J. D. C. Conference on Strengthening European Communities Opens in Geneva

Jewish leaders from the United States and ten European countries met here today to discuss plans for more effective organization and the strengthening of Jewish communities of Western Europe newly rebuilt in the decade since they were destroyed by the Nazis and war.

This first postwar conference on European community organization and fund-raising was called by the Joint Distribution Committee, whose director general for overseas operation, Charles Jordan, is the chairman of the four day session.

The conferees were guests today at a luncheon tendered by Dr. August R. Lindt, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Dr. Lindt hailed the role of these community and welfare officials in helping solve the refugees problem, adding: “The Jewish communities, of whom you are the distinguished representatives, know what it means to help others in distress, for many of those communities have had in the past to leave countries where they were established and start a new life elsewhere. This could only be done because they found sympathy and willingness to help among their own people. “

Other speakers at the parley included Edward M.M. Warburg, JDC chairman and honorary chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, Baron Elie de Rothschild, campaign chairman of the United Jewish Social Welfare Fund of France, and Henry L. Zucker, executive director of the Cleveland Jewish Community Federation, who delivered the keynote address. Mr. Zucker described the community organization’s goals as follows:

“A Jewish community must be built bit by bit. It must be conceived in the minds of the leaders of the community, who are convinced that Jews have problems and opportunities in common which they must work on together. These leaders must desire that Jewish life flourish; they must believe that the great religious and moral traditions of 3, 000 years have validity and meaning for Jews and for the world today; that these teachings are good for their own youth and should be transmitted to them; that Jews should live in dignity and harmony with their neighbors.

“Also, that Jewish schools and centers for social and cultural development need to be supported; that needy Jews anywhere in the world have the right to look for help to Jews in better circumstances; that Jews owe special obligations to their needy young and old, their ill and handicapped; that Jewish family life needs cultivation and strengthening, and that Jews have a responsibility to develop sensitivity among other Jews for good citizenship and active civic leadership. “

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