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May 22, 1970 - Image 56

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1970-05-22

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

Boris Smolar's


'Between You
and Me'


(Copyright 1970, JTA Inc.)

JDC SURVEY: You often hear about the deficiencies in Jewish edu-
cation in the United States. But what about the present status of Jewish
education in Europe?
We know that out of every 100 Jewish children of school age in
Britain there are today at least 35 who do not receive any Jewish educa-
tion whatsoever. A further 30 receive a few hours per week for a
limited period only, 20 attend classes more regularly and 15 are enrolled
in Jewish day schools. What about countries like France—which has a
much larger Jewish population than England—or a dozen other coun-
tries in free Europe?
The Joint Distribution Committee, through its department of educa-
tion, is conducting a survey every three years on Jewish education in
continental Europe in the countries where it is operating directly or
through the local communities. Such a survey has been conducted by
its educational director, Stanley Abramovitch. The results show an
increased enrollment in day schools since the last survey of three years
ago, and important strides in training of Jewish teachers. Since that
time at least six new day schools have been opened in France and two
such new schools began to function in Germany. There are, of course,
also many supplementary schools. In the day schools the pupils receive
a complete and integrated general and Jewish education.
The JDC survey embraces--in addition to France and Germany—
Italy, Holland, Austria, Belgium, Greece, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway,
Denmark, Finland, Spain and Gibraltar. The picture varies from
country to country and shows that only about 20 per cent of the children
aged between 6 and 17 are receiving some Jewish education at any one
time. If the 1,550 students age 14 to 18 in the ORT schools in Western
Europe were added—as well as the approximately 500 Yeshiva students
—the total receiving any Jewish education would reach 22 per cent.
There are, of course, pupils who receive some Jewish education
during their school life but who don't remain for any great length of
time in the schools. On the whole, out of every 100 children of school
age, about 15 attend Jewish day schools and about 35 attend supple-
mentary schools. This means that the remainder of 50 per cent of the
children receive no Jewish education at all. Of those who go to supple-
mentary schools, about one-half receive from one to three hours Jewish
studies weekly and the other half about five hours weekly.
FACTS AND FIGURES: This is the general picture emerging from
the JDC study in 14 European countries. The estimated number of Jew-
ish children of school age in those countries is 136,640; the estimated
total of children enrolled for Jewish education is 26,540, about 19 per
cent. Of these 18,860 attend supplementary schools and 7,680 are
enrolled in day schools.
France, where there are today about 520,000 Jews, has the largest
number of Jewish pupils. Some 12,000 children there attend supple-
mentary schools and 2,371 are enrolled in Jewish day schools. These
figures do not make up even 14 per cent of the entire Jewish children
population between the ages of 6 and 17, which is estimated to be
104,000. Next to France comes Belgium with a Jewish population of
40,000 of whom 8,000 are children of school age. One-fourth of the chil-
dren—about 2,000—are enrolled in all day Jewish schools; about 900
attend supplementary schools.
Italy, where 35,000 Jews reside, has only 7,000 Jewish children of
school age, but more than 2,000 of them attend Jewish day schools and
only 200 are registered in supplementary schools. In Switzerland, there
are 179 children in the Jewish day school and 1,000 in the supplementary
schools; they are less than a third of the total number of Jewish chil-
dren of school age. In Greece, only 472 children—about 45 per cent of
all the Jewish children of school are—receive Jewish education, with
172 of them attending day schools. In Germany, where there are 4,000
Jewish children of school age, 1,500 attend supplementary schools and
MS are enrolled in all day schools.
EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS: Of 245 teachers in Jewish day
schools, 112 have a university degree, 22 possess government teachers'
certificates and 110 are graduates of Hebrew teachers seminaries. Most
of these highly-qualified teachers are in France, Belgium and Italy.
The highest paid teacher of Jewish subjects in Finland gets a salary
of $6,280 a year. In Germany he gets 'more than $5,000 a year. In
Sweden, the highest paid salary for a teacher in a Jewish day school is
$7,655 a year, and in Switzerland his yearly salary is $7,255. The average
yearly salary for part time teachers of Jewish subjects is $1,500 in
Belgium and $2,600 in Holland for less than 15 hours teaching a week.
About 50 per cent of the teachers in the Jewish day schools are included
in pension plans and about 90 per cent of them are provided with health
insurance and receive paid vacations.
STUDENT MOODS: The opinion that a negative reaction to Juda-
ism prevails among Jewish students in the universities is exaggerated;
the negative reaction is directed more to the so-called "Jewish estab-
lishment," than to Judaism itself.
This is one of the interesting conclusions in a report presented to
the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds by Dr. John
Slawson. Dr. Slawson is chairman of a CJFWF sub-committee which
is concerned with the problem of bringing together the Jewish univer-
sity campus population with the organized Jewish community in a
reciprocal relationship. It is part of the College Youth and Faculty
Committee which the CJFWF has established with a view of strengthen-
ing .Tewish identification among students and faculty members.
There are today about 350,000 Jewish students and approximately
25,000 Jewish faculty members in American schools of higher learning.
No single agency of the organized Jewish community in the United
States can presently offer adequate programing to meet the needs
of this enormous number of students and faculty, Dr. Slawson believes.
The pooling of resources is needed, he says. His sub-committee—which
consists of 18 members coming from the Hillel Foundations, Federa-
tions, college youth and faculty — agrees with him.
In his report, Dr. Slawson — known for his deep interest in the
work of strengthening Jewish identity among Jews in this country —
emphasizes that the university students feel that hey have been aban-
doned by the organized Jewish community. Their view is not shared
by Dr. Slawson and the members of his sub-committee. The latter
found that in spite of alienation and indifference among Jewish students
on the campuses, there are certain factors that aid in the efforts to
srengthen identity in the campus community.

