Jacksonville, Florida (Oct. 20)
(By Our Jacksonville Correspondent)
While, fortunately, there were almost no Jewish casualties in the recent Florida hurricane, economically the Jews were hit harder than others. Largely storekeepers they suffered not only through the damage caused by the storm but even more through the general pillage and thefts which followed. Rabbi Alstet of the conservative congregation at Miami stated that over 100 Jewish families are destitute and are in need of loans for rehabilitation. A Jewish Rehabilitation Committee has been organized in Miami which has set as its goal the raising of $100,000. The response so far has been meagre. For some reason or other, the great Florida disaster has failed to evoke the necessary sympathy and proper response.
The true condition of the stricken areas is a very sad one. There has been no exaggeration. On the contrary, the whole truth has not been told. It’s a case of pinching one’s checks that the color may stand. But Florida has many unique and favorable features which promise much for a speedy recuperation.
It was these attractive features that were responsible largely for the rapid progress of the Jewish population in this state from some 6,000 souls in 1920 to 18,000, according to conservative estimates, at the present time. It is true that the real estate boom brought many Jews here but the charge that the Jews flocked here because of the boom only is groundless. Even before the boom there was a rapid increase of the Jewish population. and proportionately the increase of the non-Jewish population, owing to this cause, has been much greater than that of the Jewish. In the winter on the other hand. the number of Jewish tourists is proportionately far greater than that of other elements. Jews, however. are conspicuous by the prominent position they occupy in the commercial and professional fields.
Most of the dry goods, clothing, and furnishing stores are in Jewish hands, and there has been in recent times great increase in the number of Jewish lawyers and doctors. Only a few are brokers or real estate operators. This in itself is proof of the fact that Jews were attracted to Florida by its natural beauty and climate rather than by a desire to speculate. Of the few Jews who are engaged in the real estate business the larger number were in the same business prior to the boom and even before they came to Florida. Stories which have been circulated that Jews created the boom and stimulated frienzied speculation are unfounded. It is merely a repetition of the well known practice of making the Jew the scapegoat for every calamity and failure.
Florida is not free from prejudice and race discrimination. The Klan is strongly entrenched here and wields considerable political influence. Parades are arranged in which thousands march in their white robes and masked faces, with the police band furnishing the music. Massmeetings are held in the parks and other public places under Klan auspices, and generally the K.K.K. finds itself very much at home in Florida.
There are certain communities in Florida where anti-Semitism is open and rampant. In St. Petersburg, for example, a sheet known as the “Daily News” contains almost daily the most vituperative attacks on the Jewish people. Not so long ago the hotels there announced, “Dogs, Jews, and Niggers not admitted here.” Similarly whole neighborhoods are restricted against Jews and Negroes, Fortunately just those anti-Semitic land development companies with which Jews had no connections whatsoever were the first to fail and some are undergoing court investigations on criminal charges.
The National Council of the Y. M. C. A., through affiliated local associations, has set for its 1927 task the duty of meeting a budget of approximately $45,000,000, according to the report of the Budget Committee, submitted at the first plenary session of the annual council meeting in Chicago.
The National Council will call for $4,104,000, about $20,000 more than last year, to be expended directly through local and State organizations.
Missionary work under the Home Board will receive approximately $1,000,000; under the Foreign Board, approximately $1,500,000, and the balance will go to educational enterprises, the physical program, and building and recreational facilities and maintenance, it was stated.
Negotiations for the merger of the great mail-order houses of Sears, Roebuck & Co., of which Julius Rosenwald is the head, and Montgomery Ward & Co. under one management, with J. P. Morgan & Co. in control. are taking place, according to rumors circulating in Chicago.
The two companies do an annual business of $450,000,000. It was stated that from $10,000,000 to $15,000,000 overhead expenses would be eliminated by the combination.
Miss Minnie Edelschick, one-time supervisor with the Bronx district of Jewish Social Service Ass’n. of N. Y., and a member of the Emergency Commission sent to Cuba to assist the immigrants stranded there, was appointed supervisor of the United Hebrew Charities, Hartford, Conn.
The will of Harry Mayer, of 970 Park Ave., New York City, who died on October 7, provides for the erection and maintenance of a free lodging house and eating place for the poor. It directs that as “soon as reasonably can be done after my decease and prior to the expiration of two years after my decease, the trustees shall cause to be organized a charitable organization to be known or designated as the ‘Mayer Rest’ or some similar name which shall show on its face that its creation was brought about through me.”
The establishment of the lodging house is to be funded out of the residuary estate. Besides’ this gift, Mr. Mayer left $5,000 each to the Mount Sinai Hospital and the Jewish Working Girls’ Vacation Society. Other sums are bequeathed to other hospitals and charitable societies.