PHILADELPHIA (Nov. 18)
The 31st General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds concluded here today with an announcement by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith that it had decided to open negotiations for rejoining the National Community Relations Advisory Council. The NCRAC is the coordinating body of six national organizations and numerous local community councils active in the work of combating anti-Semitism and defending civil rights.
The ADL and the American Jewish Committee had quit the NCRAC 10 years ago in disagreement over recommendations by Professor Robert Maclver, of Columbia University, who reviewed the functions of Jewish groups active in the field of civil rights. The study by Prof. Maclver was sponsored by the NCRAC.
Today’s announcement on the possible rejoining of the NCRAC by the ADL was made from the floor of the Assembly by Label A. Katz, B’nai B’rith national president, on his own behalf and on behalf of Henry Schultz, ADL chairman. Mr. Katz also announced that the ADL agreed to open discussions on the possibility of its participation in the Large City Budgeting Conference for joint budget review.
The announcement was applauded by all Assembly delegates. It was welcomed from the floor by Lewis H. Weinstein, of Boston, NCRAC chairman, who expressed hope that the American Jewish Committee would similarly agree to negotiations on rejoining the NCRAC. Today’s move by the ADL is a result of energetic efforts made during the last few years by Alan V. Lowenstein of Newark, chairman of a CJFWF subcommittee on coordination of Jewish community relations.
Mr. Lowenstein similarly expressed from the floor the hope that the American Jewish Committee may also explore the possibility of returning to the ranks of the NCRAC. He emphasized, however, that this is “only a hope, not an assurance.” He reported on his negotiations with the ADL and AJC. He said that, after the two organizations had decided to terminate their joint fund-raising activities at the end of the year, he began to explore with the ADL whether it would meet with the NCRAC leaders directly to consider relationships.
RESOLUTIONS STRESS NEED FOR COOPERATION; REAFFIRM CHURCH-STATE SEPARATION
The Assembly adopted a resolution expressing hope that discussions currently under way by the CJFWF with the agencies active in the field of Jewish community relations for co-operation may lead to a successful outcome within 1963.
“Events of grave national concern continue to add to the urgency of the need for co-operation by all Jewish agencies in the field of Jewish community relations,” the resolution said. “These events make it necessary to extend beyond the coordination of the work of six national and 62 local and regional agencies achieved through the NCRAC, and to involve the American Jewish Committee and the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League. We reaffirm the call for the extension of cooperation, and place utmost importance upon the discussions currently under way by the CJFWF with the agencies for this purpose,” the resolution said.
The Assembly also adopted a resolution affirming “its wholehearted support” of the principle of separation of church and state. Pointing out that “this beneficent doctrine has guaranteed religious freedom from all, and has served as a boon to religion,” the resolution said: “We are profoundly convinced that governmental aid to religiously controlled schools–Protestant, Catholic or Jewish–whether in the form of long-term, low interest loans or outright subsidies, would do a grave disservice to both religious and public education, and would violate the American tradition of separation of church and state.”
INTENSIFIED AID TO ISRAEL PLEDGED; U.J.A. ACHIEVEMENTS ARE LAUDED
Other resolutions, pledging intensified philanthropic aid to Israel by the Jewish communities in the United States and Canada, and lauding the humanitarian achievements made possible by the United Jewish Appeal, were adopted by the Assembly. The resolutions also stressed the primacy of federated fund-raising in this country.
The resolutions expressed gratification over the progress during the past year in implementation of recommendations by the CJFWF on community-financed services in Israel dealing with: Establishment of priorities in programs and expenditures, continued debt control, consolidation of agricultural settlements, rental housing for immigrants, and elimination of support for American activities from the budget of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc.
The General Assembly urged continued progress in these programs as well as attention to other recommendations of the CJFWF including: basic long range planning; clear division of functions between the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israel Government; re-examination of dual financing involved in direct welfare fund grants to beneficiaries; and indirect welfare fund support to the same institutions through subsidies from the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc.; coordination of welfare programs; and adherence to the commitments given by officials of the Israel Government and the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem with respect to greater control of competing multiple appeals from Israel in the United States.
BOARD POSITION ON AGENCY REAFFIRMED; CHANGE IN NOMENCLATURE URGED
The Assembly endorsed the position of the board of directors of the CJFWF, calling for budget review and consultation by the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc. with the Large City Budgeting Conference. The Assembly reaffirmed “with urgency” its request for the merger of “overlapping organizations,” notably the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc., and the United Israel Appeal. It also requested elimination of confusion in the names and identification of the several Jewish Agencies for Israel.
