A plan for a national conference of the United Jewish Campaign, to be held in Chicago October 22 and 23, was announced yesterday by David A. Brown, national chairman of the United Jewish Campaign, at the national headquarters in New York City. The conference, which will be the third national meeting since the launching of the relief campaign, and which is to be known as the “Constructive Relief Conference,” will comprise a nation-wide gathering of all forces in America engaged in the work of Jewish relief and reconstruction in Eastern Europe conducted under the auspices of the Joint Distribution Committee, the continuing funds for which are being raised through the $25,000,000 “overseas chest” of the United Jewish Campaign.
The date and place of the conference were set at a joint meeting of the official heads of the United Jewish Campaign and the Joint Distribution Committee, held in the offices of Felix M. Warburg, chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, after the decision was unanimously taken for convening a 1927 conference for review of the work thus far accomplished and discussion of further steps to be taken. Besides Mr. Warburg and Mr. Brown, those who participated in the action for the conference call included Louis Marshall, Col. Herbert H. Lehman, Vice-Chairman, and Paul Baerwald, Treasurer, of the Joint Distribution Committee, Dr. Cyrus Adler, chairman of the Cultural Committee of the Joint Distribution Committee, and David M. Bressler, acting chairman of the United Jewish Campaign of Greater New York held in the spring of 1926.
Immediately on the announcement of the conference project the Chicago leaders of the United Jewish Campaign, in an official message from Julius Rosenwald, Jacob M. Loeb, Sol Kline, Samuel Deutsch. Gen. Abel Davis and Judge Harry Fisher, to Mr. Brown, extended an invitation to have the conference held in their city.
The facilities of the new Standard Club, which was recently opened, were offered for the conference. A message of acceptance from the officers of the United Jewish Campaign and the Joint Distribution Committee in New York to the Chicago committee officially fixed the place of the conference in the city where the United Jewish Campaign Conference was held last year.
Representatives of all groups of American Jewry organized in the drive movement, and of all communal and philanthropic elements interested in the reconstruction work in the various countries abroad, will be summoned for a two-day session in Chicago on the days announced. The conference, which will open Saturday evening, October 22, and continue through Sunday, October 23, will be devoted to a review of the results achieved to date in the various campaign efforts throughout the country, as well as of the status of the work abroad, with a view to presenting a comprehensive picture of present Jewish economic and social conditions in all the countries in which the Joint Distribution Committee is at work.
Several well-known authorities in economic and social service fields who are now abroad are expected to return within the next few weeks to present first-hand reports at the conference on what has happened in the last year, as affects present developments and the future outlook of Jewish existence in the European communities. Among these are James H. Becker of Chicago, who accompanied Felix M. Warburg on his tour of the Jewish colonies in Russia last spring. Dr. Joseph A. Rosen, director of the Agro-Joint, through which the colonization aid work is conducted in Russia, will also be one of the principal figures of the conference. Reports on the various phases of the fund-raising work in this country, centering on the progress of collection of the monies pledged through the campaign period in all states, and on plans for campaigns to be held in the final phase of the appeal this fall, in which a number of outstanding efforts remain to be held in large cities, will constitute an important part of the agenda of the conference.
Mr. Brown, in his acceptance message to the Chicago leaders, expressed his conviction that the forthcoming conference will be not only an important and impressive rallying of new impetus for the tremendous humanitarian undertaking of American Jewry represented in the effort of the last two years, but also that its reports recording the most recent accomplishment will register an unprecedented new high mark of united achievement in Jewish philanthropy in America.
The country-wide fund-raising effort, in which nearly 2500 cities and towns in practically every state in the union and in Canada have already participated, has resulted in pledges of over $20,000,000 in the period of less than two years since the campaign was started. The movement was launched September 12, 1925, at a notable gathering of all elements of American Jewry at a conference in Philadelphia.
“We have been so busy on this job these last twelve months,” Mr. Brown said, “that we have scarcely had time to reaize the tremendous amount of work that has been done. It has been a high-powered year–bigger in scope and significance than any even of the biggest previous record periods of the campaign. More than ever before has been accompished here in America, in the fund-raising and in collection of subscriptions, which is the sinews of all our hopes and plans over there.
“More than ever in this year have I been reassured in my faith in the inherent generosity of the Jews of America. When at the end of April of this year, in response to an urgent plea from the Joint Distribution Committe, I urged the communities to speed up collections so as to turn in to us the money needed for our work for the summer months, asking for $1,800,000, I, who thought I knew the full measure of the sacrificing capacity of our people, met with something still bigger and finer than all I had ever known before. The response was magnificent. Community after community responded with a readiness whose sincerity is evidenced in the figure of over $1,600,000 already turned in in answer to my request.
“A vast amount of vital work, whose significance is scarcely yet perceptible to us in all its directions, has also been accomplished on the other side, in the steady, unremitting stepby-step work through which the Joint Distribution Committee is supplying the needed firm arm of direction and support to our struggling brothers of Europe in their heroic fight to make their own life bearable and secure once more in a literally shattered world. I look forward to this conference with keen anticipation of the revelations and realizations it will bring to all of us who are shouldering each our part of this gigantic task, working together across the reach of a whole continent. I feel that it will rear a new towering beacon light to our energy and spirit, to our resolve of unity and steadfastness of purpose in driving on in the work still to be done,” Mr. Brown stated.