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November 22, 1985 - Image 76

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-11-22

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

I

76

Friday, November 22, 1985 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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1

NEWS

Coming Of Age
In Washington

At the 54th General Assembly of the
Council of Jewish Federations in the
nation's capital: a record turnout, cultural
outreach, political clout.

STAFF REPORT

washing (Am. — The General
Assembly of the Council of
Jewish Federations this year set
an attendance record, offered a
glittering array of speakers,
celebrated the 25th anniversary
and rejuvenation of the National
Foundation for Jewish Culture
and sent forceful words of sup-
port to Soviet Jewry and
President Reagan on the eve of
the summit talks in Geneva.
The explicit message of the
assembly was that North
American Jewry has begun to
come of age politically. But the.
maturation is accompanied by
the birth pangs of emerging new
self-perceptions. Jews have been
seeking new directions and
methods of changing from a
single issue-oriented community
focusing on Israel to a multi-
issue community involved in the
broad American scene.
Jews are increasingly perceiv-
ing of themselves — and are
being perceived by others — as
more than just a group of
Americans who call themselves
Jews, worship in synagogues
rather than churches, and are
particularly supportive of Israel.
American Jews have also been
moving away from their tradi-
tional identification with and
support of the Democratic Party
and political liberalism, and are
increasingly voting on issues
rather than party labels and
personalities.
More than 3,300 people
attended the assembly, which
was held last Tuesday through
Sunday at the Washington Hil-
ton in Washington, D.C. It was
the 54th time that Jewish fed-
erations — now numbering 200
— had gathered from all over
the United States and Canada
to exchange ideas; discuss issues
confronting the Jewish commu-
nity and hear national and in-
ternational authorities expound
on subjects of interest to Jews
throughout the world.
Among the group of distin-
guished speakers were Assistant
Secretary of State Richard Mur-
phy, Ambassador Richard Schif-
ter, Sen. George J. Mitchell, Is-
raeli Defense Minister Yitzhak
Rabin, Sen. Carl Levin, Health
and Human Services Assistant
Secretary Dorcas Hardy, Rep.
Michael Barnes, author Max
Apple, Sen. Robert Dole and
Ambassador Max M. Kampel-
man, head of the U.S. delegation
to the negotiations on nuclear
and space arms.
Baltimore's Shoshana S. Car-
din, president of the Council of
Jewish Federations (CJF), deliv-
ered the keynote address at the
opening plenary session in the
Kennedy Center Concert Hall.
Mrs. Cardin expanded on the
theme of the assembly, which
was "The Coming of Age of
North American Jewry — Our
Communal Affirmation," saying

that "our task is not only
philanthropy and rescue, but to
assure Jewish continuity; to
start fostering a sense of na-
tional community."
Confronting the phenomenon
of a highly mobile population,
Mrs.Cardin urged "affiliation as
a value unto itself." It is, she
said, "one of the most serious
commitments we must under-
take."
"Federation affiliation alone is
insufficient," she said. Other
linkages, such as synagogues
and Jewish community centers,
are necessary. "We must
encourage outreach."
Mrs. Cardin told the assem-
bled delegates not to fear diver-
sity and pluralism, and said
that "a golden age of American
Jewry is within our grasp," pro-
vided we accept a commitment
to cultural improvement.
In her speech, Mrs. Cardin
sent President Reagan the CJF's
blessings and best wishes and
urged him to ask Mikhail Gor-
bachev to allow Soviet Jews to
emigrate. She touched on the
UN's "Zionism is Racism" reso-
lution and commended President
Reagan for vowing to work at
removing the "blot" from the
UN's record.
Mrs. Cardin also announced
the formation of a Jewish Serv-
ice Corps, which would give
young Jewish Americans the
opportunity to live and serve in
Israel for a year.
Ted Comet, the CJF's director
of international affairs, will act
as American coordinator. Inter-
viewed later, he said that the
program would begin operating
within the next month, and
would be conducted in coopera-
tion with the Jewish Agency,
the Israeli Forum and the World
Zionist Organization's Youth
Department.
Comet said that about 50
young people would be selected
for the program's first year of
fellowships. Each of them would
be adopted for a year by an Is-
raeli family.

Rabin: A Time
For Compromise

It is quite possible that
American Jews are more haw
kish on Israel than most Is-
raelis. With that in mind, no
doubt, Israeli Defense Minister
Yitzhak Rabin told a packed
audience that Israel must "take
risks for peace. We have taken
too many risks at war." He
stressed that "for peace you
have to compromise," and he
emphasized Israel's aggressive-
ness in initiating peace talks.
"I believe peace is the real
goal of Israel, and we won't sit
and wait for a phone call from
the other side," he said, noting

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