250,000 Young Men and Women Affiliated with Jewish Cultural Organizations, Welfare Board Convention
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250,000 Young Men and Women Affiliated with Jewish Cultural Organizations, Welfare Board Convention

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(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

Over a quarter of a million young men and young women are affiliated with the Jewish Welfare Board, Judge Irving Lehman, president of the organization, declared at the third biennial convention of the organization held at the Elysium Club yesterday. Three hundred delegates, representing Y. M. H. A.s, Y. W. H. A. s, and Community Centers from every part of the country, participated in the deliberations which terminated in a banquet at the local Y. M. H. A. in the evening.

Since its organization on April 6, 1917, as a welfare committee for Jewish men in the American Expeditionary Forces and in the United States Navy, and its transformation subsequent to the war into a peace-time organization for the cultural and physical guidance of Jewish young men and women, there have come under its jurisdiction 97 Y. M. H. A., Y. W. H. A., and Community Center societies owning property estimated by Judge Lehman to be worth $15,250,000. During the next few months seven additional structures are to be erected in various parts of the country, at an estimated cost of $1,000,000 and an equal sum is available in nine cities as a result of recent campaigns.


“These magnificent structures embody beauty of design, harmony of architectural form and an arrangement of facilities that meets in the fullest degree the needs of the community, adding to the enrichment of the civic life of American cities,” Judge Lehman declared.

“The Jewish Welfare Board has made it its task to ascertain the needs of these young people and to present them in a comprehensive and convincing manner to the responsible members of the community,” Judge Lehman declared, adding that studies were made in fifty communities during the past five years.

One hundred and four institutions affiliated with the Jewish Welfare Board have paid executives, with several hundred departmental executives, including directors of women’s work, educational directors and physical training directors, and it has stimulated interest in the training of volunteer workers. In addition to its work in this country, Judge Lehman added, the Board has furnished material to Jewish youth organizations in France, England, Palestine, Russia, South Africa and Cuba. The deficit of the Board, Judge Lehman reported is $42,680.

Harry L. Glucksman, executive director of the Jewish Welfare Board, reported that 67 Y. M. H. A.’ and Y. W. H. A.s, about one-fourth of the constituency of the Board are located in New England. “Since the inception of the work, the Board has sought to stimulate interest in Jewish cultural subjects, through its various publications and the programs arranged by the lecture and concert bureau,” Mr. Glucksman stated. “During the past two years there have been arranged 966 celebrations of Jewish festivals and 427 patriotic celebrations. Religious classes are being organized in many centers to supplement the work done in religious schools. They mark the inauguration of an advanced type of activity in the Jewish Center program and demonstrate the efficacy of the Jewish Center as a medium for Jewish educational work, and its ability to make the acquisition of Jewish knowledge attractive to the youth. The success that has attended the attempt to conduct Jewish activities stamps the Jewish Community Center as a distinctive Jewish educational institution.” Over a thousand lectures and concerts for adults have been arranged by the Board since 1921. Mr. Glucksman stated.


The need to study the growth of Synagogue Centers, in order to determine the attitude of the Board toward them was pointed out by Mr. Glucksman, who said it would not be sound policy to regard them as separate and distinct institutions not related to the development of the community center.

“More than the increase of buildings, the expansion of programs, the enlargement of the employed personnel, there are the imponderable gains in an intensified Jewish spirit,” Mr. Glucksman declared. “A reawakening of Jewish communities to their responsibilities for the training of its youth, and the unfolding to our young people of the beauty of Jewish culture, the spiritual strength of Jewish idealism, the glory of Israel’s past, and the hope of its future,” was Mr. Glucksman’s summary of the service rendered by the Jewish Welfare Board.

The work of the Jewish Welfare Board among Jewish soldiers and sailors was the subject of a report rendered by Dr. Cyrus Adler, president of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and Dropsie College, Philadelphia, who is chairman of the Army and Navy Committee of the Board.

Dr. Adler said that there are approximately 5.000 Jewish men in the American uniform and 1.000 in veterans hospitals still suffering from injuries received during the late war. The Army and Navy Committee ministers to the religious needs of these men, Dr. Adler stated, reaching out to such distant points as China, Manila, Honolulu, the Canal Zone and Haiti. Furloughs are obtained for a large number, enabling them to go home or to nearby communities during the Jewish holidays and festivals. The development of summer training camps by the U. S. Army has been followed by the Board, which conducts services in 32 places every summer. Six full time and 18 part-time field representatives are in the employ of the Army and Navy Committee, and a host of volunteers cooperate with it.


During the past two years the Army and Navy Committee has dealt with 6.000 cases requiring personal services in relation to problems of ex-service men in connection with Government claims. $161,067 was spent by the Army and Navy Committee in connection with its work during the past two years, which. Dr. Adler stated is looked upon with great favor by the War and Navy Departments of the national government.

