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National Jewish Welfare Board Reports Increased Interest in Community Centers

A total of 321 Jewish community centers and YM-YWHA’s were affiliated with the National Jewish Welfare Board at the end of 1948, the J.W.B.’s annual report, made public today by Frank L. Well, president, revealed. The aggregate membership of the centers and Y’s is 468,000, while the combined annual budget is approximately $10,290,000, the survey stated.

The report noted “the widespread upsurge of Interest in the center movement” and said that this was “reflected in the following throe developments: 1. Expansion of programs and services by established centers to keep pace with mounting needs; 2. Initiating plans for new center structures or enlarging facilities of existing centers; and, 3. Organizing centers in communities where none existed before.”

The J.W.B.’s annual report also pointed up a “new factor affecting the capital fund campaigns of centers and Y’s–the inclusion of center building funds in total community fund-raising goals of Jewish federations, welfare funds and community councils.” The J.W.B. added a “new impetus to Jewish cultural life in America in 1948,” the report stated, “When it became sponsor of the 56-year-old American Jewish Historical Society.” The survey also noted the founding by the J.W.B. last year of the National Jewish Youth Conference as additional “evidence of the new Jewish motivation in the American Jewish community.”

The J.W.B.’s review of 1948 disclosed that “the service program of the Armed Services Division reached into 256 military posts and V.A. hospitals. At the end of 1948, it added, there were 28 regular Army chaplains and 163 auxiliary chaplains, while 156 rabbis held reserve commissions.

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