Jewish federation seeks to influence college students

RELIGION NOTES

August 04, 1994|By Reported by Frank P. L. Somerville

Baltimore's Associated Jewish Community Federation, working with all branches of Judaism locally, has created a new division to promote Jewish religious and cultural interests among college students.

Called Jewish College Services (JCS), the agency will also help high school students select a college and prepare for campus life.

"College students are a unique population," said Richard M. Lansburgh, board chairman of the community federation. "It is during these years that young people begin to determine what form their religious identities will take. It is our responsibility to reach out to them at this critical time in their lives."

Assimilation of American Jews into the non-Jewish population through marriage, conversion or simply lack of interest, with the consequent loss of their religious and cultural identity, is a concern of religious leaders of all the major Jewish traditions in the United States -- Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist.

The assimilation trend is being countered on some college campuses by successful efforts to have Jewish holidays officially recognized, kosher kitchens established and Judaic studies added to the curriculum.

Frederica K. Saxon has been appointed president of JCS, which began operating July 1 at the Jewish Community Center's Northwest Baltimore location, 5700 Park Heights Ave.

"We're very excited about the new agency," Ms. Saxon said.

Some of the plans of the agency, she said, are to start new Jewish student groups at Maryland colleges and support ones already functioning, assist in the recruiting of members and organize classes in Jewish studies.

Ms. Saxon said JCS will work with the Inter-Campus Council, a group of student leaders, to develop community-wide programming.

She announced that Stephanie Gurwitz will be the JCS director. Information: 542-4900, Ext. 203.

Visiting choir:

St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church at 1542 N. Gilmor St. in Baltimore will present a concert by the St. Francis Xavier Junior Choir from Nassau, Bahamas, at 7 p.m. Saturday.

-! Ticket information: 523-0061.

Quaker vigil:

The American Friends Service Committee has scheduled a public demonstration of solidarity with "all victims of the nuclear arms race, including those from Hiroshima and Nagasaki," at Charles and 34th streets next Tuesday.

The 6 p.m. outdoor vigil will be followed by a lecture program at 7 p.m. in the nearby Homewood Friends Meeting House, 3107 N. Charles St.

Joe Volk, executive secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, will speak.

& Information: 323-7200.

Rwandan aid:

Catholic Relief Services, which is based in Baltimore, received two substantial donations yesterday for its humanitarian work in Rwanda -- cash from a group of students in Baltimore and trucks and spare parts delivered through a company in Hyattsville.

The cash donation was $1,500 collected on campus by the Foreign Students Union of Morgan State University.

The vehicles were six reconditioned 1990 semi-tractor trailers, valued at $275,000 and assembled for shipment to Africa by District International Trucks Inc. in Hyattsville. The gift was a joint effort by seven U.S. firms.

& Information: 625-2220.

Bible "travel":

The Rev. Doug Cunningham, pastor of Rodgers Forge United Methodist Church at 56 Stevenson Lane, will conduct free, public study programs that he calls a "journey through the Bible" from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. at the church each Sunday.

Participants will follow the course of Biblical language, faith and culture chronologically throughout the year.

& Information: 377-5137.

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