Jewish Leaders Urge $150m Effort for Local Humanitarian Needs

American Jewish leaders called for a fund-raising effort that would raise $150 million to meet the local humanitarian needs in 1974, an increase of $25 million over the estimated amount raised in 1973. The determination to maintain needed on-going programs parallels the American Jewish community’s stated commitment, recognizing the need to raise $750 million for welfare services in Israel. Specifically, this assistance is to provide aid to families with sick, elderly and handicapped people, for university and pre-kindergarten education, for disadvantaged youth and for housing for immigrants.

The action by the country’s leading Jewish fund-raising organizations was taken at the 42nd General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds meeting here last weekend. Some 3000 communal leaders from the United States and Canada participated in the four-day event which concluded Sunday.

Expressing the overriding sentiments of the communal representatives, Philip Bernstein, executive vice-president of the CJF, said, “The welfare needs of the people of Israel are interlocked with the needs here at home.” He stated that the viability of the American communities’ own services, to the aged, in the areas of health, Jewish education and other urgent communal requirements “are not competitive with the welfare needs of the people of Israel. Rather, they are reinforcing. The ability of the American Jewish community to meet the needs of the people of Israel is bulwarked by the on-going programs in our local, communities and by the cultural richness that Israel provides us. The needs of one do hot diminish the needs of the other.”

EXPANDING AND NEW PROGRAMS

He added that many programs are being expanded and new ones launched. “The communities are deeply committed to Jewish education on all levels, in the year-round involvement in the work of Federations and their service agencies, in recruitment of leadership, as well as in programs that will improve the quality of Jewish life. An example of the on-going work, Bernstein said, is reflected in the closer cooperation between Federations and synagogues which is being buttressed at this Assembly by the creation of a task force to study means by which the two groups can work together for the betterment of Jewish life.”

The commitment to meet the humanitarian needs at home and in Israel, Bernstein said is also reflected in-a recent development in New York where the United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York and the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Greater New York joined forces to raise $280 million in 1974.

Edward Sanders, of Los Angeles, chairman of the CJF’s Campaign Services Committee and reelected as CJF vice-president, stressed the importance of strong ongoing services and programs at home to the ability of American Jewry to meet the humanitarian needs of Israel. “Unless we remain a viable community, committed to and responsible for our own needs, locally and nationally, we can’t hope to provide the necessary assistance to the people of Israel.”

Monty Berger, re-elected as a vice-president of the CJF and former president of the Allied Jewish Community Services of Montreal, reported that essential services are not being curtailed in the Canadian city. “The services provided by our 21 agencies–hospitals, community centers, family services and so on–are being maintained. The Jewish community of Montreal, like all in North America, threw itself completely into emergency support for the urgent human requirements in Israel, with tremendous results, but this was over and above the ongoing local commitments.”

EPSTEIN RE-ELECTED CJF PRESIDENT

Raymond Epstein of Chicago was re-elected CJF president. He was first elected president in June when the late Irving Blum of Baltimore resigned because of ill health. Epstein has for more than 30 years served the Jewish community locally, nationally and overseas, and in Israel. A former chairman of the CJF Overseas Services Committee, he is a vice-president of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a board member of the United Israel Appeal, a member of the executive committee of the United Jewish Appeal and of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Epstein was general chairman of the 1973 campaign of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, where he previously served as a JUF board chairman and president. He recently completed three years of service as president of the Jewish Welfare Fund of Chicago.

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