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October 06, 1967 - Image 21

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1967-10-06

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Most American Jewish Centers Lack Jewish
Traditional Sense, Year Book Study Shows

A prominent social work execu- withtin the fold, despite the Jew-
tive has called on Jewish commu- ! ish community's deep anxieties
nity centers to attack boldly the
over the growing rate of inter-
problem of Jewish group survival
in a free society. They must decide,
Iii 1964 the centers were aez
he says, whether to continue their
tually not succeeding in promot-
generalized approach or adopt a
ing closer ties with the State of
more definitive Jewish program.
In a lead article in the 68th an-
The centers primarily empha-
nual edition of the American Jew-
size leisure activities and per-
ish Year Book, Dr. Carl Urbont,
sonality development objectives,
executive director of the 92nd
while purposes dealing with the
Street YM and YWHA, states that
survival of the Jews as a group
after the tragedy of the Nazi era, , are not being implemented with
the American Jewish public had
any degree of strength.
"felt a deep sense of responsibility
Although there is some evi-
for the perpetuation of Jewish life.
dence of interest in Jewish tra-
In recent years. however, a com-
dition in the Jewish community
placency within the community
center field, the name of God is
has weakened the Jewish orineta-
rarely mentioned in agency pro-
tion of the Jewish community cen-
There are inherent inconsisten-
Dr. Urbont states that "with
cies between the stated center
more than 700,000 members in ap-
philosophy and its programs.
proximately 300 centers throughout
According to Dr. Urbont, "the
the country, with an annual budget center movement has apparently
of $32,500,000 in 1965 , the unde- borowed heavily from American
niable absence of clear direction of social work philosophy, especially
community center purpose in its in the use of non-controversial gen-
work is disquieting to many of its eralizations, which tend to demon-
state that agency purposes are in
In his study, Dr. Urbont re- keeping with the objectives of
ports he found that the "over- American democracy. But at the
whelming majority of community same time, purposes that have been
center directors who were con- deemed unique to the center move-
tacted felt their chief aim was to ment appear to be growing vaguer,
provide recreation for the mem- and there is no indication that a
bers. There was also emphasis drastic change is imminent."

on the need for good intragroup
relations among different Jewish
groups but, within and outside
the center, many Jews today are
alienated, lacking Jewish senti-
ments, knowledge, a sense of
tradition or Jewish aspirations."

These are some of Dr. Urbont's
other findings, derived in 1964
from replies to questionnaires he
sent to the executive directors of
151 representative Jewish commu-
nity centers:
There is more consciousness of

Dr. Urbont concludes that the
center movement's leadership
and its following will have to
venture out of their neutral
moorings, and examine if the
movement has the will to survive
as a significant institution of the
Jewish community.

In another major article, Arnold
Mandel, literary editor of L'Arche
and a noted European writer on
Jewish life, writes that strong sen-
timent for Israel has replaced re-
ligious feeling as the bond uniting
Jewish tradition in centers serv• the Jews of Western Europe. He
ing large communities than in asserts that aside from its unified
those in small communities. But affection for Israel, Western Euro-
for the center movement in the pean Jewry essentially displays
country as a whole, he found "some distinctly different Juda-
neither a marked tendency to re-
ject Jewish tradition nor an ac-
Other special articles in the Year
tive program to propagate it.
Book include "Intergroup Rela-
The centers do not actively
tions and Tensions in the United
aim to "provide opportunities States." by Lucy S. Dawidowicz,
for ingroup marriage," marriage and "The United States, Israel and
the Middle East," by George E.
Guren, a follow-up to an article on
the same subject in the previous
issue. Both authors are on the staff
of the American Jewish Commit-
The magazine "Newsweek" said
Among the interesting popula-
this week that agents of the Soviet
secret police, the KGB, might tion figures reported are these:
The estimated world Jewish pop-
have killed the Joint Distribution
Committee leader, Charles Jordan, ulation at the end of 1966 was 13,-
in Prague last month. Newsweek 538,000. The three largest commu-
said that Prague authorities had nities were in the U.S., Soviet Un-
privately hinted to U.S. diplomats ion, and Israel, together accounting
there that Mr. Jordan was mur- for more than 78 per cent of the
dered by KGB agents. The maga- world total. Only four other coun-
zine said the Czechoslovak's infer- tries had Jewish populations of
ence was that Jordan was consid- more than 200,000: France, Great
ered dangerous by the KGB be- Britain, Argentina, and Canada.
The Jewish population in the
cause of his many contacts with
U.S., estimated at 5.720,000, in-
Jews in Eastern Europe.

Newsweek Claims
Reds Killed Jordan

eludes 2-,518,680 in New York
State. New York City has a Jewish
population of 1,836,000. Nassau
County 372,000, Westchester 131,-
000. and Suffolk 42,000, for a total
Jewish population in Greater New
York of 2,381,000. Almost half of
all the Jews in the U.S.-2.698,680
—live in Greater New York and in
the neighboring counties of New
York State and New Jersey.
A total of 2,543,000 Jews were
estimated to be in the Soviet Un-
ion, and another 250,000 elsewhere
in the Soviet bloc.
Israel's population at the end of
1966 was 2,656,800—Jews number-
ing 2,344,500, with others, notab:y
Arabs, Christians, and Druzes,
numbering 312300. Only about 15,-
000 Jews from North Africa and
some areas in Europe emigrated to
Israel in 1966, as against 32,000 in
South America's 705,200 Jews in-
clude 450,000 in Argentina (with
360,000 in Greater Buenos Aires),
140,000 in Brazil, 50,000 in Uru-
guay, and 35,00 in Chilie.
Other large concentrations of
Jews were: France, 520,000; Great
Britain, 450,000; Canada, 275,000;
Rumania, 120,000; South America,
116,000; Hungary, 80,000; Iran,
80,000; Morocco, 70,000; Australia,
69,000; the Netherlands, 30,000.

Friday, October 6, 1967-21


Youth Center Named for Pennsylvania Governor

Youth Cultural Center, named in I
honor of Pennsylvania Governor
Raymond P. Shafer, will soon be
built in Ramie, Israel, it was an-1
nounced by the National Commit-
tee for Labor Israel and the Penn-
sylvania Histadrut Council.
Gov. Shafer, who visited Israel
last year, said he was "pleased"
that a center bearing his name
would be erected to provide for
the recreational and vocational
needs of "Israel's young citizens,

Jews and Arab alike." Fund-rais-
ing efforts for the center will
culminate with a testimonial dinner
for the governor Nov. 12 in Phila-


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