Jewish Welfare Board Opens Five-day Convention; Considers Reorganization
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Jewish Welfare Board Opens Five-day Convention; Considers Reorganization

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The National Jewish Welfare Board opened its five-day biennial convention here today to discuss recommendations to reorganize and update its services and structure so as to deal with the impact on American Jewish life of the sweeping postwar sociological changes in this country.

The recommendations are the outgrowth of a report based on a year-long study by 51 JWB leaders from all parts of the country. It will be presented at a plenary session tomorrow. The study and recommendations developed from recognition that conditions affecting JWB’s two major areas–service to Jewish community centers and camps, and religious and morale service to Jewish personnel–have undergone radical changes since 1948 when the organization made its last self-examination.

The 100th anniversary of the establishment of the nation’s Jewish military chaplaincy was marked at the opening session tonight with the participation of Major General Frank A. Tobey, Chief of Chaplains of the United States Army and chairman of the Armed Forces Chaplains Board, and Dr. Bertram W. Korn, expert on Jewish participation in the Civil War.

Dr. Korn told the opening session that the contemporary revival of Judaism in the United States in an environment “remarkably free of prejudice and resentment” toward Jews was connected with the work done by Jewish military chaplains during World War II.


Acknowledging that “many other factors” were involved, he told the convention that he was convinced “this development” could not have taken place “without the return to civilian life of hundreds of thousands of young Jewish men who gained a healthy, self-respecting, affirmative attitude towards their own Jewish identity in the midst of the terrifying experiences of war because they were served by Jewish chaplains and because Judaism had been given the highest possible status by governmental and military authority.”

General Tobey presented a citation to the JWB Commission on Jewish Chaplaincy which recruits, gives ecclesiastical endorsement to and serves Jewish chaplains in the military and Veterans Administration hospitals. The citation was presented on behalf of the Department of Defense and accepted by Solomon Litt, JWB president, on behalf of the JWB.

Another feature of the evening session was the presentation of a citation for “distinguished contributions to social welfare” to Mrs. Florence G. Heller of Glencoe, III., a JWB vice-president and philanthropist. In 1959, Mrs. Heller provided the funds which led to the establishment of the Florence Heller Graduate School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare at Brandeis University. Two years later she contributed $1,000,000 in endowment funds to the school.

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