NEW YORK (Jul. 20)
Member organizations of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York met yesterday to discuss ways to help Jewish families whose businesses were destroyed by looters during the blackout last week.
Dan Shapiro, a vice-president of the Council, said: “It is most important to be sure that all the Jewish agencies are moblized to deal with the problem. . . . So many of the businessmen (whose stores were destroyed) were Jewish.” Shapiro said there is no way of knowing how extensive the damage is now in terms of money or number of Jewish businessmen affected.
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the Council, said that hundreds of Jewish families were financially ruined by the looting and arson. Representatives of the Council, and other communal leaders, had previously met with Mayor Abraham Beame to discuss the crisis. The Council representatives urged that immediate action be taken to insure that maximum federal, state, and local assistance will be made available.
According to Shapiro, the Jewish organizations will try to work “closely with the Mayor’s efforts” by encouraging lawyers, insurance people, accountants and others to volunteer their services to the city’s emergency assistance centers. The Council does not plan to set up its own aid centers, Shapiro said.
The Council “wants to make sure that all the Jewish businessmen understand what funds (federal, state and local) will be available,” Shapiro said. The city has designed a plan whereby $3.5 million from the private sector will be made available in the form of grants to small merchants vicitimized.