Frisch Offers Plan to Democratize American Jewish Community; Asks Representative Body

A plan for the democratization of the American Jewish community through the creation of an “over all, supreme, authoritative body, comprised of democratically elected representatives of Jewish community councils throughout the country” was today proposed by Daniel Frisch, president of the Zionist Organization of America.

Outlined in a 12-page brochure, entitle “Democratization of the American Jewish Community,” the proposal is the outgrowth of a “Program for action” presented by the Z.O.A. present and adopted at the last meeting of the Z.O.A. Administrative Council. This plan embodied a proposal for the Z.O.A. to work toward the democratization of the American Jewish community “to conform to the standards of American democracy.”

Mr. Frisch’s democratization plan envisions a conclave of Jewish community council from all over the county which would lay the foundation for an all-American Jewish representative body which, “because it will represent all the Jewish community Councils throughout the country, will be truly authorities and, having received its mandate from duly-constituted and democratically organized bodies, will be truly democratic.” He pledges the support of the Z.O.A. to such a plan.

In his statement, Mr. Frisch sharply attacks the contention of those who hold that American-Jewish life, being entirely on the voluntary principle rather that on compulsion, cannot possibly be governed by democratic procedure. Mr. Frisch maintains that this view “has been largely responsible for the fragmentization of American-Jewish Life as well as the lack of authority and order in the American Jewish community.”

The plan further proposes the integration of the Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds within the framework of the democratic community in order to bring about “community responsibility for Jewish needs coupled with a community-wide unified system of fund-raising.” However, the Zionist leader stresses, “I should be less than candid if I were not to point out that the Welfare Funds, with their enormous influence and power fund-raising and disbursements, must be democratized if they are to function properly in the interest of the whole Jewish community of American.

“To my mind,” he adds, “it is not casting any aspersion on the integrity or ability of those who today compose the leadership of Federations and Welfare Funds to say that until they accept the control of the organized democratic Jewish community, they cannot expect to be entrusted with the direction of Jewish life through a system of planning and budgeting.” Representing but a part of the totality of Jewish community life, they should be guided “by the will of the community as a whole,” rather than by “their own notions of what’s good and proper of the community,” he concluded.

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