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Form Jewish Community Relations Council of N.Y. in Historic Move to Unify Response to Problems

The first organization in the modern history of the New York Jewish community to unify the community’s response to its community relations problems was announced here Friday. The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York was established by Jewish community and organizational leaders because of increasing awareness of the severity of the problems facing the Jewish community, it was reported at a press conference here. Its officers were elected and its by-laws adopted at a meeting last week.

Attending the news conference were Richard Ravitch, the JCRC president, and four vice-presidents: Laurence A. Tisch, chairman of the board of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies Joint Campaign; Rabbi Israel Miller, former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; George Klein, member of the board of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America; and Daniel S. Shapiro, past president of the New York chapter of the American Jewish Committee. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry, was named JRC executive director.

Officials said New York; which has the world’s largest Jewish community and is headquarters for many national and international Jewish organizations, has been the only major city without a central Jewish community relations coordinating agency. Initial funding for the new JCRC was provided by the Federation in the form of a special grant for two years. Officials said financial support will also be received through membership fees and independent contributions.

UNIFIED, EFFECTIVE ACTION SOUGHT

Ravitch said that many Jewish organizations “have separately tried to cope with matters which universally affect the New York Jewish community, including neighborhood stability, police relations, relations with other ethnic groups, loss of jobs and security arising from the city’s fiscal crisis, legislation and other matters relating to the continuity and vitality of Jewish life in New York City.”

Adding that each organization has “traditionally spoken for itself alone,” he said that the JCRC “hopefully will have the funds and the organizational support to act effectively and in a unified fashion on all matters of vital interest to the Jewish community.”

Shapiro said that “we have been at all times mindful of the fact that the autonomy of each of the organizations participating be respected and that we do not in any way derogate from that. Nevertheless, the New York Jewish community faces unprecedented challenges, and it has become essential to recognize the need for an overall coordinating mechanism concerned with community relations.”

Hoenlein said that “at a time when we face unprecedented problems, it is all the more important that we be able to mobilize our resources and strengths for considered deliberation and coordinated action.”

Other JCRC officers include Jack Weiler, chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee honorary JCRC president; Maxwell Raab, president of Temple Emanuel, vice president; Irving Silverman, president of the United Synagogue Metropolitan region, treasurer; and Irving Husin, honorary president of the New York Federation of Reform Synagogues secretary.

FOUNDING MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS

Founding member organizations of the JCRC include: the American Jewish Committee. American Jewish Congress, Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish War Veterans, National Council of Jewish Women. Union of American Hebrew Congregations. United Synagogue of America. Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. Federation of Jewish Philanthropies. Labor Zionist Alliance, and the Zionist Organization of America.

Also, the United Jewish Appeal. Hadassah, New York Board of Rabbis. National Council of Young Israel, Workmen’s Circle, Council of Jewish Organizations in Civil Service, and the borough-wide Jewish Community Councils of the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. Hoenlein said other organizations are expected to join in the coming months.

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