NEW YORK (Nov. 8)
The Lower East Side Community Corporation has taken the first step towards serving Jewish poor by agreeing to place representatives of the Jewish community on its Board of Directors, and to request additional poverty funds for a Jewish sponsored agency. The announcement was made today by S. Elly Rosen, Executive Director of the Association of Jewish Anti-Poverty Workers (AJAPW), following a meeting several days ago with a committee appointed by the Corporation to meet with Jewish representatives.
Heading the Corporation negotiating team was Board Chairman Roberto Napoleon and Corporation Executive Director Carmelo Negron. Representing the Jewish community were Dov Hikind of the Jewish Neighborhood Power Council. David Solomon of the Jewish Defense League, Rosen and Lower East Side residents Jerry Goodman, Heshy Jacob and Barry Goldstein designees of the Vaad Harabonim (Rabbinical Board) of the Lower East Side–all of whom have been working for many weeks on this project.
According to Rosen, those at the meeting agreed that two Board appointment seats be given to the Jewish community; that as further seats become vacant additional Jewish representation will be provided and that the Corporation will request the Council Against Poverty to provide additional funds for a Delegate Agency which would relate to the Jewish community. The need for a Jewish oriented Delegate Agency, according to Rosen, is due to the fact that at present, none of the 28 existing Delegate Agencies of the Corporation are responsive to the needs of the Jewish poor.
CAN’T RELY ON CITY OFFICIALS
“Even the Jewish sponsored agencies are staffed by mostly Blacks and Puerto Ricans and it is to those communities that they direct their outreach and services,” Rosen said. He further noted that, “It was a tough fight on the Lower East Side. At one point there was a confrontation with militant Young Lorda. But there were dedicated people representing poor Lower East Side Jewry and the Corporation had to acknowledge the validity of their expressed need.” A key factor in the negotiations, Rosen noted, was the good faith displayed by Napoleon, ” a person who truly seeks to unite rather than divide oppressed minorities.”
“The only way to get results,” Rosen said, “is by face-to-face, one-to-one negotiations with Community Corporation policy makers,” rather than relying on City officials who “have no effect on the local Community Corporations which make their own decisions regarding whom to serve in their poverty areas.” Rosen said that the AJAPW has already begun working on other Community Corporations in conjunction with involved grassroots Jews.