Captain C. H. Dickins, chief of the Chaplains of the United States Navy, paid high tribute to the cooperation of the Army and Navy Committee toward the solution of the religious problems of the service men.

Mr. Louis Kirstein of Boston opened the morning session with an address of welcome on behalf of the Jewish community. Rabbi H. H. Rubenovitz delivered the invocation.

During the afternoon session Mr. Sol M. Stroock of New York reported on the recent establishment in that city of the Metropolitan League of Jewish Community Associations, in which is included 21 of the principal recreational and educational organizations in that city under Jewish auspices. These have a membership of 60,000 young people, and the cost of maintenance is about $1,000,000 a year. The value of the property of the organizations affiliated with the League is $4,500,000. Under its auspices there was held, in connection with the opening of the Sesquicentennial, a relay race of 114 miles between New York and Philadelphia, in which the runners carried messages to and from the Mayors of all the towns along the route. Additional building campaigns in Greater New York are in contemplation during the next two years by the League, and a survey of its recreational and cultural needs has just been completed by the Welfare Board.

Felix Fuld, merchant-philanthropist of Newark, New Jersey, who is president of that state’s Federation of Y. M. H. A.s and Y. W. H. A.s, reported that the Federation’s connstituency is approximately 15,000, with property holdings valued at $2,500,000. Its summer camps accommodate 1,000 young people annually.

For New England, Albert Hurwitz of Boston, president of the Associated Y. M. H. A.s and Y. W. H. A.s, reported a growth in 15 years from seven organizations with 600 members, to 109 organizations with a total of 20,000 dues-paying members this year. Twenty of these organizations are giving accommodations to religious schools, for about 2,000 children. The Boston Y. M. H. A. has 71 boys’ and girls’ clubs, with a total membership of 1200. Eighteen New England Y. M. H. A.s have their own buildings representing an investment of $400,000.

Touching the Boston situation, Mr. Hurwitz said: “We feel there is something wrong if cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Baltimore have buildings which cost from $500,000 to $1,500,000, this city with a Jewish population larger than any of these has only one building, a remodelled residence, costing only $40,500, and a gymnasium built at a cost of $107,000.”

Mr. Hurwitz declared that it was the ambition of the members of the local Y. M. H. A. to erect a building in the center of the city, which would be adequate to the needs of Boston and a credit to the community.

Commenting on Mr. Hurwitz’s report, Judge Lehman declared that it was the earnest desire of the Welfare Board to conduct a series of campaigns which would result in the erection of a sufficient nnunmber of nYnn22fin? sufficient number of Y. M. and Y. W. H. A. buildings to meet the needs of New England.

David Weiner of Washington, D. C., president of the Middle States Federation of Y. M. and Y. W. H. A.s, reported on the recent successful completion of a campaign to raise $500,000 in Baltimore, and described the activities of the constituent organizations in Richmond, Norfolk and Newport News, Va., and in Washington, D. C., whose $400,000 Jewish Community Center is attracting nation-wide attention.

Mr. Joseph Hormats of Troy, N. Y., reporting on the New York Federation, told of a new $200,000 building in Albany and a campaign for $500,000 to be launched shortly for a new community center building in Rochester. The New York Federation has the cooperation of the State Department of Health in carrying on a series of lectures on health and character-building and courses in first aid and home surgery. Its oratorical contests are a popular feature.

A resolution was adopted to appoint a committee to confer with Synagogue organizations in order to make a study of the relations between the Jewish Welfare Board and Synagogue and similar center movements. Another committee was voted to consider the establishment of a building bureau.

The convention expressed its grief over the deaths during the past year of David Sommers of St. Louis, Harry Rosensohn of Brooklyn, and Jules Mastbaum of Philadelphia, members of its executive council. It also sent felicitations to Louis Marshall of New York, who recently celebrated his seventieth birthday.

The following were elected as members of the Board of Trustees for a period of six years, to succeed themselves: Judge Irving Lehman, New York; Felix M. Warburg. New York; Jacob M. Loeb, Chicago; Louis E. Kirstein, Boston; Jacob L. Wiseman, Boston ; Gen. Abel Davis. Chicago and Morris Wolf, Philadelphia.

At the banquet Sunday evening addresses were delivered by Judge Lehman, Judge Joseph M. Proskauer of New York County Supreme Court. Jacob L. Wiseman of Boston, Ex-Congressman Isaac Siegel, and Felix Fuld of Newark, N. J.

Mr. Louis Marshall who was scheduled to speak at the banquet but who was compelled to absent himself owing to an important conference in New York, sent the following telegram:

“I know or no educational and social movement which at the present time is as deserving of the best thought of every loyal Jew and Jewess as that which is intended to develop the Jewish centres and the young men’s and young women’s Hebrew associations as an essential part of the American Jewish life. It is gratifying that through their agency a halt has been called to the indifference of our people to Judaism and all that it implies, which until recently was a serious menace to its future in this country.”

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