Court Covering All Aspects of Jewish Center Work Presented to Jwb Annual Conference
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Court Covering All Aspects of Jewish Center Work Presented to Jwb Annual Conference

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A comprehensive report covering all aspects of Jewish center work and the present and future activities of the National Jewish Welfare ?rd will be presented tomorrow night to the opening session here of the annual meeting of the JWB.

The report, which summarizes the result of a year-long survey of JWB’s aims, goals, services, programs and relationships to Jewish community centers, other national Jewish organizations and Jewish schools and synagogues, was prepared by Dr. Oscar Janowsky, professor of history at the College of the City of New York, under the spices of a 35-man survey commission headed by Dr. Salo Baron of Columbia University. Among its recommendations are the following:

“Membership and participation in the Jewish center would be open to all inhabtants of the local community without distinction as to race, color or creed. However, it should be clear that the Jewish center is an agency maintained for the specialized needs of the Jewish spiritual-cultural group, and that the primary emphasis ## its program is upon Jewish content. Non-Jewish membership is highly desirable, particularly for the promotion of inter-cultural understanding. But the presence of non-Jews must not divert the center from its distinctive purpose. To abandon the Jewish emphasis because of non-Jewish participation as members would be to sacrifice the very reason for the existence of the institution as a Jewish agency.”

“The JWB, as the national association of Jewish community centers, is concerned with all of the functions of the center in the local community. To the extent that the center is a force toward community organization, the JWB is involved. However, since the other national organizations provide service in this field, the JWB should not regard community organization as one of its major functions.”

“The JWB is recognized by the American Government and the Jewish community as the qualified agency for service to the armed forces. For three decades it has provided for the religious and welfare needs of Jewish military personnel and for veterans aid. This service has been a war duty, and remains as a permanent responsibility an enlarged peace-time responsibility, because the American military establishment has been greatly augmented.”

“The JWB should continue its efforts to reach an undersranding with the B’nai B’rith Youth organization, the Zionist Youth Commission and similar bodies, to the end that the activites of their local branches might be integrated into the center program, without disturbing their organizational or ideological integrity.”

“The JWB should continue its present efforts to reach an understanding with the organized synagogue bodies, notably the Synagogue Council of America. Such an understanding would serve a two-fold purpose. It would elicit greater participation from the affiliated synagogue centers, and remove much of the tension between synagogues and centers in the local communities.” Says Centers Must Be Agency of Jewish Identification and Integration


The report defined the function of the Jewish centers as follows: to serve as an agency of Jewish identification and Jewish integration, and as an agency of personality development, to provide a dynamic and flexible program of service in the fields of recreation and informal education for the entire Jewish community, to further the democratic way of life and to assist in the integration of the individual Jew, as well as of the Jewish group, into the total American community.

A world-wide campaign to raise funds for the establishment of the first YMHA in Jerusalem under the auspices of the World Federation of YMHA’s and Jewish Community centers was approved in principle today at a meeting of the executive committee of the JWB prior to the opening of the conference.

Representing the 301 Jewish centers and YM-YWHA’s in the World Federation, JWB will name a committee to study how and when the campaign should be launched in the U.S. The proposal to establish a YM-YWHA in Jerusalem, which would be the first institution of its kind in Palestine, follows more than a year of conferences, both personal and by mail, among officials of the World Federation, Jewish Welfare Board and leaders of Palestine Jewry.

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