56—Friday, May 22, 1970


USIS Telecasts Synagogue Service


(Copyright 1970 JTA, Inc.)

Chizuk Amuno Congregation in
Baltimore's wealthy Jewish suburb
dedicated its annual concert last
Sunday to "A Musical Bridge Be-
tween the Generations." The con-
- cert was a musi-
. cal success, but
V bridge- wise, it
missed the shore.
Chizuk Amuno's
musical history
goes back almost
100 years to the
. dedication of the
Miss Aster first Chizuk
Amuno Temple in what is now a
black neighborhood in Baltimore.
They had a chorus for that dedi-
cation, almost unheard of in Con-
servative synagogues at that time,
and a cantor who was on trial. The
cantor stayed, and so did the tra-
dition. The third cantor was Abba
Josef Weisgal, 81, dean of Ameri-
can cantors (according to his fans
at Chizuk Amuno.)

Weisgal started at the synagogue
in the early '20s. It took him more
than 20 years to initiate the first
annual Chizuk Amuno Jewish music
concert, but it has survived.

Under Cantor Abraham Saticoy,
Chizuk Amuno was the scene of the
Maryland premier of Igor Stravin-
sky's "Abraham and Isaac," an
atonal version of Jewish music.
Balancing that bill was Goldfad-
den's Yiddish opera "Sulamith."

"We want to explore every pos-
sible aspect of Jewish music with
the congregation," Salkov said.
Salkov is a handsome, tall, modern
cantor, more like Dean Martin
than Jan Pierce. He gets great
pleasure from the broad range of
music he meets at Chizuk Amuno.

One year the synagogue devoted
its concert to Israeli folk music.
Anther year it was a 17th Century
Portuguese service.

"Our synagogue has always been
interested in a varied and rich
musical tradilion," Saul LiMen-
stein, the puckish chorus conductor
and musical director at the syna-
gogue said.

This year Chizuk Amuno's 1,200
families were treated to two mod-
ern pieces, "A Wedding Service in
Sephardic Style" by Isachar Miron
and "David Danced Before the
Lord," by Charles Davidson.

