MIAMI BEACH (Feb. 7)
The nationwide 1960 United Jewish Appeal was officially launched today as 500 American Jewish leaders meeting here contributed or reported large initial gifts that totaled $12,130,000.
The gift-giving took place at the closing session of a three-day national inaugural conference at the Fontainebleau Hotel. The more than $12,000,000 received represents one of the UJA’s earliest and most successful starts.
Morris W. Berinstein, general chairman of the UJA, which now gets underway in 3,500 communities across the nation, announced that today’s total of starting gifs is 11 percent greater than the amount the appeal received by this time a year ago. He termed today’s outpouring of initial gifts “an inspiring indication that American Jews mean to complete the job of integrating all of the million refugees they have helped to reach Israel.
A plea to help Israel’s people step up the absorption of immigrants was made today by Avraham Harman, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States. At the same time he told the 500 Jewish leaders present that funds raised over the years by UJA have helped to make possible “the amplest and most successful refugee absorption program in Jewish history.”
The Israel Ambassador told his audience that one factor that had contributed to the slow absorption of thousands of Immigrants was Israel’s “open door” immigration policy for Jewish refugees. He explained: “The number of health and social problems among immigrants to Israel has been unusually large as a result.” Also of great concern. Mr. Harman said, is the need to provide decent, modest housing for some 90,000 new comers, 60,000 of them in immigrant shanty towns.
Today’s gifts were announced by individual donors or reported by community representatives who gave the results of preliminary meetings in their cities. An outstanding gift of $250,000 toward the 1960 UJA special fund was made at today’s meeting by Mrs. Moses L. Annenberg, of New York. The gift was announced at the request of her son, Walter Annenberg, Philadelphia publisher. Mrs. Annenberg’s gift continued a long tradition of support for United Jewish Appeal by members of the Annenberg family.
The 1960 United Jewish Appeal is a two-fold multi-million dollar campaign, whose aim is to exceed by many millions of dollars the $69,300,000 in cash funds raised in its 1959 effort, In addition to giving to the regular campaign, contributors are being asked to contribute to a special fund both to speed the lagging process of immigrant absorption in Israel, and to care for immigrants expected in 1960.
Former Senator Herbert H. Lebmas, in a message to the communal leaders attending the UJA conference, asked American Jews not to let their success in aiding and rescuing 2,700,000 oppressed and threatened Jews in the past generation “obscure the fact that thousands of our people are still suffering degradation, misery and discrimination.”
Mr. Leharan said he would take an active day-to-day leadership role in the UJA campaign, in order together with a number of other New Yorkers to “dramatize our view of the seriousness of the problem.” Some of the other New York Jewish leaders who will participate as active workers include Edwin Rosenberg, Edward M. M. Warburg, Barney Balaban, Samuel Rubin and Monroe Goldwater. With Mr. Rosenberg, Mr. Lehman will be chairman of the New York UJA person-to-person gift solicitation effort.
In his message, Mr. Lehman said: “I have accepted a major responsibility in the 1960 campaign because I believe that this is a decisive year for the UJA. For more than 50 years the cause which the UJA represents has been close to my heart and I have determined this year I will do all I can to advance it.”
U.J.A. RAISED $1,132,000,000 IN TWO DECADES, MEYERHOFF REPORTS
Reporting on the UJA’s accomplishments since its first campaign in 1939, Mr. Joseph Meyerhoff of Baltimore, a national UJA chairman, said that in the two decades of 1939 to 1959, the UJA raised and distributed through its beneficiary agencies $1,132,000,000. He said that of even greater importance was the fact that during that 20-year period more than 2,700,000 men, women and children benefited from UJA-financed campaigns.
He said a total of 1,369,000 persons were permanently resettled in free countries throughout the world and that these included 1,044,000 settled in Palestine-Israel. The remainder of some 325,000 were reestablished in the United States, British dominions Latin America and elsewhere.
The delegates also approved action to increase participation of lay leaders in the 1960 campaign in 3,500 communities throughout the nation. These steps included completion of the 66-man campaign cabinet headed by Melvin Dubinsky of St. Louis. The Cabinet and the UJA officers will guide the 1960 campaign.
Another was a decision to hold a series of large-scale leadership institutes to examine ways to bring the 1960 campaign to the public. A midwest institute will be held in Chicago, February 12-14 and a far west institute at Palm Springs, California the following weekend.
Rabid Herbert A. Friedman, executive vice-chairman, told the conference that intensified support of this year’s UJA drive is needed not only for the absorption of earlier immigrants to Israel, but also for aid to the newcomers expected to enter Israel. Last year, the UJA raised $69,300,000 to meet worldwide Jewish needs, with emphasis on aid for immigrants in Israel.
(A resolution calling upon all their affiliated groups, including almost 1,000,000 members, to mobilize their efforts behind this year’s United Jewish Appeal campaign, was adopted in New York today at a conference held by 500 leaders of Jewish mass organizations.)