J. W. B. Convention Urges Development of Jewish Communal Leadership

The four-day biennial convention of the National Jewish Welfare Board closed here today with the re-election of Charles Aaron of Chicago as president.

Addressing the convention banquet last night, Mr. Aaron outlined a practical program for the development of American Jewish communal leadership which would cooperate with the other forces in the American community. “We need to show a greater readiness to experiment, to test, to venture,” Mr. Aaron said. “We should demonstrate a broader capacity for looking beyond organizational vested interests and seeing the totality of American Jewish life.”

Leaders must be concerned with finding or producing their successors through systematic training programs, he asserted, and warned that “as we relieve older leaders of major responsibilities, we should be wise enough not to lose their experience and know how. “We need to translate our professions of democracy into our practice of leadership selection, promotion and honors,” he continued. He called for “prompt consideration” to the need for giving greater leadership responsibilities to women and to young people.

“We must have leaders who know and are ever active in the general community, who work closely with their non-Jewish neighbors and fellow citizens in accomplishing the finest results for the general community, and who integrate the work of our American Jewish institutions into the general community, for the greater benefit of both.” He asked for leaders with a greater familiarity with the Jewish past and with roots deep in Jewish religious and cultural traditions, stressed the work of trained professionals in Jewish communal service work and urged closer cooperation between the national and local Jewish organizations.

The convention concluded with the adoption of a resolution expressing confidence that the U.S. Government, “whose friendship for Israel has facilitated its remarkable economic, welfare and cultural achievements,” will “use every means within its power to prevent the imminent threat to the security and existence of Israel and to bring peace into the Middle East.” The convention extended its warmest greetings to the State of Israel on its forthcoming eighth anniversary.

The convention urged “the revision of the McCarran-Walter Act to eliminate its discriminatory and inequitable provisions which are contrary to the best interests of America and its finest traditions.” In another resolution JWB voted support of the United Nations as “man’s best hope for peace,” expressed “the earnest wish for the fulfillment of its goals and objective,” and pledged the organization to continued support of and cooperation with UNESCO.

Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt was presented with a citation at the banquet for “her outstanding work in promoting world peace through the United Nations. The 1956 Frank L. Weil Awards were presented to Jack Nadel, executive director of the 92nd St. YM-YWHA in New York for his contributions to the Jewish community center movement; to Ernest Bloch, composer, for contributions to the development of American Jewish culture, and to Joseph F. Barr, a past commander of the Jewish War Veterans, for contributions to the welfare of Jewish personnel in the U.S. armed forces.

NEXT STORY