NEW YORK (Oct. 28)
Plans for expanding program services for teenagers and young adults in Jewish centers, as well as religious and welfare activities for Jewish military personnel at 68 overseas areas, were adopted here today at the conclusion of a four-day session of the National Jewish Welfare Board. More than 250 community leaders in all phases of JWV work participated in the sessions.
A 1957 budget totalling $2,275,000 was adopted at the parley. The JWV is serving 352 Jewish Community Centers which have a membership of 565,000, and meeting the religious and welfare needs of 150,000 Jews in the U.S. armed forces and Veterans Administration hospitals.
The JWB decided at its session last night to solve the critical shortage of trained professional workers in the Jewish Community Center field by launching an intensified recruitment program. The decision was taken after hearing that there are 200 vacancies in 350 Centers affiliated with the National Jewish Welfare Board.
CRITICAL SHORTAGE OF JEWISH CENTER PERSONNEL DISCUSSED
The critical shortage of trained professional Center workers required by Centers and the recruiting program to deal with this problem were described by Joseph Goldstein of Rochester, N.Y. In the absence of qualified personnel some Centers are beginning to engage untrained people, thus threatening the integrity of both old and new Center programs, Mr. Goldstein disclosed. He also said that for the first time there has developed a serious shortage of experienced professional workers for supervisory positions as well as a need for trained specialists in the arts, pre-school programs and health and physical education.
The growing gap between the constantly rising requirements of the Jewish Community Center fields for JWB service and JWB’s capacity to meet these needs was underscored by Mrs. Florence Heller of Chicago, chairman of the JWB’s Jewish Community Center Division. While the annual expenditures of all local Centers rose 45 percent from 1949 to 1955 and the number of professional workers employed by Centers climbed 48 percent during the same period, the budget of the Jewish Community Center Division decreased 30 percent and its staff was curtailed from 38 to 22, she pointed out.
As evidence of what has been happening in the Center field, which depends on JWB for day-to-day assistance in all fields of programming, staffing, administration and organization, Mrs. Heller said: total Center budgets have reached $16,314,000, Center professional staffs number 1,350 full-time workers; 285 Centers own their own buildings; 107 Centers have either completed or are now engaged in new construction programs; Centers operate 117 summer resident camps, 203 summer day camps and 115 nursery schools; more than 10,000 people serve on Center boards and committee.
Rabbi Joseph Lookstein reported that the Department of Defense is “calling more and more upon the JWB chaplaincy service to care for the special morale needs of men not in combat and therefore with more leisure and more problems.” There are now 101 Jewish chaplains on full-time duty and by the end of 1957 there will be 115, in addition to the 272 who serve as part-time chaplains, Rabbi Lookstein reported.