Closer Relations Between National Groups and Communities Urged at Cjfwf Assembly
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Closer Relations Between National Groups and Communities Urged at Cjfwf Assembly

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A closer relationship between the national Jewish agencies and the local communities in which funds for local, overseas and Israel needs are raised was recommended to the 18th annual assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds which was held here this week-end. The assembly was attended by over 500 delegates from some 265 communities throughout this country and Canada.

The delegates heard reports on stable and unified fund-raising, national-local relations and multiple appeals by Julian Freeman of Indianapolis, Herbert R. Abeles of Newark and Bernard P. Kopkind of New Haven. Among the recommendations offered delegates by Council committees dealing with these matters were the following:

1. The establishment in Israel of a central philanthropic fund and a central philanthropic budget.

2. Extension of the principle contained in the recent organization of a joint liaison committee of the Council and the United Jewish Appeal to consider mutual problems and to aid in resolving questions of community relationships.

3. Because there is no new immediate threat of disorganization of the national scene, there is no “decisive current community sentiment” for a national Jewish welfare fund.

4. The U.J.A. and beneficiaries of welfare funds should have full and fair hearings from communities in questions concerning allocations of money raised by the local welfare funds. Thereafter, each city should retain the right to decide its own goals, budget, and distribution of funds.

5. Local community organizations should make questions of national-local relationships a regular part of their board meeting agendas and should set up committees for continuous attention to these problems.

A comprehensive picture of the role of the organized Jewish communities in meeting American Jewry’s total responsibilities was presented to the delegates by Stanley C. Myers of Miami, Council president, and Harold Glasser, director of the Council’s Institute on Overseas Studies. Mr. Glasser, who has just returned from an on-the-spot study of Israel economic conditions, told the community leaders that Israel’s philanthropic need for 1950 will “certainly be no less” than in 1949.

Jewish needs in Israel, overseas and on the domestic scene are “inherently intertwined,” Mr. Myers told the parley last night. He called upon the Jewish communities of America to assess their 1950 responsibilities on the basis of the “relative urgency” of the needs. He warned that it is “fallacious” to separate Jewish needs into “water-tight compartments as if they had nothing to do with each other.”

“There is no real distinction between local and non-local responsibilities. In the final analysis, every responsibility is a local one, whether the people in need are overseas, or in some other city in America, or in our own backyard,” he said. It is essential that the needs be examined on the basis of all available facts, he added, so that the communities might plan “more wisely and intelligently” then ever before.

Regarding the questions of providing funds for local capital projects and allocations to national and overseas agencies, Mr. Myers declared that the communities had built up a solid body of experience to deal with those problems. “Our responsibility for planning the capital expansion of our communal agencies is no less than that for planning their operations,” he insisted. We must take cognizance of those needs, examine them, weigh their validity and urgency, and whether they are genuine needs, immediate needs, and if so, how great and how much of them must be met in 1950.”

As in other instances, he pointed out, these needs must be addressed in the light of all other needs and with full knowledge. Once that has been done; he added, “the decision can only be made by each community for itself, since no one else is competent to make the judgment for it.

“If the community decides that capital needs are so urgent that they must be met in 1950, it then must decide how to raise them–as part of the welfare fund drive, or in a special campaign.” Mr. Myers said that conditions vary among cities, no two sets of circumstances will be similar. However, he added, experience indicates that “where sizeable capital funds are required, they generally can be raised more successfully in a separate drive. Where minor amounts are involved, communities have successfully included them in their annual welfare fund drives.”

In his address, Mr. Glasser pointed out that the “economy of Israel is so undeveloped at this time that the burdens of large immigration and development of basic industrial resources cannot be borne alone by the government.” He stated that the three major problems conftonting Israel for the forthcoming year are constructing houses for new immigrants; settling 60,000 families on the land; and developing the industrial capacities of the new nation.

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