Detroit, Mich (Jul. 2)
The Zionist convention in session Monday night was thrown into confusion reminiscent of old conventions when the question of raising the dues to $8.00 a year instead of the present rate of $6.00 was presented by the Constitution Committee of which David Radavsky of Fall River, Mass., is chairman. The proposal was defeated although it received a vote of 122 to 87. Chairman Morris Rothenberg ruled that a two-thirds majority is necessary to carry the motion. A minority report, proposed by M. Mishkin of Chicago, called for retaining the present $6.00, but giving $5.00 of this to the national organization. The proposals aroused discussion which lasted until long past midnight. Arguments in favor of the proposal were offered on the ground that the increase is necessary in order to wipe out the deficit.
Voicing protests against the suppression of Jewish life and religion in Soviet Russia and the persecution of Zionists and the Hebrew language, the thirty-second Zionist convention condemned these Russian oppressions and particularly spoke out against the Yevseks, the Jewish Communists, who were the leaders in the persecutions in
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Russia. Fiery condemnations by M. Ribalow, editor of ‘Hadoar," Hebrew weekly; Rabbi Barnett Brickner of Cleveland, Abraham Goldberg and Bernard G. Richards were precipitated by the presentation of a resolution by Ezra Shapiro of Cleveland, chairman of the Resolutions Committee, condemning the persecutions and the plight of Russian Jews. Mr. Ribalow objected to the resolution as being too weak to serve its purpose and was joined in these sentiments by the other three speakers. Mr. Goldberg urged the rewriting of the resolution to express the admiration of Jewry for the heroism of the Zionists and Jews in Russia who held fast to their ideals in spite of oppressions.
The convention unanimously adopted the resolution and Mr. Ribalow, Mr. Goldberg and Rabbi Brickner were appointed by Morris Rothenberg who presided at the session to revise the resolution on Russia.
In the course of the discussion, Dr. Joseph Silverman urged that a clause be included in the resolution protesting also against the persecutions of other peoples in Russia.
TO HASTEN SETTLEMENT OF EX-LEGIONNAIRES IN PALESTINE
Another important decision reached at Monday night’s session was to instruct the American delegation to the World Zionist Congress to see that immediate steps are taken for the settlement on the land in Palestine of the former legionnaires who served with the British forces in Palestine. The adopted resolution calls for the setting aside of $100,000 in the next budget toward the fulfillment of pledges previously made to the legionnaires and to settle these legionnaires on 2,500 dunams of land set aside for this purpose by the Jewish National Fund. The resolution grants the right to the legionnaires in this country independently and with the aid of the American Zionist Organization to raise $25,000 necessary for immediate colonization work. Following an appeal for the resolution and the required fund by Mrs. Archibald Silverman, the sum of more than $3,000 was raised on the convention floor. The Legionnaires of Detroit, the Providence, R. I. District and Mr. Steinberg of Chicago each subscribed $500.
The convention adopted resolutions pledging continued support to Dr. Chaim Weizmann. Resolutions were adopted greeting Nahum Sokolow on his present visit to this country and felicitating Louis Marshall and Felix M. Warburg for their efforts in behalf of the Jewish Agency. A unanimous vote was given a resolution which placed the convention on record against the proposal to reform the calendar. Another resolution endorsed the efforts of the Avukah to introduce the study of Hebrew in schools in this country. The convention went on record endorsing the work of the Histadruth Ivrith and pledging continued support to the "Hadoar." Meyer W. Weisgal, editor of the "New Palestine," and Mrs. Silverman, chairman of the Herzl Memorial Committee, were commended for the Herzl Memorial Volume of the "New Palestine."
The convention also renewed its endorsement of the work of the American Jewish Congress and recommended to the districts that they pay tencents per capita to the Congress. An important resolution which was adopted without the customary discussions was one which called for the approval of the reports of the administration and which was in effect a vote of confidence.
At the Monday afternoon session the sum of $340,000 was raised for the Palestine work. This sum was contributed at the United Palestine Appeal session. It included a check for $25,000 from Detroit, presented by the Detroit chairman, Abraham Cooper; checks for $35,000 from New York, $35,000 from Chicago and $25,000 from Philadelphia.
The question of whether or not Hadassah, women’s Zionist organization, is to be accorded separate representation as a group in the Z. O. A. administration was raised in the report of the Committee on Affiliated Organizations. The Committee was divided, a majority recommending representation to the women membership, while a minority asked for the specific mention of Hadassah. Following discussion in which Rabbi Brickner, Rabbi Feldman and Jacob Fishman participated, the entire matter was tabled.
The convention was greeted by the Central Conference of American Rabbis whose convention in Detroit closed yesterday. This is the first time a Zionist convention received the greetings of Reform rabbis.
The United Palestine Appeal raised up to date the amount of $2,076,020, including $339,617 payments made on account of pledges during June, it was reported at the session presided over by Max Shulman of Chicago. The delegates gave a rousing ovation to Judge William M. Lewis, national chairman, when it was announced that he is proceeding on his first visit to Palestine this week.
During the forenoon hours committees were in session preparing plans for future work of the organization.
An Avukah luncheon was held with Rabbi James Heller of Cincinnati as chairman. Several hundred guests attended. A Histadruth Ivrith meeting was addressed by Nahum Sokolow.
The report of Dr. M. M. Kaplan who was absent, was read. The general discussion on the administration report and on the future of the Zionist Organization of America were inaugurated by Dr. A. Coralnik and Abraham Goldberg. According to forecasts important changes are expected to be made in the personnel of the administration, though it is a foregone conclusion that Louis Lipsky will be re-elected as president in his absence.