Virginia Jews Discuss Coordination with National Jewish Organizations
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Virginia Jews Discuss Coordination with National Jewish Organizations

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The charge that national Jewish leadership lacks understanding of local Jewish problems in Virginia in connection with the school segregation issue was voiced here today, revealing that discussions on this subject are now taking place between representatives of the national organizations and local Virginia Jewish leaders.

Professional staff members of one national Jewish group met with Jewish community leaders of 10 Virginia cities to discuss the impact of the school integration crisis on the Jewish population in the state, it was learned here today. At the same time, it was also learned that all regional activities connected with the desegregation issue conducted by another national Jewish organization must from now on receive prior approval from the local leaders of that organization in Virginia.

Asserting that the Virginia Jews are acting to ensure their own safety, it was decided that the Virginia program of the regional office here of a leading national Jewish organization is to be examined for approval by leaders of that organization in Richmond. The same applies also to civil rights pamphlets and materials distributed by the regional office.


Generally, a better understanding of national and state views on the Jewish role in the desegregation crisis emerged from mutually beneficial meetings held in both New York and Richmond. One Virginia leader said he thought national professional staff workers now more fully understood the “perilous position of Jews in Virginia and the need for prudence.” He said Virginia Jewry benefitted from the exchanges by a realization that they could not legitimately insist on national groups’ silence on desegregation provided statements are made outside the South.

Within Virginia views have been exchanged by Jewish community leaders of various cities and towns on techniques of combatting segregationist anti-Semitism. Indications of boycott of Jewish merchants came from various parts of the state.

It appeared that in some way segregationists obtained names of Jewish businessmen who responded in years past when asked by Negro customers for donations to the NAACP. In Danville, a Jewish merchant was confronted and condemned by a customer known to be a member of the state-wide segregationist front “The Defenders of State Sovereignty.” The segregationist had obtained information that the merchant gave a small contribution to the NAACP several years ago.

Norfolk Jews were reported studying a plan for Jewish children to receive temporary instruction through a pooling of facilities of synagogues and temples. Junior and senior high schools in Norfolk were closed last month by Gov. Almond to prevent Negroes from attending. Several hundred Jewish youngsters are among the many thousands of Norfolk children affected.

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