Two hundred and forty-five thousand, eight hundred and thirty-five pupils attend 2,031 religious schools in eight Europeas countries and Palestine which are subventioned by the Cultural Committee, according to a report by Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, secretary of the Cultural Relief Committee, of which Dr. Cyrus Adler is chairman.
“When, in the after-the-War period, the Joint Distribution Committee undertook permanent rehabilitative work and constituted the cultural committee as part of its program, this work assumed a definite and organized form, in which budgets were drawn up in advance, the institutions selected to receive aid property listed and supervised, it became possible to keep track of the expenditures for this important purpose. Since the constituting of the Cultural Committee to date, a sum exceeding $3,000,000 has been spent on Jewish education in the war-suffering countries. This work still goes on, if in a somewhat abridged form due to the lessened income of the various American Jewish relief bodies.
“The creation of the Cultural Com- (Continued on Page 4)
mittee was due mainly to the initiative of the Central Relief Committee, whose directors and contributors to its funds represent the traditional element in Jewry interested in preserving intact the spiritual heritage of their people, its learning and its culture. They felt all the while that it was hardly worth the effort to save the body of the Jew if his soul be left to perish in an abyss of ignorance, and that without proper education the Jewish youth would surely be lost to their people. They were aware that without this intensive effort, there would have been no Jewish schools, the native populaces in their daily gruelling struggle and poverty being too poor to constitute their system of education disrupted by the War.
“The contributions of the Joint Distribution Committee being limited, furnish, however, only the nucleus of the funds needed for the maintenance of these schools. With the best of intentions the Joint Distribution Committee can furnish them only with a limited portion of their daily expenditures. The rest-the largest portion of it-they must find for themselves despite their poverty and bitter daily struggle for existence. That they do succeed in keeping the doors of their institutions open, and are affording the fundamentals of a Jewish education to tens of thousands of children is due to their own devotion, to their own zeal for the cause of learning. Education is, by the way, a form of relief in which rich and poor, radical and conservative, share alike, the schools of a town or city being open to all alike, irrespective of their financial or economic status. Nor is the aid given restricted only to the schools conducted in a traditional spirit, the Tarbuth and school systems receiving their quota of aid alongside of all others. And it is the consensus of opinion among all groups and factions in the countries in which the schools operate, conservative, radical, progressive and Zionist, that the very existence and continued activity of these schools is due to the efforts of their American brothers. It is a cry frequently heard abroad: ‘Had it not been for the American Jews there would have been no Jewish schools left in the Diaspora!’
“During the past year or so, the Cultural Committee of the Joint Distribution Committee has been compelled to curtail considerably its appropriations for the various schools receiving aid from it, owing to the lessened income of the Joint Distribution Committee and its constituent organizations. As a result of this, all the institutions that had experienced so much difficulty all along in maintaining themselves, now had to face a still more intensified struggle, while many actually were obliged to close their doors in the face of many clamoring would-be pupils of yesterday. Desperate appeals for aid reach us day by day from these threatened houses of learning, which frequently have to go unanswered, or answered in part only, for lack of funds.
“American Jewry has built perhaps better than it knew when it established the Cultural Committee. Through this effort it has become the savior of Jewish education and Jewish learning in practically every country on the face of the globe. It has saved Judaism at the time when it was threatened with extinction. And while its actual labors were concentrated in the war-suffering lands, their repercussions were heard and felt even in our own homeland, America. The work performed in Poland, Lithuania, and other distant countries reacted on the Jewish education system right here among us. We benefited by it indirectly almost as much as our brothers abroad benefited by it in a more direct manner. It is sincerely to be hoped that the Jews of America, who initiated and called into being this magnificent piece of reconstructive work, will not allow it to suffer disruption at this day. after so many years of intensive effort and encouraging results.
“The following is a list of educational institutions of all grades subventioned by the Cultural Committee:
Country Schools Pupils
Austria ……………………….. 24 1,988
Czechoslovakia …………….. 43 2,095
Carpato-Russ, Czechoslo ………. 24 1,270
Hungary…………………. 82 2,896
Latvia ………………………….. 50 4,989
Lithuania ………………….. 235 21,207
Palestine ………………….. 29 5,120
Poland ……………………… 1,448 197,180
Transylvania (Roumania) ….. 96 8,990