ST. LOUIS (Nov. 15)
The four-day General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, attended by more than 1, 000 leaders from Jewish communities all over the United States and Canada, concluded its sessions here today with the adoption of a number of important resolutions on problems affecting Jewish life in this country, Israel, and Jewish communities in other lands overseas. Louis Stern, of Newark, N. J., was re-elected president of the CJFWF for the coming year.
One of the major resolutions dealt with American Jewish philanthropic aid to Israel and to Jewish communities in other countries. It pointed out that, despite the fact that there have been notable gains during the past year in the rescue and rehabilitation of Jews overseas, Jewish needs and responsibilities overseas are nevertheless as serious today as they were a year ago.
The seriousness of the situation, the resolution pointed out, is due to various factors including the termination at the end of this year of reparation payments by Germany to Israel; to the loss by the Joint Distribution Committee of $7, 000, 000 in German claims payments, and of $425, 000 by the United Hias Service, at the end of 1964. Other factors are the continued large- scale immigration into Israel, now in its fourth successive year, which is expected to remain at the same high level in 1965; and the backlog of unabsorbed and still dependent previous immigrants to Israel, with 200, 000 of them on relief and work relief.
Emphasizing this and other emerging and changing pressures, the resolution called for a number of measures to be undertaken by the CJFWF in cooperation with Jewish agencies operating overseas, to intensify American Jewish aid to Israel and to other communities in need of such aid.
URGE NEW PERSPECTIVES, SETTING OF PRIORITIES; EDUCATION FUND STRESSED
The resolution also recommended a re-examination of priorities, including studies of the assisted welfare, health and related programs, to determine which activities should be increased, which held to current levels, and which possibly diminished or eliminated. The resolution called for “an inter-agency perspective,” especially as related to the role and policies of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc. , JDC and United Hias Service.
The resolution recommended also the sending of American expert technical aid to Europe and to Israel for consultation, studies, sharing of experience, and training of personnel.
The Assembly also recommended further development of the structure of the major American overseas agencies, to help achieve more widespread involvement in formulation of their policies and programs, and greater understanding of their needs and work. The Assembly also urged that changes be made in the names of several organizations called “Jewish Agency for Israel” to avoid the misunderstanding caused by their similarity. It also recommended the merger of overlapping organizations, especially the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc. and the United Israel Appeal.
The resolution expressed recognition of the urgent needs underlying the establishment of the Israel Education Fund by the United Jewish Appeal. However, the CJFWF requested assurance of procedures that would implement the priorities in the programs which have been agreed upon by the Education Fund and the Israel authorities. It also requested that each federation and welfare fund should be consulted hy the Education Fund prior to solicitation for this fund in each community.
FUND-RAISING ACHIEVEMENTS EVALUATED; EIGHT-POINT PROGRAM RECOMMENDED
The Assembly emphasized in another resolution that there were great discrepancies among federations and welfare funds in the levels of their achievement in fund-raising. It also pointed out that some federations and welfare funds were raising and spending five times as much as others per capita for needs in their own cities and for the national and overseas responsibilities which all communities shared.
“These differences,” the resolution said, “call for the most earnest re-examination, planning and organization to close the gaps and to upgrade financing, particularly in the light of the rising economy, of pressing unmet needs, and the vital role of voluntary agencies in meeting the challenges of a free society. Such re-examination should include, among other elements, the following:
“1. The role of federation and welfare fund leaders, whose own gifts and solicitation are crucial in setting the example and standards for the community to follow.
“2. The depth of commitment of a younger generation to the primacy of Jewish federations and welfare funds among other Jewish communal responsibilities.
“3. The scope and purposes of federations and welfare funds, to assure that they are being adapted to the changing needs, interests and opportunities.
“4. The organization and methods of united Jewish fund-raising.
“5. Measures to strengthen the year-round community organization, upon which consistently and increasingly successful fund-raising depends.
“6. Control of competing campaigns to prevent diffusion of funds and manpower.
“7. Planning of annual fund-raising campaigns in relation to the total financing planning, and to the potential funds from all sources.
“8. Utilization of expert consultation and guidance in this re-examination, to parallel the widespread use of such consultation in dealing with other community responsibilities.”
APPEAL TO U. S. A. AND U. N. TO HELP END JEWISH PERSECUTIONS IN USSR
In a resolution on the situation of Soviet Jewry, the Assembly expressed “grave concern and dismay over the continued and intensive assaults in the Soviet Union on all aspects of distinctive Jewish life.” It urged that the 24 major American Jewish organizations which constitute the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry, and the organized local Jewish communities, continue and intensify their cooperation in efforts “to bring the full weight of world opinion to bear against the deliberate campaign of religious and cultural genocide” in the USSR. This resolution stated:
“We appeal to the United States Government and to the United Nations to do everything possible to bring about the redress of these wrongs. We fervently hope that the new leaders of the Soviet Union will respond to the plea of aroused world conscience for justice to the Jews in the Soviet Union.”
In a resolution on the Ecumenical Council, the General Assembly declared: “All men of good will are encouraged by the concern of the Ecumenical Council with the fact that certain teachings of the Church have been used at times as a source of anti-Semitism. It is to be hoped that the final determination of the Ecumenical Council will contribute to the effective elimination of anti-Semitism and also of bigotry and prejudice, and will lead to better understanding among all peoples.”
The Assembly also adopted a resolution reiterating its request for the abolition of the national origins quota system in the United States immigration policy. The resolution emphasized that “developments over the past year encourage us in our hope that the long-awaited action may be forthcoming in the new session of Congress. ” It renewed its call “for legislation which will help to fulfil the democratic principle of this nation, and which will strengthen America’s leadership in the free world.”
PROGRESS NOTED IN NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN VARIOUS AMERICAN ORGANIZATIONS
In another resolution, the delegates expressed “profound gratification” with the fact that the discussions between the committees of the B’nai B’rith and its Anti-Defamation League, on the one hand, and the National Community Relations Advisory Council, on the other, had matured to the point where the NCRAC had already approved specific proposals.” The Assembly commended the leaders of B’nai B’rith, ADL and NCRAC for this constructive step in national cooperation in Jewish community relations and for the spirit in which the discussions have been conducted.
“We note that representatives of the American Jewish Committee and the NCRAC, with the participation of a committee of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, have recently begun joint discussions regarding the AJC’s future participation in the cooperative process. We urge that these discussions continue expeditiously to reach agreement,” the resolution stated.
The Assembly also adopted a resolution expressing gratification with the fact that the ADL has joined in the cooperative budget review process of the Large City Budgeting Conference. It noted that the American Jewish Committee and LCBC representatives have held a number of discussions regarding the possibility of the AJC’s participation in this process. It urged that these discussions be completed as soon as possible with the hoped-for agreement of the AJC to share in the LCBC process.
In addition to re-electing Mr. Stern as president, the General Assembly elected the following vice-presidents for the coming year: Dr. Max W. Bay, Los Angeles; Mrs. Joseph Cohen, New Orleans; Louis J. Fox, Baltimore; Joseph L. Gidwitz, Chicago; D. Lou Harris, Toronto; Carlos L. Israels, New York; Benjamin Lazrus, New York; and Judge Theodore Levin, Detroit. Edwin Rosenberg, of New York, was elected CJFWF treasurer; and Lewis H. Weinstein, of Boston, was chosen secretary.