Njcrac Consultant Urges Federal, Private Aid for Jews Residing in Inner Cities

An authority on Jewish community relations urged the organized Orthodox Jewish community today to embark on a program of action for the rescue of the “pathetic Jews, often Orthodox,” who have been unable to leave America’s deteriorating inner cities, isolated physically and communally from the Jewish community. The proposal was made by Dr. Jerry Hochbaum of New York, community consultant to the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, speaking at the 47th anniversary convention of the women’s branch of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. More than 750 delegates and guests representing congregations in the United States and Canada, are attending the three-day convention here. Dr. Hochbaum said that within the hard-core inner city areas, “there are substantial numbers of Jews, mostly invisible to the more affluent community which has left them behind,” isolated physically because all of the institutions of the Jewish community have “largely abandoned these hard core inner city areas,” and also isolated communally “without the benefit of a wide variety of services–not only those which government falls to provide inner city residents but also those needs–religious, social, recreational–for which the Jewish community has traditionally assumed responsibility.”

Dr. Hochbaum proposed that, in acting for such abandoned Jews, Orthodox Jewry should set as a major objective their re-location “from the inner city to better and Jewish neighborhoods.” He pointed out that “funds are available from the federal government for building senior citizens housing under private non-profit auspices and so are rent subsidies to assist in obtaining better individual housing.” In situations where relocations would be difficult or where the Jews do not wish to leave because of ties to homes and neighborhoods, he said Orthodox Jewish institutions and agencies should provide whatever services inner city Jews require, including “shopping assistance, social programs to minimize their social Isolation, religious activities, etc.” Jewish merchants in the inner city “who wish to move should be assisted in transferring their businesses to different areas, and where this is difficult or impossible, they should be re-trained vocationally or assisted in obtaining paid employment.” He suggested also that the merchants who wish to remain “should be helped to obtain better police protection and more adequate insurance than they are presently receiving.”

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