Jewish Scouting History:

Scouting programs have been a part of Jewish institutions since 1916. From early inception Jewish leaders helped guide the development of the Scouting movement in the United States. Leaders such as Dr. Cyrus Adler contributed to the establishment of the National Jewish Council on Scouting in 1926. Frank Weil was a member of the National Executive Board Boy Scouts of America from 1940-1957 and chairman of the Jewish Committee on Scouting from 1946-1949.

Mortimer Schiff was one of the most significant contributors in the establishment of Boy Scouting. Born the only son of a German-Jewish American banker and philanthropist, Mortimer worked as a partner in the financial firm of Kuhn, Loeb & Co. from 1900 until his death in 1931, however, he also devoted much of his time to the development of scouting in America. He was a member of the World Scout Committee of the World Organization of the Scout Movement and the Theodore Roosevelt Council Executive Board. In the year of its establishment he began a long tenure as vice-president of the BSA. During this time he also appeared on the cover of Time magazine, February 14, 1927 and soon thereafter was elected president of the organization in 1931. Additionally, he had also been serving as the BSA's International Commissioner for several years. Mortimer was awarded the Bronze Wolf, the only distinction of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, granted by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting.

After his untimely death his mother, Theresa Schiff, purchased the property that she subsequently named in his honor and donated to the BSA for their national training center; Mortimer L. Schiff Scout Reservation.

Today because of their efforts Scouting is flourishing throughout Jewish communities world-wide.

The National Jewish Council on Scouting was founded in 1926 by Dr. Cyrus Adler and established the goals and responsibilities to:

  • Promote and strengthen relationships with national Jewish organizations
  • Develop literature and support materials
  • Recruit Rabbis for national and international events, as required
  • Provide support to local council Jewish committees and to BSA council professional staff members who directly assist synagogues, day schools, Jewish community centers, and other Jewish institutions and organizations.

This support includes:

  • Analyzing the needs of Jewish institutions and, in conjunction with BSA local council professionals, organizing Tiger Cub dens, Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Varsity Scout teams, and Venturing crews
  • Promoting and administering the Maccabee (first through third grades), Aleph (third through fifth grades), Ner Tamid (Boy Scouts), and Etz Chaim (older Boy Scouts and Venturers) religious emblems programs
  • Promoting Scout Sabbath services
  • Making arrangements for rabbis or laypeople to conduct religious services at Scout camps, camporees, and other appropriate occasions

NJCS Mission Statement

It is the mission of the NJCS to promote Scouting for Jewish youth by securing new Jewish chartered organizations and by continuing to provide individual Scouts and units with quality programs and service

 

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