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Fisher Extols Israel-diaspora Unity

The “new unity” which has developed between the people of Israel, North American Jews and the other Jewish communities around the world, was extolled by Max M. Fisher of Detroit in an address before 2000 delegates and guests at the 41st General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds. Fisher, who was speaking as the outgoing president of the CJF after three years of service, said it was the unity of the Jewish people which forced the Soviet rulers to let Jews emigrate and which made it possible to bring a million and a half immigrants to Israel from some of the darkest corners of the world.

Noting that the noblest chapters in Jewish history are now being written and “the future that engages us should be even more inspiring and more productive,” Fisher predicted that the spirit of unity which exists today “will do most to assure both Israel’s 50th anniversary and the continuity and fulfillment of our Jewish communities here in North America.” Israel is this year celebrating its 25th anniversary.

In summing up the highlights of “where we are and where we are going,” Fisher observed that the CJF is taking a new hard look at ways to assure Jewish continuity with the highest quality, and entering into a most promising new relationship with the people of Israel that “goes beyond the very important responsibilities of fund raising.”

$3,450M FOR WILKES-BARRE JEWISH COMMUNITY

Focusing on the “remarkable rescue” of the Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Jewish community, which was devastated by floods last June, Fisher announced that the CJF’s drive for $2,100,000 to rebuild the flood-stricken community has been met. More than 400 families have been given aid and small business loans totaling more than $1,350,000 have been granted to scores of enterprises, he stated.

Discussing the relationship which exists with Israel, Fisher, who is chairman of the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors, said the new arrangement with Israel “adds up to a pooling of brains, ability, experience and dedication– and a new Jewish world fellowship in shared responsibilities such as we have never had. It holds great promise for the future.”

Despite the most fervent wishes of Jewry, “peace for our people and for the Jewish spirit everywhere is still very far away,” Fisher observed. “The echoes of Munich are still very much with us; so are the problems that press on us–with the most urgency, here at home.” About his future role in the CJF, Fisher noted that while “I am stepping down I am not stepping out. I will continue to help in every way I can.”

Irving Blum of Baltimore, incoming president of the CJF, who was scheduled to address the audience later in the evening did not do so. Several minutes before his scheduled address, the man who was to introduce him, Louis Stern, past president of the CJF, collapsed on stage and was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

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