Five-day General Assembly of Council of Jewish Federations Opens Today
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Five-day General Assembly of Council of Jewish Federations Opens Today

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More than 1,200 delegates representing 218 central Jewish community organizations serving the needs of all elements in American Jewry gathered here today to start five days of deliberations tomorrow at the General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds on major issues facing the organized Jewish communities in this country and Canada and to map plans for 1964 communal activities.

Conditions and facts related to immediate and long-range planning and financing of communal enterprises will be analyzed during the sessions. The discussions will center on the new programs which Jewish federations are to undertake in view of changing conditions affecting Jewish institutions. Special attention will be paid to necessary shifts in priorities in the allocations by the Federations, as well as to the role and responsibilities of lay and professional leaders in communities.

The problems which the General Assembly will deal with include Jewish welfare, education, culture, community relations, health, demography, community organization, aid to Israel and to Jewish communities in other overseas countries, religion, endowment funds, women’s activities, and civil rights.

Special attention will be paid to the growing problem of planning for Jewish aged. The pros and cons of Jewish-sponsored apartment housing for the elderly will be debated, as well as the question of self-support for the aged and non-institutional service for them.

Changes in community responsibility for Jewish center services will be discussed by the delegates in the perspective of changing social conditions, population shifts, age groupings, economic factors, general community resources and suburban areas. The Assembly will also review community experience in eliminating scores of multiple appeals, assuring solid support for worthy traditional religious and educational agencies and saving fund-raising costs for traditional institutions.


The problem of the Jewish youth explosion will be one of the major problems which will come up for discussion. Delegates will analyze the changes implied for Jewish communal agencies by the rapid increase in the numbers of youth–in education, Jewish centers, vocational programs, child welfare and college level programs.

The Assembly will also take up the question of development of Jewish leadership for local federations and Jewish agencies. It will evaluate the experience with placement of persons after formal leadership training programs. It will also discuss community programs for service and involvement as distinguished from leadership.

Planned programs for fund-raising and campaign improvement by communities will be the subject of basic discussion at the Assembly. Experiences will be exchanged by the delegates on how their communities have overcome problems in cash collections.

Mental health problems will be discussed in connection with new perspectives for mental health services in the community, as they affect almost every type of voluntary agency and especially their relationship to Jewish community responsibilities. A total view will be presented on all major aspects of financing health and welfare services in large and small communities.


A special session of the Assembly will discuss the changes in needs, plans and programs of Israel and Jewish communities in other overseas countries and the responsibility of American Jewry in meeting these changed needs. The session will be addressed by experts in the field of overseas relief and reconstruction, as well as by members of the United Jewish Appeal Study Mission who have just returned from Israel and Europe where they studied conditions on the spot.

The civil rights crisis, the issue of church and state and other similar problems and their implications for Federation responsibility are also part of the Assembly’s agenda. Delegates from Canada will hold a special meeting to discuss problems of special interest to Canadian Jewry.

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