French UJA Raised $18 Million in 1975 Despite Severe Economic Crisis

The French United Jewish Appeal (Appel Unifie Juif) campaign managed to raise last year 82 million francs (some $18 million) in spite of the severe economic crisis which has hit France. The French UJA director, Sam Castro told the French UJA’s ninth convention that French Jewry will this year try to improve this figure in view of Israel’s growing needs and the local Jewish community’s responsibilities.

UJA President Michel Topiol told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the increased figure was a success. He also stressed that another source of satisfaction was the fact that 98 percent of UJA pledges have been redeemed. “Less than two percent of pledges have not been honored,” said Topiol. This compares to figures of between 25-40 percent of unredeemed pledges in other countries, he noted.

The UJA funds are shared between the Jewish Agency and the Fonds Social Juif Unifie (FSJU), the central French welfare fund organizations.

U.S. JEWISH COMMUNITY PRAISED

David de Rothschild, FSJU treasurer, revealed that the French community has absorbed 18,500 refugees during the last five years. He said the FSJU also cares for 2000 old people and operates Jewish day schools attended by 3132 children. De Rothschild said that some 5-10,000 other children would have attended Jewish schools but were unable to do so because of insufficient funds. He said the current FSJU’s school budget is less than two million francs while it needs between 15-20 million.

De Rothschild paid tribute to the American Jewish community, recalling the aid granted by the Joint Distribution Committee. He said, however, that the JDC is reducing its grants and will stop them altogether five years from now.

DULZIN: DIASPORA CONTRIBUTIONS LAGGING

Jewish Agency Treasurer Leon Dulzin said that while Israel’s needs grow, the diaspora’s contribution lags behind. He said that for 1975-76 the Jewish Agency’s income will reach only 80 percent of what had been foreseen. He reminded the hundreds of delegates who attended the convention of the important role these funds play in Israel’s development and social services and of the huge needs which still remain to be filled for arriving Soviet Jews and Jews from the Arab countries, including Lebanon.

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