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Jewish Leader Testifies on Housing Bias Against Jews in Philadelphia

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Testimony detailing discrimination against Jews seeking to buy or rent homes and apartments was presented today before the Committee on Law and Order of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives.

Robert K. Greenfield of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia was heard at the public hearings of the House committee held in Harrisburg to consider the administration-sponsored House bill outlawing housing discrimination because of race, religion or national origin.

While it may be less widespread than with other groups, Mr. Greenfield told the committee that the problem of discrimination against persons of the Jewish faith was “equally pernicuous.” He told of specific complaints processed by the JCRC in behalf of Jewish inhabitants of Philadelphia and its suburbs. Several of the complaints involved refusal by owners, builders and their rental agents to sell new homes to Jews in new developments on the outskirts of Philadelphia, notably near Media, Wynnewood, Drexel Hill and Cynwyd.

In several cases the rental agents of new apartment houses stated baldly by telephone that no Jews will be accepted as tenants. When approached by the representatives of the JCRC the rental agents blamed the owners of these new buildings. Two cases involved improper advertisements in Philadelphia newspapers which stated or hinted that the housing accommodations would not be sold or rented to Jews. One complaint was to the effect that a mortgage company was asking questions concerning the religion of the applicant. Still another case involved the refusal to rent an apartment within the City of Philadelphia to a professor at Temple University Medical School because he was Jewish.

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