NEW YORK (Jan. 24)
S. Elly Rosen, executive director of the Association of Jewish Anti-Poverty Workers, acknowledged today the existence of $500,000 and $100,000 city programs in manpower training and other social and human services training programs and related areas for the city’s Jewish poor. Last Thursday, Rosen charged that the programs were “apparently a figment of somebody’s imagination.” At that time he accused the city administration and Dr. Marvin Schick, the mayoral assistant specializing in Jewish matters, of perpetrating a “cruel hoax against poor Jews” by claiming the existence of those and other aid programs.
Rosen’s reversal followed a reaffirmation by Dr. Schick that the programs were real and an independent survey by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency with the administrators of the program. Dr. Schick’s assertion that the $100,000 program was administered by the National Council of Young Israel was borne out by Rabbi Ephraim Sturm, national vice-president of the Council, who put the sum at $90-100,000. It requires Board of Estimate approval, he said, but that was certain.
$500,000 PROGRAM ACCOUNTED FOR
The “close to $500,000” program, according to Dr. Schick, is administered by Torah Umesorah (the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools), the Federation Employment and Guidance Service, and Yeshiva Mesivta Be’er Shmuel in Brooklyn. Dr. Alfred Schnell, who supervises Torah Umesorah’s aid programs, said its five Head Start centers were receiving $306,000 and its dropout program under the Neighborhood Youth Corps $172-183,000, with $52-55,000 expected for its day care center under the next budget–an estimated total of $530,544,000.
Roland Baxt, executive director of Federation Employment and Guidance, said the agency was getting $30,253 this year for aid to the needy and that this year’s 40 enrollees were getting $86,000 under the Neighborhood Youth Corps– a total of $116,253. Rabbi Yitzchok Rubin of Yeshiva Mesvita Be’er Shmuel said he expected around $63,000 this year for his aid programs. The three organizations’ total thus comes to $709-732,000–which even without the Head Start and day care funds comes to some $462,000, equal to the “close to $500,000” figure cited by Dr. Schick.
Rosen said his charge that the $500,000 program did not exist was based on the JTA’s characterization of it as a “civil service training” program. He conceded, however, that if the sums for Head Start and day care were not counted, there remained a “close to $500,000” program involving various forms of “training.” Rosen, who last week was reelected executive director of the anti-poverty association, said he was “delighted” to learn of the $100,000 funding of Young Israel and “pleased to learn that apparently some Jewish institutions are receiving at least part of the $500,000 in question” for the training of needy Jews.
On another point, Rosen said he had never questioned the city’s claim that it was launching a $1.5 million program under the auspices of the Jewish Agency for Services for the Aged (JASA). He denied having said last Thursday that “the city of New York is not giving one penny” toward that sum. Dr. Schick explained later that day that the city was contribution 12.5 percent of the sum, with 75 percent obtained from the federal government and 12.5 percent approved by the state but to come from private sources because the state will not actually contribute.
OTHER PROGRAMS CITED
Dr. Schick said today the JASA program was “due to start in a matter of weeks” with three borough-wide centers. He also reaffirmed that the city was administering an over-all $15 million expenditure for aid to the Jewish poor here but again said that because of the diffusion of agencies and programs involved he could not provide a breakdown of allocations.
But he expanded his earlier list of projects involved by citing the summer youth corps (60-80 camps), kosher food in municipal hospitals, Head Start centers, day care centers, Youth Corps in school and out-of-school program, the English-as-a-second-language program, the Labor Department’s “Job ’70,” public service career programs, on-the-job training, the Ohel Children’s Home, foster care, a girls’ residence, Crown Heights and Williamsburg (Brooklyn) anti-poverty projects, addiction treatment, college work-study programs and a $5 million “neighborhood stabilization” program.
“Job ’70,” the mayoral aide said, is 100 percent federally funded and “runs into the millions of dollars.” Other programs, Dr. Schick added, are also funded in whole or in part by the federal government. Rosen had called the reputed $15 million over-all effort “a nefarious lie.” Dr. Schick has called that figure an “honest estimate” that is probably “low.”
NON-JEWS INVOLVED IN PROGRAMS
There remained, however, the question of how much of the money involved aids needy and under qualified Jews specifically. Dr. Schick contends that the above-mentioned programs are specifically aid to Jews. The organizational administrators interviewed by the JTA, while welcoming the funds, disagreed. Baxt said that while all 40 enrollees in this year’s neighborhood projects, geared to largely Jewish areas, are Jewish, half of the 375-400 enrollees since 1964 have been non-Jewish.
“Under the law,” he said, “I couldn’t work specifically with Jews. I couldn’t refuse to work with non-Jews. I wouldn’t characterize this as a program for Jews.” The city, he added, has “a long way to go” to prove its “total commitment” to the resuscitation of the Jewish poor. In addition, he said, there should not be a “damn mystery” about an expenditure breakdown, which “we ought to know.”
Dr. Schnell said that while its programs were undertaken in largely Jewish-poor areas, 35 percent of those aided are non-Jewish, because it would be “definitely” illegal to bar non-Jews in the areas. He added that while Dr. Schick “does very good work,” nonetheless “there’s no question about it–the city should give more (for the Jewish poor).” Young Israel’s Rabbi Sturm commented: “I don’t think the Jews do get enough money.”