AMERICAN JEWRY will hail with enthusiasm the joint announcement made yesterday by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the American Palestine Campaign to the effect that “an agreement has been reached to conduct a combined appeal in 1934 for funds required for the program of activities of both the Joint Distribution Committee and the American Palestine Campaign” and that “the goal will be $3,000,000, indispensably necessary for the work of relief, rehabilitation and refugee settlement now in progress.”
James G. McDonald, High Commissioner for German Refugees, welcomes this decision of the American Jewish leaders to combine their relief, efforts in behalf of the German refugees.
“This united effort of the Joint Distribution Committee and the American Palestine Campaign is a fulfilment of the hope which I have frequently expressed, both publicly and privately, since the first meeting of the High Commission at Lausanne last December,” he declares in his statement. “This coordination will, I am confident, expedite, just when speed is most essential, a nationwide effort on behalf of the approximately 50,000 Jewish refugees from Germany…. I am confident that the Jews of the United States will show by their deeds that they are fully aware of the desperate needs of the hour.”
The representatives of the Joint Distribution Committee and of the American Palestine Campaign are to be congratulated on having at last reached the only logical decision in this emergency. If there is no unity in American Jewish leadership as to the most effective way of combatting the menace of Nazism, there should have been no divergence of opinion with regard to the imperative relief work to be done. In this connection, much praise is due to the High Commissioner for his own strenuous efforts in having helped to bring about unity and coordination in American Jewish relief work in this hour of great need.
As I pointed out more than a month ago, the Jewish people in America were puzzled by the separate appeal for help, and without coordination there was serious danger that the response to all the appeals for relief would be inadequate.
The problem of settling German Jewish refugees in Palestine and other lands could be solved only with the aid of Jewish generosity. Vast sums are required. The Jewish people are expected to give its proper answer to Hitlerism by saving the victims of Hitlerism. It would have been an inexcusable blunder if we remained divided even in our relief and reconstruction work. The Jews of America dare not fail our persecuted people in Germany. Now that coordination is assured, the united campaign is certain to demonstrate the generosity and sense of responsibility of American Jewry more magnificently than ever before.
Miss Lillian D. Wald’s book, “Windows On Henry Street,” appeared on her sixty-seventh birthday last Saturday. The Lady of Henry Street and her book are highly praised in the literary columns and the editorials of leading American newsmen and women in America.
Those who do not know Miss Wald and her achievements may wonder why all these honors are bestowed on her. It may seem strange to them that the head of a settlement house on the East Side should be accorded such universal recognition.
Lillian D. Wald came to the East Side forty years ago with a broad outlook on life, and with a deep compassion for the distressed and needy. She organized a nursing service in the homes of the poor and introduced methods of hygiene and sanitation among those who had come from lands where these were unknown. She did not view the world from one side only–from the East Side.
The Henry Street Settlement, while aiding the needy of the East Side, became at the same time a cultural center where men and women of vision and ideals were attracted by the inspiring personality and intellect of Lillian D. Wald. Men of great wealth and men of advanced ideas, philanthropists and radical social reformers, scientists, revolutionaries and pacifists, literary celebrities and budding writers, often met and discussed civic problems and worid affairs in the little house on Henry street. Miss Wald aided the case of Babushka Catherine Breshkovskaya, the genial Grandmother of the Russian Revolution. Miss Wald helped to interest eminent American. in the cause of Russian emancipation from Tsarist despotism. She worked for social justice and for peace. She was a pacifist when it was extremely unpopular to advocate peace. She was instrumental in promoting measure for the abolition of the unspeakable sweat-shop conditions, of child labor, and for the introduction of progressive legislation.
She did not view the world merely from the Henry Street windows. Her windows looked out upon the wide world. She has seen the sorrows and sufferings of the newcomers who were striving to adapt themselves to the new environment, to the new life in the New World. She has witnessed the wrongs and iniquities perpetrated by selfish politicians and greedy exploiters. She has combatted these wrongs quietly, wisely, courageously.
The East Side at that time was the center of the immigrants who came to this country from lands where they and their people had been subjected to persecution and discriminatory laws. They were poor, but they were inspired by idealism and by their faith in the ideals of American liberty and equality of opportunity. They had brought with them cultural treasures from their native lands. Miss Wald’s Henry Street windows looked out upon the life and ideals and aspirations of these poor, rich immigrants, Americans in the making. Miss Wald has done much to help there sympathetically during their first has also gained through them a knowledge and understanding of social world problems which later enabled her to do the great ## with which she is now universally identified.
Her Henry street windows were world windows. years of readjustment, but she
Her achievements as a humanitarian leader among American women in the causes of social justice and peace place her next to Jane Addams, whom Leo Tolstoy described as the greatest American social worker.
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