J.d.c., Completing 50 Years, Sees More Jews ‘on the Move’ Now

Except for the “terrible years” of the Hitler persecutions and World War II, there has never been a time in Jewish history when more Jews have been on the move than at the present time, Charles H. Jordan, overseas director general of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, reported here today. He reviewed the JDC’s 50 years of activities on the eve of the Jewish year 5725 which, he noted, will mark the organization’s entry into its second half-century. JDC was established November 27, 1914.

Citing the work of the JDC in its 50 years, he said that, during the past three years, more than 300,000 men, women and children had suffered the “traumatic experience” of displacement from their homes, friends and familiar surroundings, to face “an uncertain future.” He said that, in all those 50 years, the JDC had been looking hopefully to the day when its work would finally be completed but “today, unfortunately, we are not at such a moment.”

The 300,000 recent refugees, he declared, had come mainly from North Africa, but also from countries of Eastern European origin. About half of them found haven in Israel, he reported, and the rest mainly in France.

He called the situation of the current Jewish refugees “by no means desperate.” “They have food and shelter and they have hope,” he noted. However, he said, their departure had made an impact on the communities they left behind, particularly in North Africa, where “the tightly knit fabric of centuries of Jewish communal life has been weakened and torn.”

He added that, as the refugees come into new communities, “their presence creates strains and stresses on the Jews already there” requiring creation of facilities to serve and absorb the newcomers and to preserve them as Jews. He said that the task of the JDC “is thus still far from done. But we never cease to hope that the day will come when Jews will no longer have to suffer from the fact of being Jews.”

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