Saturday, January 04, 2014

Rebbe's Letter re: Jewish Survival

By the Grace of G-d
25 Sivan, 5740 [1980]
Brooklyn N.Y.

Greeting and Blessing:

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a copy of your letter to Mr. S. Peres, together with the "Fields" publications.

As you no doubt expect some comment, let me say that your creative ideas are impressive in their sweep and ingenuity. However, I must add at once, as I have observed in previous correspondence, that we have to concern ourselves with utilizing our resources to meet the emergencies of the present, rather than with solutions that, at best, lie only in the future. I say "at best" because the ultimate solutions are not always in our hands, whereas there is much we can, and must, do to cope with pressing emergencies.

In light of the above, while I wholeheartedly agree with you that the potential of our Jewish people is limitless, our immediate concern must be to ensure the survival of our people. Surely, when a person who has an inordinate capacity to save the world is seriously ill, the first thing to do is to help him recover his health, so that he will indeed be able to realize his potential later on.

I am referring particularly to the state of our young Jewish generation, whose potential certainly is to move mountains, but at the moment is, by and large, overwhelmed by forces of assimilation and alienation and in danger of being lost to us.

As you know, only a small percentage of Jewish children in this day and age grow up with a Jewish education strong enough to preserve their Jewish identity in the face of the pressures of assimilation. The remainder are heading for the precipice. There is a vast field of action that has to be tackled in order to save thousands of Jewish young men and women from the cults and from intermarriage. It is an emergency situation that calls for an all-out effort in terms of well organized, planned, and amply funded programs. Many have to be taught starting literally from the Alep-Beth of Judaism; Others must be given the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and experience of what it means to be truly Jewish.

To be sure, the human resource manpower to meet these challenges fully is at present inadequate. Moreover, it suffers from attrition in that many dedicated young men engaged in Jewish Education in its broader sense - including teaching, administrative jobs, reach-out programs, etc. - come to a point in their family life, where their meager salaries can no longer support their growing families, and they must find Parnosso elsewhere. Yet all these problems could not only be coped with, but also turned around - if the financial resources were available.

Having always been candid with you - on the basis of our mutual relationship, and being confident that you will not take my remarks amiss, I must say regretfully, that I have not noted in your correspondence, as yet, anything that would encourage me to think that you are using your capacities and influence in the direction indicated above, at any rate to the fullest extent.

Since, as mentioned, the basic problem is financial, there are surely many Jewish philanthropists, Endowment Funds and Foundations - to mention some of the more obvious sources - that could be tapped for the vital cause of Jewish survival. On the other hand, there are such national organizations as, e.g., Anti-Shemad, Committee For Furtherance of Jewish Education, Torah uMesorah, and others, which are eminently qualified and deserving of the utmost financial support, not only to keep them afloat, but to enable them to expand dramatically in keeping with the drastic situation.

I trust you will not think for a moment that this letter is intended as a direct or indirect appeal for Lubavitch institutions, and will not embarrass me by responding with a check. To quote a familiar phrase in the Torah, "Give me the persons and keep the goods" - it is your personal involvement in the cause of Jewish Education that I am after. However involved you may be with promulgating a global or holistic perception and perspective, etc., I am certain that there is ample room in your heart and mind to take a soulful interest in the cause of Jewish Education, not only to become personally involved, but also inspire others within the sphere of your influence to follow your example.

Please forgive me if any of the foregoing expressions have embarrassed you in any way; far be it from me.

Through mutual friends I occasionally receive regards from you and your son. My prayerful wishes are always with you both and yours for good health and Hatzlocho in all your affairs, materially and spiritually.

With esteem and blessing,

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