NEW YORK (Dec. 11)
The three-day annual national conference of the United Jewish Appeal concluded here today with the adoption of a fixed goal of $72,740,000 for the UJA drive in 1961, and the unanimous election of Philip M. Klutzrick as UJA general chairman. More than 1,500 delegates from all parts of the country attended the conference.
The $72,740,000 goal set by the conference exceeds by about $10,000,000 the amount which the UJA expects to receive by the end of this year. In setting it, the delegates to the meeting departed from recent UJA practice in which communities were presented with the budgetary needs of the member agencies and asked to raise as much as possible to ward the combined sum. In 1961, proportionate communal quotas will be established.
The delegates, who represented Jewish communities across the nation, accepted the fixed goal after UJA leaders had stressed that the $72,740,000 represented the “irreducible amount” needed by the UJA-financed agencies next year. The beneficiaries are the United Israel Appeal the Joint Distribution Committee, the New York Association for New Americans and United HIAS Service.
“The United Jewish Appeal has been and remains,” Mr. Klutznick said in his acceptance address, “the supreme communal activity in American Jewish life. This stems from the simple fact that UJA’s purpose is the same today as it was yesterday, to save and build the lives of our fellow Jews who are not as fortunately placed as we are. This sacred obligation of ours continues to be urgent,
“All over America,” he added, “people have recognized that we are entering a period in which we must apply new wisdom and new energy to old and new problems alike. This is no less true in Jewish communal life.” He called upon American Jews to raise at least $10,000,000 more for UJA in 1961 than in 1960. “Imaginative and vigorous new ways must be found to help us realize our goal,” he said.
He proposed as a first step in this effort “that we inaugurate a broad ‘Leader-to ‘Leader’ program to gain this end. I visualize that, under such a program, we would call upon the men who have been the backbone and the pride of the United Jewish Appeal effort in their home communities over many years, to bring the inspiration of their devotion and their know-how to the leaders of other communities.”
ISRAEL CABINET MEMBER PRAISES U.S. JEWS FOR THEIR AID
Mr. Klutznick succeeds Morris W. Berinstein, of Syracuse, N. Y., who served as UJA general chairman for three terms and headed campaigns which raised a three-year total of $192,000,000. Mr. Berinstein, who was elected UJA honorary chairman, reviewed last night the accomplishments of the UJA both in 1960, and for the full 22 years of its existence. He was presiding at the annual UJA national dinner-meeting, at which Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York was the principal speaker.
Governor Rockefeller emphasized in his address that the aid given by the UJA to Israel strengthens the cause of peace and democracy. “The progress of Israel goes hand in hand with the progress of democracy, with the advance of the cause of peace and freedom,” he said. Praising the UJA’s aid to Israel’s immigrants as in America’s interest, the Governor said that “as we contribute to the strength of Israel, so do we contribute to the strength of the free world.”
High praise for the role that American Jews have played through the UJA in making possible the unparalleled immigration to Israel also was expressed by a member of Israel’s Cabinet, Pinhas M. Sapir, Minister of Commerce and Industry. Addressing the 1, 500 delegates, Mr. Sapir characterized the UJA as a “great enterprise which, in the space of 12 years, has enabled nearly a million Jews to migrate from conditions of despair and degradation to conditions of freedom, equality and hope.”
Israel Ambassador Avraham Harman told the delegates that, although economic conditions in Israel are improving steadily, the country still needs the millions of dollars donated through the United Jewish Appeal to settle new immigrants. The Ambassador said that, in the last three years, 20,000 to 30,000 new immigrants had been taken into Israel each year and “converted into self-supporting taxpayers.” It was hoped to raise this number to 40,000 a year, he added.
Dr. Dov Joseph, treasurer of the Jewish Agency for Israel in Jerusalem, told the delegates that the still large number of unabsorbed immigrants in Israel stems directly
from the fact that the funds received from American Jews since 1948 have fallen far short of the Jewish Agency’s actual requirements. “Since October, 1948, we have received about $500,000,000 from the United Jewish Appeal,” Dr. Joseph said, “This is a magnificent sum by any philanthropic standard, and a high tribute to the generosity and dedication of American Jews. Yet this sum has covered only about 50 percent of what should have been expended.”
ROSENWALD, STONE, FRIEDMAN STRESS DUTY OF AMERICAN JEWS
Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, executive vice-chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, said that Israel’s amazing achievements in her first 12 years are obscuring the fact that a third of the nearly 1,000,000 newcomers there “are in desperate need of aid to become fully absorbed citizens.” He emphasized that the complete solution of the immigrant aid problem is far beyond the capacity of Israel’s own resources, and urged American Jewry to play its part in helping the 320,000 unabsorbed immigrants still in need of assistance.
United Jewish Appeal national chairman William Rosenwald, commenting on the sacrifices made by Israel’s people in their unfailing acceptance of all Jews who sought haven to their country, said that the heavy economic burden must be taken up by American Jews. “Let us be clear in our own minds,” Mr. Rosenwald declared, “that we, in America, have just as much responsibility toward the newcomers to Israel as do the heroic people of Israel themselves.”
Dewey D. Stone, UJA national chairman representing the United Israel Appeal, told the delegates that the 1961 goal of $72,740,000 represents for the first time the recommendation exclusively of American bodies. This development is the result of the reorganization earlier this year of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc. Its 21-man board of directors, of which Mr. Stone is the chairman, determines the use of American dollars–remitted through the United Israel Appeal to the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem–for those immigrant absorption programs in Israel which are felt to be the particular responsibility of American Jews.
Joseph Meyerhoff, of Baltimore, national chairman of the UJA, told the conference that acceptance of local community quotas to help meet a fixed minimal nationwide goal in 1961 was a prerequisite for a successful campaign. Mr. Meyerhoff spoke at a session in which other national UJA officers besides him and Mr. Rosenwald discussed UJA problems and needs. They were: Samuel H. Daroff, of Philadelphia; Fred Forman, of Rochester, N.Y.; Albert A. Levin, of Cleveland; and Jack D. Weiler of New York.
Mr. Berinstein, besides being named UJA honorary chairman, was honored for his three years of service as general chairman at a special ceremony today. He received a filigreed silver megillah, containing a parchment scroll inscribed with the Biblical story of Esther. Edward M. M. Warburg, who was re-elected UJA honorary chairman, made the presentation. Special honors were also bestowed upon Mrs. Jack A Goodman, of Minneapolis, retiring chairman of the women’s division; and Isadore Breslau, of Washington, UJA allocations chairman.