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Council of Jewish Federations Starts Long-range Study of Jewish Communal Life in U.S.

The Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds announced today that a basic, long-range survey of American Jewish communal life has been initiated by one of its committees–the Committee on Community Organization–on the basis of a decision taken at the 1950 General Assembly of the C.J.F.W.F.

More than 50 outstanding Jewish leaders from the United States and Canada are participating in this work, Stanley C. Myers, president of the Council, said. He emphasized that the survey aims to: 1. Analyze the current status and underlying principles of Jewish community organization in the United States and Canada–its purposes, scope, structure and functions; 2. Discern the direction in which the organized Jewish communities are moving; 3. Assist in strengthening community organization generally.

Stressing the far-reaching implications of the survey on Jewish community organization, Mr. Myers pointed out that events during the past decade have brought great changes in Jewish organizations, and that a major transition is currently under way. “The key role of American Jewry means that what happens to us today and tomorrow will affect not only the 4,500,000 Jews of this country, but those throughout the world,” he stated. “We need, therefore, to turn our attention to the factors which are conditioning the nature and development of Jewish communities in the United States and Canada, and will affect them in the future.

“We must turn our attention to the services maintained by local Jewish central organizations in behalf of their populations; to the machinery for providing those services; to the relationship of such programs to each other and to the goals which communities are setting for themselves. Through this study of Jewish life we can determine how best to strengthen our communal programs, how most effectively to serve the future needs of the Jewish people in the United States and Canada, and how to help build strong, vigorous, developing communities,” Mr. Myers pointed out.


The first step of the overall study, the C.J.F.W.F. president revealed, will be the gathering of all available facts on the present status of local Jewish community organizations. In addition, a technical committee of leading experts in the social sciences, community organization and research will advise on study methods and procedures. To test procedures, the Committee on Community Organization will also conduct a series of pilot studies in a number of Jewish communities.

The first report on the Committee’s progress will be delivered at the 1951 General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds to be held in Washington, D.C., December 1-4, Mr. Myers pointed out. At this time the Jewish communities will issue further directions to the study group in carrying out its objectives. Among the questions to which the C.J.F.W.F. Committee on Community Organization will seek answers, are the following:

1. What is the current status and structure of Jewish community organization?

2. What are the scope and function of the Jewish central community organization?

3. What are the responsibilities of Jewish community organization in providing specific services?

4. What is the relationship of central community organization to its beneficiary and associated agencies?

5. What is the relationship of the central agency to other local Jewish organizations?

6. What is the relationship of the central agency to the programs and policies of Jewish national organizations?

7. How do individuals and group and agency memberships fit into the structure of Jewish central organizations?

8. What are the aims and objectives of Jewish community organization?

9. What guideposts should be used to measure successful achievement of purposes by central organizations?

10. What is the extent of central authority for planning, coordination and operation?

11. What is the role of the leadership and membership in Jewish central organization?