NEW YORK (Jul. 18)
“Why is Federation ignoring our own suffering brethren?” was the cry of some 50 young people, members of the Association of Jewish Anti-Poverty Workers, who demonstrated today in front of the offices of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies.
Besides protesting what they termed the Federation’s lack of “meaningful aid” to elderly Jews in the New York area, the demonstrators also strongly opposed the recent merger of Federation with the United Jewish Appeal, claiming that Federation coerced the UJA into the merger, and that this move had “all but completed the sell-out of the Jewish community.”
Spencer Kay, director of volunteer projects for the Anti-Poverty Workers, said his group opposes the merger because 25 percent of the money collected in joint Federation-UJA campaigns would go to Federation, which in turn would use the funds to benefit non-Jews, rather than Jews.
“An example is the hospitals run by Federation,” said Kay. “You can’t even get kosher food in them, so what’s Jewish about them? We think the money could be put to better purposes, rather than supporting institutions that don’t help Jews enough.”
Funds raised by the Anti-Poverty Workers, said Kay, go directly to the Jewish poor. The organization, made up mostly of young people (the Jewish leaders of the future, said Kay), uses the funds to provide programs for poor, elderly Jews, and tries to find them adequate housing if they are found living in slum dwellings.
FEDERATION REJECTS CHARGES
In response to the demonstration, Sanford Solender, executive vice-president of Federation, issued a statement claiming “Traditionally more than 50 percent of the funds distributed by Federation are allocated for direct services to the Jewish poor. In response to the growing dimension of the problem. Federation has expanded even further its services to this group.” Solender listed a number of programs run by Federation, including housing for the aged and a new relocation program now under way, as well as campaigns for social legislation in which Federation is involved.