Citing figures to show the huge increase in the need for medical relief and other services which the Federation institutions supply to more than 250,000 men, women and children, Judge Proskauer, in his address, stressed the extreme precariousness of Federation’s financial situation and warned against the wide increase in misery and suffering that Federation’s failure would mean.
The plea of Federation, Justice Proskauer emphasized, is “a plea not for institutions, but for human beings.
“Our campaign is for no cold corporate entity, it is for the more than a quarter of a million unfortunate men, women and children who have nowhere to turn for their help but to usâ€”the orphans who without us will go uncared for, the sick who would be neglected, the aged who would be condemned to live wretched and shelterless.”
CITES RISE IN SERVICES
Judge Proskauer then cited statistics indicating how demands for Federation’s services have increased. Clinical service in seven hospitals, he pointed out, has grown from 582,542 visits per year in 1929, to 699,440 in 1934, or twenty per cent. Days of hospital free care rose from 528,682 in 1929 to 694,370 in 1934, or thirty per cent. Children cared for by Federation rose in number from 5,032 in 1929 to 6,403 in 1934, or twenty-seven per cent. The total families under care by Federation’s case-work agency increased from 10,331 in 1929 to 11,656 in 1934, or thirteen per cent. Figures for the care of crippled increased from 6,013 in 1929 to 7,468 in 1934, or twenty-four per cent.
“We are not running a business. We are alleviating misery,” said Judge Proskauer. “So we took the position that so long as a five-cent piece remained in our treasury available to be spent, it must be spent to relieve misery. Thus it is we have today not one cent of free reserves in the Federation treasury.”
INCOME SHARPLY CUT
With an increased budget of $3,655,000 for 1934, Federation’s annual recurrent income, due to prevailing economic conditions, declined sharply in 1934 to the record low of $1,584,000, a decrease of more than fifty-five per cent.
“The inevitable result was our present unparalleled deficit of $2,071,000, which must be raised in the six short weeks of our campaign, if the doors of our institutions are to remain open,” the speaker said.
Pointing out that the present campaign involved the raising of sixty per cent more than last year’s deficit campaign, Judge Proskauer pleaded for “a drastic revision upward of the whole scale of giving which alone could rescue Federation from its present plight.”
As the instrumentality of the whole Jewish community, and as the outstanding modern expression of the historic Jewish charitable tradition, Federation has a special claim on the support of every New York Jew, the speaker said. He appealed to the pride of the “greatest Jewish community the world has ever known” not to allow its philanthropic institutions to go down to disruption and ruin.”
“The presence at this campaign opening dinner tonight of every leading and representative element of our New York life is reassuring evidence,” the Judge said “that there is wide concern over Federation’s situation, and a genuine resolve to rally to its support.”
COMPARED TO 80’S
Mr. Ittleson in his address declared that one would have to go back in history to the 80’s to find comparable mass misery and need on the part of New York Jews, and found a close parallel between the philanthropic problems confronting the community in those days and in these.
“At the time of the tremendous migrations from Eastern Europe thousands upon thousands were suddenly precipitated from an old world to the new, forced to make adjustments to a strange life, forced to depend on the help of their fellowmen to get a foothold,” Ittleson said.
“In these times, after five years of depression we have hundreds of thousands who have had to migrate as it were, from previous standards of living to new onesâ€”to find new jobs, new homes, new work, new modes of life. Their problems of adjustment, the strains placed upon them, are as severe as upon their predecessors of the 80’s. Indeed, the casualties in broken homes, shelterless children, sick and suffering who must be aided are, one feels safe in saying, greater today than ever in our history.”
SEES A DIFFERENCE
Mr. Ittleson found, however, “one tremendous, hopeful difference in the present situation. In the 80’s, we had to build up our charitable agencies from the foundations in the midst of a raging storm. Today we have in Federation an imposing philanthropic structure, equipped with every resource of science and technique, fitted through decades of experience to take care of the widest range of human need. The plant and machinery is there, finished and ready to hand.
“How much simpler our task is than that of our fathers! Our responsibility is but to continue and maintain what we already have. It is unbelievable that the Jews of New York will not assume this inescapable communal responsibility.
Federation leaders warned against the illusion “that the government would step in and give what private generosity had failed to provide.
“By now the principle is well established in our government that Federal agencies will provide relief only to alleviate immediate hunger and cold attendant on unemployment. Only lately it has been reiterated by President Roosevelt, Newton Baker, and other leaders of public policy that for such essential human services as childcare, free medical care, old age care, family rehabilitation, and character-building, the government means to continue to depend on the voluntary generosity of private citizens.”
Among those who attended the dinner were: Mrs. Paul Adler, Mrs. George Becker, Mrs. Paul Baerwald, Mr. and Mrs. Richard J. Bernhard, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis M. Bloomingdale, George Blumenthal, Mrs. Benjamin J. Buttenwieser, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph L. Buttenwieser, Leopold DeMuth, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Eisner, Mrs. Mischa Elman, Mr. and Mrs. Albert J. Erdmann, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Goldman, I. Edwin Goldwasser, Mr. and Mrs. C. M. Guggenheimer, Stanley Jacobs, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Klingenstein, Mrs. Waldemar Kops, Judge and Mrs. Morris Koenig, Herman Lissner, Mrs. Solomon Lowenstein, Mr. and Mrs. Carl M. Loeb jr., Mr. and Mrs. Alexander J. Marcuse, Mr. and Mrs. George Z. Medalie, Henry Morgenthau, Dr. Henry Moskowitz, Judge Samuel D. Levy, Rabbi and Mrs. Louis I. Newman, David Podell, Dr. Nathan Ratnoff, Judge and Mrs. Samuel D. Rosenman, Henry F. Samstag, Michael Schaap, Mrs. Dudley D. Sicher, Mr. and Mrs. Max D. Steuer, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Hays Sulzberger, Maurice Wertheim and Louis Wiley.