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February 25, 1977 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-02-25

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

8 Friday, February 25, 1977


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Diplomat Asserts Poland
Recognizes Jewish

LONDON — A major

breakthrough in Poland's
attitude towards Jewish
claims was signalled in a
statement by the Polish
consul-general in Lon-
don, reports the
Jerusalem Post in a re-
cent article.
IVIeeting recently with
leaders of the Association
of Polish Jews in Britain,
W. Rybczynski said that
Poland recognizes in
principle that its former
Jewish citizens have
legitimate claims and Po-
land wished to settle this
The association had
submitted 'a memoran-
dum on the matter of
Jewish claims to the
Polish ambassador a year

The Polish diplomat said
that the meeting un-
derlined his government's
sincere intentions • and
goodwill. As to their' de-
mand for compensation for
the huge quantity of
Jewish communal prop-
erty taken by the Polish
authorities, Rybczynski
said the matter will be
taken up in Warsaw.
His government will se-
riously consider the pro-
posal that an interna-
tional Jewish delegation
conduct these negotia-
tions, he said. • •

Mordecai refused to
pay homage to Haman
even though the penalty

was death.


Yitzhak Rabin. Prime Minister of Israel

"I don't believe that there is a better way
to express your feelings than to actually go
to Israel....There is something special about
the Holy Land....Those who go, come back
entirely different. They see something that
no words can describe'
So spoke Yitzhak Rabin; Prime Minister
of Israel, at the beginning of this Solidarity
Pilgrimage Year. Yet, what Rabin said is an
echo of what every person has felt who has
.ever visited Israel. You know this.
If you don't you'll learn it at Pesach, when,
sitting at the Seder in Israel, every symbol
of this festival of freedom will take on
richness that almost aches.
You'll know the feeling when you join the
crowd and dance through the streets on
Purim or Independence Day.
You'll feel it on Shavuot, as the First

Fruits are paraded through the kibbutz
with so much bursting pride. And at the
Western Wall, where the ancient chanting
through the night seems to make centuries
melt away.
You'll know what "no words can de-
scribe" when you walk through the streets
of Israel at Sukkot, and find yourself sur-
rounded by beautiful Sukkot booths in
every yard and on every balcony.
You'll feel it at Chanukah, at the candle
lighting ceremony atop Mount Zion.
But you don't need a celebration to share
these experiences. Because every day of
Solidarity Year is a celebration of your
partnership with Israel.
And once you go and feel these things for
the first time, as many times as you return
will never be enqugh.

Boris Smolar's

'Between You
. . and Me'


Emeritus, JTA
(Copyright 1977, JTA, Inc.)

Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds —
central body of the organized Jewish communities —is
now actively engaged in stimulating better relations
between the federation and the synagogue in this
country. The relationship between the two is not what
it should be.
.In some congregations the lay leadership and the
rabbis are openly critical of the local federations with
regard to a number of problems, while in some com-
munities the federations openly disapprove of certain
communal programs initiated by synagogues. The
larger the community, the greater the divisiveness
and the conflict between the two. In New York, for
instance, where congregational affiliation is approxi
mately 5-10 percent of all the Jews in the city, the rift i
greater than in communities with a smaller Jewish
population. In cities where congregational affiliation
is between 60 and 80 percent the friction is small; some
of the conflicting problems are almost non-existent
The core of the federation-synagogue issue lies in
the fact that the American Jewish community is un-
dergoing rapid changes. The federations are growing
in influence, while the synagogue community — with
its approximately 3,000 congregations of all three de-
nominations — is undergoing a period of waning influ-
ence in comparison to the 1950s; membership in
synagogues is diminishing.
The federations, constituting the fund-raising
arm of the organized communities, are raising about
$500 million a year for Jewish needs, local, domestic
and overseas. They are today the backbone of every
major Jewish philanthropic cause, including the Un-
ited Jewish Appeal. At the same time, they are also the
distributors of the funds they collect. They decide on
priorities in allocations and have an influence on edu-
cational policies, on community relations activities,
and on almost everything that affects Jewish com-
munal welfare.

The congregations and their rabbis view the fed-
erations as secular, non-religious or irreligious in-
stitutions. Some rabbis discourage the members of

their congregationS from involvement in federation

work. On the other hand, federations claim that the


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synagogues are not active enough in the community's
fund-raising efforts.
over the friction between the federation and the
synagogue is now high on the agenda of the Council of
Jewish Federations. It is also a souce of worry to the
Synagogue Cotincil of America, the central body of
religious Jewry. Both have established national task
forces to seek a way for friendly cooperation between
the two camps.
The synagogues are extremely unhappy over the
fact that many federations consider synagogue
schools as private religious schools to be maintained
by the congregations themselves. Congregational lay
leaders, as well as rabbis, point out that the federa-
tions allocate funds for Jewish community schools, in-
cluding all-day schools, but refuse to give financial aid
to synagogue schools. (This is not true in Detroit.)
Synagogue leaders and rabbis also complain that
they are not welcome to participate in the direction of
federation policies, and that rabbis have no influence
on the allocation of funds by the federations and on
program planning.
Some rabbis and congregational leaders also
maintain that among the professional Jewish com-
munal workers in institutions financed by the Federa-
tions, there is a lack of Jewish education and of Jewish
federationists take the attitude that the synagogues,
in addition to not being active enough in local fund-
raising campaigns by the organized community, have
for years planned, built and funded —with community
dollars — new sanctuaries and schools irrespective of
general community patterns, concerns, planning or
Federation leaders in some cities charge th6.1
synagogues with moving into non-religious areas of - -
communal work — aging, youth or social action — all of
which, they say, may be dealt with better on a
community-wide basis. This transfer has often dupli-
cated and wasted community sources, they claim.
Philip Bernstein, executive vice president of the
Council of Jewish Federations, who is the engineerinc,
force in the effort to bring about friendly understand-
ing and cooperation between the Federations and the
synagogues is optimistic about the explorations which
the federations and the synagogues have started now
for productive cooperation. thinks that these be-
ginnings will be carried much further in the next few
years, and that they will result in stronger federa-
tions, synagogues and communities.

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