U. J. A. Launches Its 1958 Drive; Gets $18, 400, 000 at Miami Conference
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U. J. A. Launches Its 1958 Drive; Gets $18, 400, 000 at Miami Conference

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Initial individual contributions to the United Jewish Appeal totalling $18, 400, 000 were made here today at a dinner closing the three-day inaugural UJA conference which was attended by more than 1, 500 community leaders from all parts of the country, and at which the 1958 UJA national drive was launched

Principal speaker at the dinner, Brig. Gen. Dan Tolkowsky, commander of the Israel Air Force, told the conference that the alignment of Egypt and Syria in the United Arab Republic under Col. Gamal Nasser has produced new stresses and difficulties for Israel’s people.

“No one knows,” Gen. Tolkowsky commented, “what the political combination of Egypt and Syria holds in store for the Middle East and the rest of the world. But Israel’s people know full well that they must tighten their belts another notch to continue the building of a free and democratic nation and to prepare for whatever contingencies may lie ahead.”

This new development, he said, makes it more imperative than ever for American Jews to take over financial responsibility for the humanitarian work of caring for the hundreds of thousands of uprooted Jews who were given haven in Israel in recent years. “Under such circumstances, the gigantic task of giving an adequate start in life to the scores of thousands of immigrants is far outpacing our means. This is the task that we are confident will be met in greatest possible measure by the conscience and conscientiousness of the United Jewish Appeal supporters.”


Morris W. Berinstein, UJA general chairman, who presided, hailed “this out-pouring of magnificent gifts” to launch this year’s nationwide campaign on behalf of immigrants to Israel, distressed and dependent Jews in Europe and Moslem lands and newcomers to the United States.

“Your action proves that there is no recession in your support of those who desperately need your help,” Mr. Berinstein declared. “And as many of you are business leaders in your home communities your response shows that you have confidence that the American economy is heading for a renewed upsurge. All UJA supporters now will be inspired to follow the high standard of giving you have set here tonight.”

Highlight of the dinner was a tribute to William Rosenwald of New York, a founder of the UJA, who has been a foremost leader of all its annual drives since its first, in 1939, and who served as UJA general chairman for the three campaigns of 1955 through 1957. Joseph H. Mazer of New York, chairman of the 1958 UJA Rescue Fund, made the presentation to Mr. Rosenwald of an illuminated Hebrew volume of the Book of Esther, bearing an inscription acknowledging “the brilliant leadership he provided the United Jewish Appeal and of the heart, soul and high sense of dedication he brought to this great cause.”

In response to the presentation, Mr. Rosenwald declared: “It is particularly appropriate that you should have selected the Book of Esther. Through the ages, Jewish communities threatened with danger have had to be saved. It was true in the days of Esther, and it is true in what we of the United Jewish Appeal are doing today. Since the Hitler holocaust in which more than 6, 000, 000 Jews were mercilessly slaughtered, we feel that each Jewish life is more precious than it was before. We give expression to that feeling when we save Jews in Egypt and other North African countries and when we take Jews out of other areas of fear of hopelessness. Most of the people whom we rescued went to Israel. And, thank God, there is an Israel. For in the days of Hitler there was no such haven.”


Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, UJA executive vice chairman, called for “a greater than ever response from American Jews during 1958 to start tens of thousands of Jews on the way to freedom and to bring hundreds of thousands already started on a new life, the rest of the way to freedom.” He outlined the following ten-point global aid program that must be financed by the UJA this year:

1. Enable tens of thousands of Jews who wish to leave Europe to reach Israel and resettle them there; 2. Transport additional thousands from Moslem lands; 3. Transport and resettle another 12, 000 in the U.S., British Commonwealth and Latin America; 4. Provide emergency relief and essential services to 10, 000 Jewish returnees to Poland from the Soviet Union who arrived last year, and additional thousands of repatriates expected in Poland in 1958; 5. Speed the absorption of some 370, 000 earlier immigrants to Israel in the area of housing. At least 100, 000 living in the transit villages, where immigrant families are crowded into one-room huts.

6. Meet Israel’s “backlog of unmet needs” for previous arrivals in terms of employment rehabilitation and medical care; 7. Provide for 7, 000 aged, chronically ill and handicapped among Israel’s newcomers through the Joint Distribution Committee’s Malben program, which operates with UJA funds; 8. Provide welfare and technical training for 100, 000 Jews in Moslem countries; 9. Continue the life-saving program for 30, 000 distressed and dependent Jews in Western Europe; 10. Provide adjustment assistance for 5, 000 immigrants expected in the U.S. this year mainly in the New York area.

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