The Assembly suggested that decisions to achieve this objective should be taken before determination of the current Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc., agreement in 1963.
The General Assembly emphasized that its call for these actions stemmed from the concerns of contributors in communities and “the need of community welfare funds to buttress allocations with the fullest knowledge of requirements, programs and finances.”
In its resolution on the United Jewish Appeal, the Assembly said “the unprecedented humanitarian achievements made possible by the UJA constitute an enduring chapter in the history of the Jewish people and one in which all mankind will take everlasting pride.
“On this 25th anniversary of the UJA, we pay tribute to the vision and perseverance of the national officers of the UJA who have served indefatigably; to the countless men and women of our community federations and welfare funds whose understanding, dedication and generosity have made possible this accomplishment; and to the constituent agencies whose cooperation within the UJA and with the Community Federations and Welfare Funds has brought such magnificent results. We look to the extension of these efforts and this cooperation, to assure that the unfinished responsibilities which press so urgently will be met with even greater effectiveness.”
PRIMACY OF FUND-RAISING BY FEDERATIONS STRESSED; CASH COLLECTIONS ANALYZED
In its resolution on the need to strengthen the primacy of fund-raising by federations, the Assembly stated that an analysis by the CJFWF of fund-raising and cash collections, during the past year, had pointed up great differences in achievement among communities, and had re-emphasized the need for thorough examination of underlying causes of such differences.
“The manifold unresolved overseas, national and local problems, with changing needs, pressures and opportunities, place profound responsibilities upon federated financing for greater support,” the resolution declared. “In seeking to meet this responsibility, the principles defined by the General Assembly a year ago continue to apply with added force.”
“At stake,” continued the resolution, “is the unparalleled scope of human needs which depend upon federated financing, challenging the ability of communities to adopt their sights, methods and achievements to the changing requirements of the times. We look to the most intensive effort by member federations and welfare funds, with the aid of the CJFWF, to meet the test of 1963.”
SOBELOFF EMPHASIZES ‘INCLUSIVENESS’ OF WELFARE FUNDS AS 1963 THEME
Isidore Sobeloff, executive vice-president of the Jewish Federation of Detroit, addressing a session on campaign planning for fund-raising, stressed the inclusiveness of welfare funds as an effective theme for 1963 campaigning.
“While the massive needs overseas will continue to receive the lion’s share of emphasis and funds in keeping with the magnitude of the task,” Mr. Soboloff stated, “the rounded-out appeal embodying local, national and overseas needs will be best calculated to win the acceptance of the contributing public. The inter-relationships and the inter-dependence of the American Jewish community with responsibilities and opportunities the world over, and notably in Israel, is being recognized as the basis for the rationale of Jewish communal endeavor.”
A resolution adopted by the Assembly on endowment funds to Jewish federations emphasized that experience during the past several years has shown that very substantial resources are available to Federations in bequests and in various forms of endowments, which are not available to annual campaigns.
“Such funds,” the resolution said, “have made possible more effective planning and expanded special services which could not otherwise be financed.” The resolution commended the federations and welfare funds which have carefully planned and conducted persistent action for the development of endowment funds, and urged the CJFWF to give greater assistance to communities in this development.
HERBERT H. SCHIFF REPORTS 1962 CAMPAIGNS EXCEEDED 1961 AMOUNTS
Final figures will show that the 1962 Jewish federation campaigns will indicate an increase of about six to seven per cent over those of the previous year, the General Assembly was told by Herbert H. Schiff of Columbus, vice-chairman of the CJFWF national campaign services committee.
Mr. Schiff made this report to the more than 1, 000 delegates from about 800 communities in the United States and Canada meeting here to review results of the 1962 fund-raising drives, and to map plans for more effective campaigns in 1963. The delegates represent more than 200 Jewish welfare funds which last year raised more than $125, 000, 000 for domestic and overseas Jewish philanthropic needs.
“While the increase in the fund-raising campaign this year is a clear gain,” Mr. Schiff said, “there is one element that should receive close examination–that is the rapid fall-off of increases toward the end of the campaign. This fall-off had already started before the stock market drop of May 28,” he emphasized.
“We should not minimize the effect of fluctuations of the economy on our campaigns,” he said. “But, even during the months when talk was most pessimistic, the realities of our economic life were much better than our frame of mind. An examination of this past year’s drives shows clearly that communities which continued vigorous collection efforts, found payments forthcoming in adequate amounts, while those when thought ‘this is no time to ask for money’ found they got very little.”