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Young Leadership Group is Told Public Welfare Funds Pose New Challenge

Proposals for restrictions of Jewish and other sectarian health and welfare programs because of increased governmental involvement in such programs were rejected here by a federation executive at the Atlantic Northeast Young Leadership Regional Conference. The conference was sponsored jointly by the United Jewish Appeal and the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds.

Charles Miller, associate director of the Federation of Jewish Agencies of Greater Philadelphia, told the 150 delegates that the challenge to the Jewish community of expanding government activities in the welfare fields was to be “creative and imaginative” to strengthen “our own community” and to contribute to the general community at the same time. He said there were ways to redirect communal funds into health and welfare programs not supported by government subsidies. He cited research and experimentation with new programs of communal service.

Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, UJA executive vice-chairman, warned the delegates that Israel faced severe military problems in the years ahead, as well as a “great deal of international political trouble.” He said there was a possibility of more fighting in the Middle East. He declared that the French Government no longer could be considered friendly to Israel, the British were withdrawing support and the Soviet Union was backing the Arab militarists. “The United States is Israel’s only firm ally,” he said but he voiced doubt as to how far out on a limb the State Department would go in the event of renewed warfare.

Philip Bernstein, CJFWF executive director, traced the development of Jewish federations, which he said were a unique Jewish contribution to the American scene. He said that when the emergencies of 1948 and 1967 developed, the leadership and organization of the federations was available and ready to meet the needs. He also reviewed the broad areas of social, health and welfare service supported by Jewish federations.

Mr. Bernstein added that through federations, a community can distribute funds “on the basis of needs, rather than the success of solicitors, engage in community planning to eliminate duplication, and review needs and set goals in the perspective of a total community.”

Dr. Elazar Goelman, dean of Gratz College, led a seminar on Jewish education. Problems discussed included the problem of federal aid to sectarian education and the increasing demands by public schools on the free time of pupils.

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