GENEVA (Oct. 25)
Establishment of a Joint Distribution Committee-ORT program in India early this year raised to 26 the number of countries in which such Joint services are available, it was reported today at the 16th annual overseas conference of the JDC here.
Sessions today were devoted to reports by directors of JDC operations throughout the world on the welfare, education and social programs in each country and the requirements for the coming year. A JDC budget will be prepared on the basis of these reports and presented to the annual JDC meeting in New York in December for final action and presentation to the United Jewish Appeal.
The 200 Jewish leaders from 26 countries were told that the new JDC-ORT program in India was centered mainly in Bombay which has an estimated Jewish population of 20,000. Ninety percent of the Bombay Jews are of local origin with the rest of Iraqi origin, according to Robin Gilbert, the JDC-ORT representative in India. Mr. Gilbert said that the program was organized at the request of leading Bombay Jews because the Jewish community has found itself unable to meet the welfare problems created by a growing impoverishment of large sections of the Jewish population.
The program, which concentrates on children and youth, consists mainly of setting up feeding and clothing efforts and supporting orphans. Parallel to the JDC program will be an ORT vocational training service. Aid also is being provided to the small Jewish community in Delhi where a study is being made of other Jewish communities throughout India.
It was emphasized that the JDC was not setting up new institutions but instead that it was operating through existing community institutions in the Indian Jewish centers and introducing new services with the help of Jewish community councils.