of Borough Park, Brooklyn. Kuse-
vitsky, a tenor, sang the piece at
Miron's daughter's wedding.
"I had a chorus and organ at
the wedding," Kusevitsky said. "It
sounded fuller than it does here."
Kusevitsky was backed by a wind
ensemble--woodwinds and a harp
that made the music sound like
18th century Baroque chamber
music. The music was unfamiliar
to ears used to Ashkenazi wed-
dings, but it retained the bitter-
sweet quality of a father's pleasure
in seeing his daughter married.
The Kusevitsky piece was so
short that Salkov came on stage
to ask him to sing something else
for the 700 persons in the audience.
Kusevitsky sang one obscure piece
that must be a cantor's dream: it
had all the pathos of Rol Nidre,
and more high notes to reach for.
Then he sang a Yiddish ditty about
a new cantor's reaction to the con-
gregation on the Sabbath. The
audience, most of them over 40,
did not understand it. A few old-
timers in the crowd, however,
translated or sang along.
After a short intermission and
interminable speeches ("I believe
there is no generation gap, if we
only recognize it," one man said)
and separate thank yous for each
member of each committee, the
chorus and jazz combo took over
the altar stage.
* * *
There are about 15 members of
the chorus, including one black and
one oriental. The jazz combo had
a piano, a flute, a saxaphone,
xylophone (the program called it
"vibes") drums and a bass Eddie
which was plucked expertly by a
woman named Gloria.
Lilienstein and Salkov came on-
stage together. Both wore tuxedos,
and fancy yarmulkes held on with
bobby pins ("it shows how jazzy
this music is," Lilienstein said.)
Salkov was wearing a blue tuxedo
shirt. "And David Danced Before
the Lord" is a jazz Friday night
service. All the important prayers
are included.
The musicians and chorus glanced
once at the big camera on the bal-
cony to their right. The United
States Information Agency was
filming the whole show for over-
seas telecast. One of the members

1 1

The wedding service was first.
It was written by Miron, an Israeli,
for his daughter's wedding in 1969.
Unlike the lusty "Tzena, Tzena,"
which Miron also wrote, the wed-
ding service depends on the haunt-
ing oriental sounds of Sephardic
It was sung by Cantor David
Kusevitsky, of Temple Emanuel

of the congregation had arranged
it. Even the man on the hand-held
camera was a member of Chizuk
Amuno. "It's only a coincidence,"
he explained. The first telecast is
scheduled for Israel.

Salkov started singing the prayer
from the Song of Songs that tra-
ditionally starts the Sabbath at
home. The audience relaxed. No
one had !mown what to expect, but
this sounded rather straightfor-
ward and traditional.

By L'ho Do-De, however, the
chorus and the combo had joined
Salkov, and the music started to
swing. By Adono-Olam, the audi-
ence was swinging with it. "I find
it very joyful," Salkov said. "Every
note is fun. At the same time it is
warm and interprets the prayers
The congregation applauded and
applauded at the end until Salkov
and the chorus gave them a reprise
of Adono-Olam, and everyone
clapped in time with the music.
But this was Sunday night. The
same service would not have been
allowed on Friday. "We need the
combo for the beat, and we don't
use instrumental music here,"
Salkov said bitterly. "They used it
in the ancient temples, but we don't
use it here. I guess other kinds of
temples could use them."
. The music for "And David
Danced Before the Lord" is a com-
bination of "West Side Story,"
"Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" and
"Porgy and Bess," as played by
Dave Brubeck and Lionel Hampton
in the early '50s.
It is not anything like hard rock
or soul music that turns on the
younger generation today. The ex-
periment in generation-gap-bridging
was not to be successful with this
Two zaftig, gum chewing, gig-
gling teen-agers in the back row,
who slipped out to flirt with the
teen-age ushers even before the
encore, summed it up for the
gapped generation: "It sounds like
something ladies and men danced
to in night clubs before they- start-
ed doing kid's dancing."
Then Ginger Rogers and Fred
Astaire would have enjoyed it.
"Who?" they asked in unison.

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The Knesset
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I was walking on a street in Jeru-
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large synagogue." He asked: "Is there
a yeshiva at the synagogue?" I said:
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there are synagogues, and every syna-
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and I know a little Hebrew but I don't ni7yj7zyp napml -nap- 174 ialtri u47pLnDrl . -n7Y?nr!
understand you. I think that every
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:114 3
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knesset! I am looking for the Israeli
parliament." "Yes, yes," I laughed,
"There was a misunderstanding between
us. You said synagogue and were
thinking about the parliament: I heard
a yeshiva in a synagogue and thought
of a yeshiva, a school for talmudic
studies. Our parliament is called Knes-
set, and in the Knesset sessions are
held every Monday, 'Tuesday, and Wed-
nesday of the week."
You see, dear reader, that there are
many faces to this Hebrew of ours,
and we brought to modem Hebrew
ancient words and inserted new mean-
ings. The Knesset of the State of
Israel Ls the largest lawmaking body.
having 120 members. The regular term
of office of the Knesset is four years.
Every citizen is entitled to visit the
Knesset and hear the proceedings there.
At the Israeli Knesset you hear the
heartbeats of the state of Israel and
the Israeli people.
(Translation of Hebrew column pub-
lished by Brit Ivrit Olamit with assis•
tance of the Foundation for the Com-
memoration of Jewish Culture).

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