The situation created in the Russian colonies established by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, as a result of this year’s climatic conditions causing a bad crop, affects only 1,000 Jewish families out of a total number of 10,000, approximating 50,000 persons who were settled on the land by the Committee.
This was declared by Dr. Joseph Rosen, head of the Agro-joint, who is now on a visit to this country for the purpose of completing the negotiations concerning the new agreement with the Soviet Government to lay the basis for the operation of the $10,000,000 fund initiated by Julius Rosenwald, to a representative of the Jewish Daily Bulletin in commenting upon the Moscow despatches reporting the result of the bad crop. The affected families will need aid only until the new crop will be harvested about the middle of August. A sum of $100,000 will be provided by the J. D. C. out of its budget to take care of the situation.
Dr. Rosen stated that conditions in the district of Krivoy Rog, where 2,500 Jewish families are settled, are satisfactory. In the majority of the settlements in Crimea, the condition is also satisfactory. The district most affected is Cherson, where 700 to 800 Jewish families are settled. About 25 per cent of the fields have already been resown and it is very likely that the Spring sowing will bring much better results than the Winter sowing would have brought if it had not been affected. There is absolutely no reason for alarm. The situation is not peculiar to the Jewish colonies where the settlers are new, but is a part of a general situation in large areas.
Dr. Ezekiel Grower, who came to this country with Dr. Rosen and who is the Joint’s legal advisor, explained that the condition is the result of bad climatic conditions, the like of which have not been recorded in Russia for the past twenty-five years. The Government is taking steps to help the settlers, in addition to the relief that will be brought by the Joint Distribution Committee and by the Ica and the Ort to the settlements under their auspices.
Dr. Rosen, when asked for his opinion concerning the controversy which is now raging in Jewish labor circles in the United States with regard to the activities of the Icor, the society formed here to help the colonization work in Russia, took the occasion to declare that the Icor is perfrming a very useful piece of work in Russia.
“I am not familiar with the conditions prevailing in the United States in regard to the Icor,” Dr. Rosen said, “but all I can say is on the basis of my observation of the Icor work in Russia. The Icor is the only organization which is furnishing funds to the Ozet and is indeed performing a good service to the cause of Jewish colonization work. There can be no talk about competition between the Icor and the Joint Distribution Committee as the field is vast and every good effort in this direction should be welcome.”
Asked concerning the present stage of the negotiations with regard to the new agreement. Dr. Rosen stated that some of the conditions were modified. He and Dr. Grower intend to sail for Russia on June 2 and he has every confidence that the agreement as finally drafted will be accepted and will thus open a new chapter in the history of the Jewish settlement work in Soviet Russia.
Ralph Zabludofsky of Eastern District High School of Brooklyn was the winner of the regional championship of the National Orstorical Contest on the Constitution conducted by the “New York Times”. He will receive a first prize of a twelve weeks trip to Europe with all expenses paid. $1,000 and a gold medal and qualifies for the national finals at Washington D. C., on May 26 when the national champion will be picked for the International Oratorical Contest to be held there on Oct. 13.