PARIS (Oct. 22)
Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, executive vice-president of the United Jewish Appeal, told the twelfth annual conference of country directors of the Joint Distribution Committee here today that Jews throughout the world hailed reactivation of the JDC program in Poland. The conference had been told yesterday that the JDC would resume operations in Poland in November with a child feeding program.
“One great area of the world which has been closed to us up to now appears to be opening.” Rabbi Friedman said. “With bated breath and with many prayers, we waited and hoped for the time when we would be able to get behind the Iron Curtain. The time now seems to have come. Two enormous possibilities He ahead–the rescue and rehabilitation of the great reservoir of Jews in that part of the world and their transfer, in as large numbers as is humanly possible, to Israel. These two historic possibilities are now ours as we begin the third decade of the United Jewish Appeal.”
The 1958 UJA campaign, Rabbi Friedman noted, would be the organization’s twentieth. He said that in the 19 years of its existence, UJA had raised more than one billion dollars for the welfare and resettlement programs of the JDC and the Jewish Agency.
Moses W. Leavitt, executive vice-chairman of the JDC, reported to the conference that JDC activities had greatly increased on the South American continent last year. He said this was due. primarily, to the arrival of more than 3,300 immigrants, most of them from Hungary and Egypt. Of the total, 2,376 went to Brazil, he said. Absorption of these refugees, he declared, posed a serious challenge to local Jewish leadership, particularly in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil and Santiago de Chile, the centers in which the largest number of refugees settled.
Herbert K. Katzki, assistant director-general of the JDC, told the conference there were about 200,000 Jews in Morocco. The past year, he said, had witnessed a considerable “internal immigration” of Jews from hill villages to small towns and from the small towns to the larger cities. This, he pointed out, made great difficulties for the JDC program. He described the population shift as due to the drying up of economic possibilities in the smaller communities and hopes of better prospects in the larger centers.
Lack of Jewish leadership due to the large-scale Jewish emigration of past years was a further problem in Morocco, he noted.