Cjfwf Assembly Will Hear Student Demands for Changes in Federation Priorities, Ways
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Cjfwf Assembly Will Hear Student Demands for Changes in Federation Priorities, Ways

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An official of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds (CJFW) said today that the program of its 38th General Assembly this month had been broadened to provide for a presentation of the views of a newly-formed Jewish Activist League on matters of Jewish communal priorities. It was indicated that the student activists had agreed to the arrangements.

Discussions reportedly have been under way for several weeks with representatives of the student activists since spokesmen for the new organization announced that chapters in New York City’s Columbia University and Brandeis University were organizing a delegation to attend the CJFWF General Assembly, scheduled in Boston for Nov. 12-16. The activists, who said that a number of Hillel directors and Jewish faculty members were taking part in the formation of the delegation’s “demands,” said they had been offered time during the opening of the conference on Nov. 12 and had rejected the offer, insisting on being heard during the Thursday, Nov. 13 evening session.

Philip Bernstein, CJFWF executive vice-president, in announcing the broadened General Assembly format, said the organization “warmly welcomes the interest expressed by a group of students and faculty in the Boston area for more active participation in Jewish communal affairs and particularly in the Assembly.” Adding that the CJFWF and constituent Federations throughout the United States and Canada were “committed to action” to increase such participation, he said that CJFWF officials “had invited college students from a number of communities to join actively in the deliberations” and had arranged “for the participation of a number of faculty members.”

Mr. Bernstein added that while the program of the Assembly had been planned months in advance, arrangements had been made to bring the points of view of the student activists to Assembly delegates “in view of the expressed interest of a number of Boston Jewish college youth for even greater participation.” He reported that the luncheon session on Thursday, Nov. 13, “already had been scheduled for a presentation by young leadership of their view on Jewish community priorities. Instead of limiting this to the generation of young people in their 30s, we will add the expression of the campus community on these same issues.”

He reported also that “we are cooperating with the students and faculty on facilities and other arrangements to make possible their fullest participation in the Assembly” and that, “as part of the overall plan for the General Assembly, there will be a series of sessions involving Jewish community leadership and college youth and faculty on issues of common concern, such as social action, Jewish education and intellectual life and others.”


In announcing plans for the delegation’s appearance, spokesmen for the new Jewish Activist League said that participants were being sought at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion the Reform seminary here, as well as at Yeshiva University, various City University colleges, and other universities in the area, and from local Hillel Foundations and a “broad spectrum” of Jewish youth organizations.

Spokesmen for the League said research into the budget of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston and of the total of all Jewish Federation budgets had shown “disturbing information about budget priorities.” The spokesmen said that the students had been helped in the research by Rabbi Albert Axelrad, Hillel director at Brandeis; Prof. Leonard Fein, director of the Harvard-MIT urban studies center; Dr. Marshall Sklare, the noted Jewish sociologist, and Leon Jick, director of contemporary Jewish studies at Brandeis.

The spokesmen said that the delegation planned to present to the General Assembly a list of demands based on the thesis that “the federations have not served the Jewish community well. We feel they must change their ways in response to the crisis which now exists in our local communities.” It was indicated that the demands will include a request that each local Federation set up, during the coming year, a foundation for college youth, special communal projects for youth, funding for new experiments in Jewish education and Jewish life including publications, study groups, classes and fellowships for graduate work in Jewish education. Other planned demands will be that local Federations be “democratized” to include students, faculty members and interested members of the community so that they can be involved in all aspects of Federation work, particularly in budget and allocation committees, and that Federation resources — files, records and accounts — be made available to “all interested parties.”

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