U.J.A. National Conference to Vote $95, 000, 000 Today for 1962 Needs
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U.J.A. National Conference to Vote $95, 000, 000 Today for 1962 Needs

American Jews raised $60, 000, 000 in 1961 for the United Jewish Appeal to aid Israel’s immigrants and needy Jews overseas; they were asked today to contribute $95, 000, 000 in 1962 in view of the emergency situations which have arisen for Jews in various countries and the increased immigration to Israel and other lands.

“Thousands of lives depend upon our raising $35,000,000 next year over and above the $60, 000, 000 raised this year,” Joseph Meyerhoff, UJA general chairman, told 1,500 leaders of Jewish communities from all parts of the country at the opening session today of the three-day Annual National Conference of the United Jewish Appeal. “The increased pace of Jewish immigration to Israel and other countries, including the United States, makes this increased amount for 1962 imperative.”

The UJA general chairman proposed that the additional $35, 000, 000 be raised through a “Special Fund,” to which contributors could make substantial gifts in addition to their regular contributions. “I am convinced,” Mr. Meyerhoff said, “that hundreds of thousands of our contributors are ready to make these extra gifts because they know we cannot tell people who can emigrate today to wait till tomorrow. Tomorrow may be too late.”

The Conference will vote at tomorrow’s session whether to adopt the Special Fund. It will also elect officers, call for pledges of initial large gifts, and hear from United States Secretary of Labor Arthur J. Goldberg, Israel Minister of Development and Housing Dr. Giora Josephthal and Israel Ambassador to the United States, Avraham Harman.


Today’s session of the Conference also heard Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, UJA executive vice-chairman, and other UJA leaders tell how the $95, 000, 000 sought for 1962 would provide desperately needed migration aid, relief and rehabilitation for 600, 000 Jewish men, women and children in Israel, this country, and 26 overseas lands.

“Jews are on the move again in numbers that remind one of the peak years of immigration into Israel,” Rabbi Friedman told the gathering. “The increase in movement, which applies to other countries as well as Israel, began last spring and has placed a crushing financial burden on UJA’s beneficiary bodies.”

Rabbi Friedman noted that of the $95, 000, 000, if raised, an amount of $68, 200, 000 would go to Israel’s immigrant aid body, the Jewish Agency for Israel, through the United Israel Appeal, UJA’s principal beneficiary. The Jewish Agency must transport, receive, help to house and absorb some 265, 000 persons next year.

The UJA executive vice-chairman pointed out that the Joint Distribution Committee, a second major UJA beneficiary, needed $22, 000, 000 from the Appeal in behalf of 325, 000 in need, in 27 overseas countries. Of these, some 70,000 are immigrants already in Israel, most of them aged and handicapped persons. Lesser amounts would be required by UJA’s two remaining beneficiaries, the New York Association for New Americans and the United Hias Service, Rabbi Friedman noted. Together the two agencies would serve 10, 000 Jewish refugees already in the United States, or expected in 1962.


The delegates today also heard Aryeh L. Pincus, treasurer of the Jewish Agency for Israel, declare that Israel’s people welcome the newcomers, and will keep their gates open to them, no matter what cost. “But in all fairness,” the Jewish Agency leader added, “immigration represents a responsibility which rests equally upon the people of Israel and the Jews of the free world. In actual fact, however, it can be stated that Israel’s people, through taxes and through voluntary contributions have furnished two dollars to every dollar from outside sources to make possible the entry of the million immigrants who have come to Israel since 1948.”

More than half of the proposed $68,200,000 which would go to the Jewish Agency from UJA in 1962, a sum of $39, 200, 000, would be devoted to the transportation and settling of new immigrants, Mr. Pincus disclosed. The amount would be spent for transportation, initial absorption and housing. At the same time, Mr. Pincus noted, a present lack of funds for initial absorption is causing great hardship for current newcomers to Israel.


Moses A. Leavitt, executive vice-chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, in presenting the needs behind his organization’s budget for 1962, declared that Jewish communities, in European countries are facing “almost impossible” problems in attempting to cope with the flood of refugees. “In 1962,” he said, “we must not be forced to curtail services, as we had to this year, when it became necessary to take a portion of the funds from the less needy and divide it among the neediest.”

Increased migration, both within Europe and in Israel, Mr. Leavitt indicated, has severely strained the capacity of JDC programs to cope with needs in both areas. “In Europe,” he stated, “most of the refugees are without means and have to be given cash even for local transportation. Housing is a particularly crucial problem for them. In some cases, they have to be crowded into shabby little hotels, six or more to a room.”

In Israel, he indicated, support must be maintained for the services of JDC’s Mal-ben program for the care of aged, ill and handicapped immigrants during 1962. The largest single item is for aid to over 100,000 Jews in Moslem countries, $6,200,000. Almost $5, 000, 000 will be spent on aid in European countries.


At a panel discussion which followed the presentations by Mr. Pincus and Mr. Leavitt, executives of the three recipient agencies of UJA funds offered further details of their organizations’ activities and future needs.

Gottlieb Hammer, executive vice-chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc., reported that 135, 000 immigrant farmers, living on 480 settlements established by the Agency, require further economic assistance before they can attain financial independence. Dr. Isador Lubin, noted American economist and consultant for the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc., reported that Israel was experiencing an acute housing shortage in view of the increased rate of immigration.

Charles H. Jordan, overseas director-general of the JDC, asserted that the $30, 685, 750 1962 budget, of which the UJA is expected to supply $22, 000, 000, is “required to meet the basic needs of 110, 000 men, women and children in Moslem countries, of 50, 000 in 15 countries in Europe, of more than 70,000 in Israel and tens of thousands in other areas.”

Philip Soskis, executive director of the third UJA member agency, the New York Association for New Americans, said that 9,000 Jewish immigrants arrived in the U.S. during 1961, which was “several thousand more than had been expected and budgeted for.” He felt that a similar number would arrive next year, for which a budget of $895, 000 would be needed.

James P. Rice, executive director of United Hias Service, which also benefits from UJA campaigning, said UHS would require $2, 940, 000, not all of it to come from UJA, to assist some 6,575 persons to resettle in the United States, Canada, Latin America and Australia. The unexpected jump in Jewish migration this year has created a $450, 000 deficit for his agency, he said.

William Rosenwald, UJA national chairman, who presided at the morning session of today’s conference, declared that the increased immigration of Jews to Israel and other lands, “could be regarded as a stroke of good fortune. All of us wish to see it continue, which means that we must devise the most effective means of financing this historic undertaking.”

Max M. Fisher of Detroit, UJA national chairman, who presided at the afternoon session, informed the delegates that the proposal to create a $35, 000, 000 Special Fund had been carefully examined by UJA officers before being presented to the Conference. “We found that the needs of the three consultant UJA agencies were very real and their budget requests absolute minimums,” he said. “There is no alternative to the Special Fund if we really wish to see the task effectively and successfully accomplished.”

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