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J. D. B. News Letter

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That the Jewish community exchequer is not nearly as depleted as some would have us believe, was amply demonstrated here in the course of the past month—so well demonstrated that it might serve as a guide and a stimulant to other communities.

With little campaigning, without the attendant publicity, without high pressuring anyone, indeed almost in a confidential manner, the Jewish community of this city in the course of the past few weeks contributed approximately $300,000 to strengthen and to stabilize some of the religious and other institutions that were grappling with serious financial problems. So smoothly, so painlessly, was this feat accomplished, that many viewing it in retrospect still marvel at the manner in which it was achieved. In a sense it may be said to have been accomplished in the very face of the fear openly expressed in some quarters that the community as such was absolutely at the very end of its resources financially—a paradox the like of which it would be difficult to find.


The annual Federation campaign last January which fell short of its goal by approximately $400,000 served to dampen the spirit of many communal workers, especially those whose activities are limited to charity fund raising. To them the horizon seemed dark; they were overwhelmed by a spirit of depression. The problem of adjusting the needs of the constitutent organizations to the reduced budget did not improve their frame of mind.

But the Federation budget was not the only one the community had to meet. The synagogues, too, felt the force of the general economic depression. The first cry for help came from Congregation Bnai Jeshurun of Strawberry Mansion. Here a series of circumstances combined to put the Congregation in a precarious condition. For a while it looked as though this imposing edifice on Thirty-third Street opposite Fairmount Park, would have to go under the sheriff’s hammer. A series of negotiations attended by much unpleasantness with threats of foreclosure and judgments, produced the following results. The directors who were signatories to a bond, contributed approximately $90,000, thus paying off the interest due to date and reducing the standing mortgage to $100,000. Though this is not viewed as a permanent cure it will stay the hand of the sheriff for some time to come.


The West Philadelphia Jewish Community Center, though a younger institution, was not in better circumstances. Instead of resorting to the courts, the directors of the congregation launched upon a money-raising

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