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January 20, 1989 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-01-20

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

I MEDIA MONITOR

suPP°d
2n s ion
of
a
Your V e

nc
thanks 1: to annou. n the same

we are ti Oar° I 000 0
tO large
c oftlel n en t I°C

ARTHUR J. MAGIDA

Special to The Jewish News

T

Look for our Grand Opening
in early February at

32904 Middlebelt Rd. • Farmington Hills

(1 Door S. of Strawberry Hill Produce Market)

Travel
Max

French
Gourmet

Warren
Prescriptions

Strawberry
Hill

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Max

Feldbro
Meats

/

TRAVEL MAX IS MOVING SOUTH!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR

& WELCOME HOME TO OUR VALUED CLIENTS

We have received rave reviews from our
returning groups on the

• Nordic Prince
• Song of America
• N.S. Westerdam • Sky Princess

(Formerly Sitmar's Fairsky)

We are now accepting pre-requests for 1989/90
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56

FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 1989

Is B'nai B'rith Dying?
Magazine Thinks So

". 5b

he B'nai B'rith Inter-
national (BBI) is not
only groping for an
identity these days, it is doing
its best "to stave off a fate
worse than death in institu-
tional life — irrelevancy."
This harsh judgement of the
organization came from
writer David Makovsky in
Moment magazine.
As Jewish organizations ex-
perienced a membership
boom in the last two decades,
said Makovsky, B'nai B'rith
rosters dropped by a third to
about 136,000. A recent study
concluded that "all projec-
tions indicate a continued
and accelerated downward
[membership] spiral."
Contributing to the organ-
ization's moribund condition
is the fact that half of B'nai
B'rith's new members are 65
years or older.
Makovsky's sources attri-
buted the membership loss to:
• Moving beyond the post-
war period when B'nai B'rith
membership was boosted by
an influx of Jewish refugees,
the reaction to the Holocaust,
the birth of the state of Israel,
and the growth of Reform and
Conservative Judaism.
• Different expectations
about Jewish organizations,
especially about organiza-
tional leaders' duties to
disseminate information
about Jews and the world.
"Today," said former B'nai
B'rith president Philip Klutz-
nik, "people get more infor-
mation themselves."
• The decline of service
organizations due to the in-
crease of two-career families.
• The outmoded appeal of
fraternal lodges for male
socializing.
B'nai B'rith's president,
Seymour Reich, wrote Makov-
sky, is trying to revive the
organization by quelling in-
ternal strife, wooing younger
members and strengthening
its position in American
Jewish life.
Under Reich, B'nai B'rith
has taken stronger, more
public stands on public policy
issues, such as the anti-
Semitic picketing of the film,
The Last Temptation of
Christ, and Jesse Jackson's
reluctance to condemn black
bigots.
But compounding B'nai
B'rith's efforts to have a
higher public profile is its
friction with one of its own
subsidiary organizations, the
Anti-Defamation League

(ADL). Since the emphatic
public stands that have ac-
counted for ADL's success are
precisely what B'nai B'rith is
seeking to emulate, "to the
outside," wrote Makovsky, "it
will seem as if two B'nai
B'rith groups are vying with
each other for public atten-
tion."
Also hobbling B'nai B'rith's
self-resuscitation is a study —
estimated to cost between
$200,000 and $400,000 —
that concluded that the
organization "is moving inex-
orably toward financial
disaster." While fundraising
for Jewish federations and
the United Jewish Appeal en-
joys annual increases of six to
seven percent, B'nai B'rith's
budget has been declining for
at least the last two years.
Makovsky concludes that
B'nai B'rith "is about to be
transformed, as have Ameri-
can Jewish organizations, so
that it will essentially be run
by the professionals. While
other Jewish organizations
have moved to greater effi-
ciency and clearer lines of
authority, BBI members have
fought them . ."
"For the moment, B'nai
B'rith feels it must compete
with — and inevitably dupli-
cate the work of — other
Jewish communal institu-
tions. When it comes to
smaller towns and aged
Jewish populations, B'nai
B'rith leads the pack. It
might be well advised to
specialize in the areas where
it can do well, rather than try
to be an all purpose 'depart-
ment store? It is difficult to
think that one organization
can do everything well."

New Republic:
Arafat Talks
Will Backfire

In an editorial, the New
Republic scoffed at sugges-
tions that the United States'
decision to formally talk with
PLO chairman Yassir Arafat
means that a new era of peace
is upon us.
"It will not be long," warned
the New Republic, "before
Messrs. Bush and Baker will
find out that this opening,
which has created the wildest
expectations, is a trap; that
Arafat doesn't mean the
business of peace, and that in
the end America will be seen
as having failed once again in
the Middle East."
"If the early reports are cor-
rect — and Bush indeed nudg-
ed [Secretary of State George]

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