Baron Rothschild Urges Reorganization of Jewish Community in France

A proposal for a change in the organization of the French Jewish community, transforming the present set-up into something like a Board of Jewish Deputies, with a 150-member executive, was made here today by Baron Guy de Rothschild, president of the Fonds Social Juif Unifie. The FSJU, this country’s central Jewish fundraising body for domestic purposes, concluded its two-day annual conference today, with 500 delegates in attendance.

Stressing that the FSJU is no longer merely a collector and distributor of funds, but an organizer of “the new community in the social cultural and educational fields,” Baron de Rothschild urged “the necessity of adapting the Jewish community” to the reality of the fact that the “old legalistic formula” has outlived the times. He referred to the Jewish Consistoire which, since the time of Napolean, has been the only legal body representing French Jewry. The new organization, he said, should differentiate between religious bodies and Jewish non-religious groupings, and should act as a “parliament” for the entire French Jewish community.

The conference heard a report showing that, in 1964, the FSJU distributed more than $3,000,000. Of that total, the report showed, $1,650,000 was collected from 16,000 French Jews. The remainder came from various other sources, chiefly from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee which provides about 40 percent of the FSJU’s budget, A large part of the budget, it was reported, was allocated to aid the many thousands of Jewish refugees who came to France from North Africa.

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