NEW YORK (Dec. 6)
The 48th annual conference of the Joint Distribution Committee, attended by 400 delegates from all parts of the country, adopted today a budget of $30,769,000 for 1963. Edward M.M. Warburg was re-elected JDC chairman for the 18th consecutive year.
The budget was presented by Moses A. Leavitt, JDC executive vice-chairman, who declared that this was “a minimum budget to provide assistance for 340,000 men, women and children–many of them refugees–in 27 countries. This is a larger number than in any year since 1949, the year of the great migration of DP’s and other refugees to Israel and other lands, “he said.
The JDC budget will be presented to the National Conference of the UJA, which is opening tomorrow at the Americana Hotel. The JDC receives its funds mainly through the campaigns of the United Jewish Appeal. Following adoption of the budget the delegates also passed a resolution congratulating the United Jewish Appeal on its 25th year of service and expressing support for the 1963 campaign to meet the increased needs of large numbers of Jewish refugees.
The principal speaker at the conference was Dr. Astorre Mayer, president of the Jewish community in Milan, Italy, and chairman of the Standing Conference on European Jewish Community Services. He reported the launching earlier this year of a special European emergency fund for North African Jewish refugees in France. The campaign has already raised over $200,000, he said, and the European Jewish communities are continuing to campaign for additional funds to help meet the needs of the growing number of refugees in France.
Dr. Mayer praised American Jews for their assistance, which was so vital to hundreds of thousands in Europe in the period immediately after World War II. “We are determined that European Jewry in the future will do its share in providing help in all parts of the world where there are Jews in need, and especially in Israel,” he said. In addition to closer ties with Israel and American Jewry, Dr. Mayer said that “offering European Jewish youth an opportunity to study either in European universities or in Israel and providing adequate housing and welfare services to the poor and to the old, remain our major goals.”
WARBURG HAILS REBIRTH OF EUROPEAN JEWISH COMMUNITIES
Mr. Warburg hailed the organization of the Standing Conference as indicating “a new era for European Jewry; an end to the years of dependency, the beginning of an era of independence and self-sufficiency, of true and equal partnership with the Jews of America.” The Standing Conference, which was organized with the help of the JDC in 1960, is composed of representatives of the organized Jewish communities in 12 West European countries and convenes regularly to consult on joint problems and exchange information on community and welfare programs.
Mr. Warburg observed that the possibility of such a rebirth “would have been inconceivable” to him when he first entered Paris shortly after the liberation of the city as an officer with the United States First Army. Not only had the war destroyed community facilities–synagogues, schools, community centers, he said, but “the death camps had also wiped out virtually the entire community leadership–rabbis, teachers, social workers; they had wiped out nearly all of that generation which would normally have provided leadership within the next few years.
“We of JDC dedicated oursleves from the very first to the rebuilding and revival of the virtually decimated communities. However, this revival would never have come to pass without the spark which continued to glow in the hearts of European Jewry, without their own determination to survive,” he emphasized.
Charles H. Jordan, JDC director-general for overseas operations, reporting at the conference on the JDC needs for 1963, cited the sharp rise of Jewish refugees admitted to France this year and stressed that the number of Jews reaching France from North African countries “is still increasing.” He estimated that in 1963 the JDC must provide over $4,000,000 to help meet the needs of these refugees, “an increase of more than $1,300,000 over 1962.”
The largest single item in the budget, $7,650,000, is earmarked for the JDC Malben welfare program for aged, ill and handicapped newcomers to Israel, Mr. Jordan said. The next largest item ($6,473,000) is for aid in Europe–mostly for refugees–the bulk of it for France. In the Moslem countries of North Africa and the Near East, despite the emigration of tens of thousands, approximately 100,000 Jews will still require JDC assistance in 1963.
In Israel, JDC will provide services for over 80,000 in 1963. Of these, some 50,000 will be cared for in the Malben program through its network of institutions and through non-institutional programs and rehabilitation services. Another $700,000 will be allocated for aid to yeshivoth and other religious and cultural programs in the Jewish State.
Sol Satinsky of Philadelphia, who was re-elected chairman of the JDC National Council, reported on the success of the JDC community information program which was inaugurated last year.