C. J. F. W. F. Votes to Establish Cultural Foundation, Council of Agencies
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C. J. F. W. F. Votes to Establish Cultural Foundation, Council of Agencies

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Measures to establish a national Jewish cultural foundation and a council of Jewish cultural agencies were taken here today at the concluding session of the 28th general assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds.

The four-day parley, which studied local, national and overseas problems affecting the Jewish community adopted a series of resolutions defining its position on these issues. Irving Kane of Cleveland was elected sixth president of the Council succeeding Herbert R. Abeles.

On domestic questions, the assembly voted reaffirmation of the principle of indivisibility of equal rights, lauded efforts during the past year to strengthen civil rights and called on Jewish community relations agencies and other groups "to help secure the fact as well as the principle" of equal justice and equal opportunity for all.

On the international scene, the assembly expressed concern over the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union "denied access to those facilities essential to the exercise of their rights as Jews." It expressed hope that today’s more cordial international atmosphere would be reflected in fulfillment of guarantees in the Soviet constitution of religious equality. The resolution also urged the Soviet Union to permit Jewish residents to be reunited with their families living in other lands as a "humanitarian act."

A two-part resolution on immigration endorsed World Refugee Year and called for a major effort to convince Congress to abolish the national origins quota system. It urged Congress to liberalize the basic immigration laws.


The delegates applauded United States economic aid to Israel and the Middle East and urged its continuance "to strengthen democratic institutions in that strategic and vital area, the stability of the region and the peace of the world." They called for greater emphasis in spurring private investment in Israel, as "the basic underpinning of Israel’s movement towards self-support" and stressed the urgency for such a program since Israel faces the maturing of bond issues and the termination of German reparations.

To meet the "massive and varied human needs–local, national and overseas"–the delegates urged the communities to take every possible step to organize their 1960 campaigns at the "earliest feasible time" to assure maximum fund-raising. National and local services also require added support and overseas needs will call for the fullest assistance for years to come. Under the pressures of local, national and overseas Jewish needs, the resolution urged "a deliberate and intensive budget process to assess carefully the relative urgency of requirements."

A series of resolutions dealing with communal problems and developments was also adopted by the assembly. They covered such problems as recruitment of young men and women for communal service, programs of non-institutional care for the aged, Jewish education and community relations work.

Earlier, in a session devoted to overseas needs and basic planning, Israel Ambassador Avraham Harman told the assembly that Israel faced two tasks: re-building a poor, ravaged country and transforming a refugee population into a rooted citizenry. He expressed the hope that "the turbulent period" in Israel’s brief history was finished and declared that Israel was set for "rapid progress to achieve an economic balance and a living standard to support a flourishing human civilization." He appealed for "an additional spurt forward" among American Jewry "to complete this noble humanitarian undertaking."

William Rosenwald of New York, national chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, said that 1960 "presents the United Jewish Appeal with a drama as intense and urgent as an armed conflict." He asserted that it offered a greater opportunity to be more constructive than any recent years and said that "if we make the most of these opportunities we shall provide hope for those who need rescue now, discharge our responsibility for those already rescued and clear the road for those yet to come to Israel and other free lands."

He said that World Refugee Year was an opportune occasion for "long overdue" passage of a law by Congress to abolish the national quota system in federal immigration laws. He added that "this must be the time when we tell the exclusionists that at a minimum we must have legislation permitting the entry of 20,000 persons regardless of quotas. World Refugee Year represents a magnificent opportunity to educate our people and Congress toward a system of immigration selection based on humanitarian principles and national needs."

Joseph Willen of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York told the delagations that the growing democratization of American life was reflected in the changing pole and administration of health and welfare agencies.

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