2,000 Attend U.J.A. Conference; J.D.C. Presents $28,853,500 Budget for 1965
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2,000 Attend U.J.A. Conference; J.D.C. Presents $28,853,500 Budget for 1965

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The Joint Distribution Committee will require $28,853,500 in 1965, to meet minimum needs of an estimated 465,000 refugee or distressed Jews in 30 countries, it was reported here today at the opening session of the four day Annual National Conference of the United Jewish Appeal. The Conference is being attended by more than 2,000 key Jewish leaders from communities throughout the country.

Today’s sessions were devoted entirely to a special observance of JDC’s 50th anniversary and to the presentation of JDC’s budgetary requirements for its global aid programs in the year ahead. Moses A. Leavitt, executive vice-chairman of the JDC, addressing the opening session, told the UJA delegates that increasing distress among Jews in many areas abroad, combined with the termination of German reparation funds, will create “a dangerous gap” next year in the JDC aid programs.

At the same time, Mr. Leavitt pointed out, the JDC in 1965, will no longer receive grants from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. These grants, averaging $7,000,000 annually over the past 11 years, helped maintain welfare, rehabilitation, cultural and religious programs benefiting surviving victims of Nazi persecutions. “The loss will create a dangerous gap between the funds available and the human needs to be met,” Mr. Leavitt declared.

Jack D. Weiler of New York, a National Chairman of the UJA, opened the ceremonies inaugurating nationwide observances of the JDC’s 50th Anniversary. He traced the JDC’s development from its limited initial objective of providing aid to the sorely pressed Jews of Palestine at the beginning of World War I, to its present global operations. He declared:

“JDC’s most heroic achievements came during the years of our greatest sorrow and tragedy–the years of the Hitler holocaust and the carnage of World War II. These were the years of the DP era when we helped in the rescue, resettlement and rehabilitation of more than a half-million Jews who miraculously survived Hitler’s death camps. These were also the years which brought the promise of a brighter future, thanks to the birth of Israel.”

Other major speakers were Edward M.M. Warburg, chairman of the JDC who also serves as a UJA honorary chairman; Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, executive vice-chairman of the Development Corporation for Israel, former Overseas director-general of the JDC, and chairman of the JDC 50th Anniversary Committee; and Charles H. Jordan, director-general of JDC Overseas Operations.


Mr. Warburg, who was reelected as JDC chairman for the next year, paid tribute to the “extraordinary generation of American Jews who came together in 1914 to create the Joint Distribution Committee as a lifeline to needy Jews in other lands, as well as those who followed them.”

“In this half-century,” he said, “JDC has expended some $810,000,000 to aid more than 4,000,000 Jews in 80 countries. It has been instrumental in resettling nearly half a million refugees in Israel and additional scores of thousands in other lands of freedom. A major part of this humanitarian record was achieved in the last 26 years–since the United Jewish Appeal was established in 1939 with the JDC as a constituent agency.”

“There are many yardsticks,” Mr. Warburg said, “by which this aid can be measured–the amount of money spent, the gigantic total of supplies shipped, the number of men, women and children who were given medical aid, the hundreds of thousands who were helped to emigrate, or to the tens of thousands who were aided to become self-supporting. But there are other, less exact yardsticks. Who knows for certain how many live today because of JDC aid, who might otherwise have perished? These uncountable lives are the true measure of what the American Jewish community has accomplished through JDC.”

Dr. Schwartz noted that “in the entire known history of man no other half century has produced so many earth-shaking events,” and pointed out that the JDC has been “a highly sensitive seismograph” of Jewish destiny and need. “On the anvil of history,” he said, “the simple philanthropic organization known as JDC was hammered into a complete and powerful instrument of survival and rebirth for the Jewish people. For 50 years it has remained an organization not motivated by ideological considerations, but concerned with practical, day-to-day problems of helping people and saving human life; We are non-partisan in all matters except saving our fellow Jews.”

Mr. Jordan reported that 300,000 Jewish refugees were in flight over the past three years. “This has not appreciably lessened problems in the lands they left,” he stressed. “In fact, the exodus has created additional problems. It has intensified problems in Israel, which has taken in the bulk of the refugees, and has produced new problems in other countries of refuge, particularly in France.” Mr. Jordan noted that successive waves of immigration starting in 1956 have “exploded” France’s Jewish population from 300,000 to more than 500,000 at present.


Herbert Katzki, JDC assistant director-general, reported that JDC programs are aiding a monthly average of 90,000 needy Jews in Europe, nearly 55,000 of them in France. “The local Jewish welfare agencies in France cannot cope with this huge relief problem alone,” Mr. Katzki declared, “but must rely heavily on JDC assistance.”

Theodore D. Feder, JDC director for Israel, reported that JDC was operating special care programs for more than 51,000 aged, chronically ill or handicapped among Israel’s immigrants. An additional 20,000 newcomers are helped through JDC cultural and religious programs and 19,000 in the JDC-supported ORT vocational classes. He said the number of aged and handicapped among Israel’s immigrants has risen from about seven percent in 1963 to 13 percent in 1964, placing increasing pressures on JDC’s budget.

Other JDC officials who reported to the session were Samuel L. Haber, assistant executive vice-chairman; Sidney Engel, director for Iran; Abe Loskove, director for Morocco, and Henry Levy, director for Latin America. Panel discussions were led by Philip Soskis, executive director of the New York Association for New Americans; Max Braude, director-general of the World ORT Union; and James P. Rice, executive director of the United Hias Service.

Adolph Held, chairman of the Jewish Labor Committee, participated in the JDC observances. An octogenarian, he was a representative of the People’s Relief Committee to JDC during World War I. The other founding agencies were represented by Morris B. Abram, Chairman of the American Jewish Committee, and Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein, for the Orthodox groups.


Sol Satinsky, chairman of the National Council of the JDC, addressing the luncheon session, told the delegates that “it was an extraordinary generation of American Jews who came together in 1914 to answer a cry for help” and to establish the JDC as “an instrument of mercy and a lifeline to the needy of other lands.”

“Now,” Mr. Satinsky pointed out” comes a newer generation, without our memories, or with these memories greatly diffused. A newer generation, the products of another way of life, another world. A newer generation, to whom we must increasingly entrust our responsibility for those in need, for those still in need.” He called for the preparation of this new generation.


Max M. Fisher of Detroit, who will be the incoming General Chairman of the National United Jewish Appeal, was honored this evening at a dinner here attended by 125 of his friends and associates, including Michigan’s Governor George Romney. Governor Romney flew in from Lansing to participate in the gathering.

The dinner, on the eve of Mr. Fisher’s becoming General Chairman of the UJA, succeeding Joseph Meyerhoff of Baltimore, took place in the Hilton Hotel, where the United Jewish Appeal today held the opening session of its National Conference, Mr. Fisher will assume his new post on Sunday, December 13th, at the closing session of the conference.

With the election, Mr. Fisher will hold two of the top humanitarian posts in the United States. The UJA has raised more than a billion and a half dollars in its 26 years and aided more than three million Jews in need throughout the world. At the same time, Mr. Fisher is currently president of the non-sectarian United Foundation of Detroit, the country’s largest community chest which in its 1964 campaign raised $23,500,000. Tonight’s dinner was given by the Jewish welfare Federation of Detroit, of which Mr. Fisher is chairman of the executive committee and a former president.

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