,
in cooperation with the central
and municipal governments in
Israel, is currently embarked
on a program of apprenticeship
whose long-range purpose is to
train the enrollees in skills in
which the country is exper-
iencing its acutest shortages.
This is an important objective.
The immigrants — as is quite
evident—must be converted in-
to efficient workers if the coun-
try is not to perpetuate its de-
pendance on diaspora for sus-
tenance.
Israel, it has been said, is a
living miracle. To which it
might be added that one of the
sustaining forces in the miracle
has been a Jacob's voice in the
lands of other climate.

The Israel Ministry of Educa-
tion has proposed to reduce the
age of kindergarten attendance
for children from backward

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25 -- THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS — Friday, September 21, 1962

An Interview With Dr. Haber

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