Nias’ Proposal for State Assumption of Charities Causes Considerable Discussion

Following the statement in a recent issue of the “Brooklyn Examiner” by Henry Nias, prominent Brooklyn Jewish philanthropist, advocating state assumption of charities and the elimination of private charity institutions many comments have been received by the “Examiner” both in favor and against the proposition. Some of these letters appear in the current issue of the paper. Most of those opposed agree that while the plan is excellent in theory, it can never work in practice unless the policy of the government changes radically.

Congressman Emanuel Celler expresses the opinion that the trend of affair points inevitably to the adoption of all charity administration by the state. On the other hand, Justice Mitchell May of the Brooklyn Supreme Court believes that private and public charities have different functions and should be kept apart. Others declare that the present-day economic situation is not favorable to the proposal, because it calls for an increase in taxation, while the cry now is for a decrease in taxation.

Clarance Bachrach, a Brooklyn attorney, active in many philanthropic movements, expresses himself in favor of Mr. Nias’ proposal, but insists that the funds allotted to Jewish charities be dispensed under the supervision of Jews; this would eliminate the impersonal attitude which many object to.

“It has long been the custom among Jews”, says Nathan D. Shapiro, President of the Brooklyn Federation of Charities, “to lay aside a certain amount for charity. The personal element involved in the private dispensation of charities is an important feature which many believe should not be disregarded.”

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