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Jewish Philanthropic Work in U.S. Affected by Inflationary Trend

The inflationary trend of rising prices in the United States is posing a serious problem to the philanthropic efforts of Jewish communities in meeting their responsibilities in Israel, overseas, nationally and at home. Harold Glasser, director of the Institute on Overseas Studies of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, declared here at the 17th annual Assembly of the Council’s East Central Region.

Quite apart from the additional support required for serious unmet needs, unless there is at least an increase in contributions to 1952 local welfare fund campaigns corresponding with inflationary rises, Mr. Glasser informed 200 delegates representing Jewish communities in six states and central Canada, many vital services would have to be curtailed. “Mere maintenance of the 1951 level of fund raising would reduce sharply the scope of philanthropic programs in local communities and overseas,” he declared.

Turning to the overseas scene, Mr. Glasser pointed out that Israel has the cape-city to solve its present-day economic problems. “An analysis of Israel’s economic structure proves conclusively that the country has the full potential to achieve a decent standard of living for its present population and for an even larger citizenry in the future,” he stressed. In this connection, he emphasized, American philanthropy has been assigned the task of meeting Israel’s most import need–development of the country’s large-scale agricultural program. “Israel will be successful economically only if its agricultural program is a success.” he stated.

Reporting on community experiences last year in behalf of Israel’s Four Point Program, Julian Freeman, C.J.F.W.F. president, pointed out that outstanding welfare fund and bond campaigns were made possible by local coordination and planning. “The results achieved in 1951 by the welfare funds and by the Israel bond sales would have been impossible without coordination of the two efforts–developed city by city in the light of their local circumstances,” he declared.

“However, the situation is obviously different from what it was a year ago, when the Bond Drive was just being projected. Experience has shown that in the best interests of both the welfare funds and the Bond Drive these coordinating procedures on clearing campaign schedules to avoid mutually harmful competition, on use of manpower, and in other respects should again be worked out equitably and precisely, and with full mutual understanding and agreement–in advance.”

IMPORTANT ROLE OF JEWISH FEDERATIONS DEPICTED BY LURIE

The important role which the Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds are playing in American Jewish life was depicted at the Assembly by Harry H. Lurie, C.J.F.W.F executive director. “These central organizations, representing all shades of opinion, are second only to our religious institutions in giving form and substance to our existence as American Jewish communities,” he stated.

“In view of increasing demands for philanthropy upon the organized Jewish communities, these groups now have the added responsibility to undertake continuous self-examination of their programs, and to recruit and develop adequate communal leadership to carry out these essential services,” Mr. Lurie declared.

Local welfare fund campaigns should exceed last year’s results, Eugene Goodman of Cleveland, predicted. He said that the record prosperity enjoyed by the United States should redound to the advantage of community campaigns. Other high spots of the conference included workshop sessions on Jewish education, community relations, care of the aged and participation of women in Jewish communal service. Judge Maurice Bernon of Cleveland, was elected 1952 president of the East Central Region, succeeding Stanley J. Kann of Pittsburgh.

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