NEW YORK (Jul. 8)
Shirley Leviton, president of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), has written to President Carter and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance offering the services of NCJW members in 200 cities across the country to help in the resettlement of Indochinese “boat people” who will be coming into the U.S. in growing numbers. This action came on the heel of an alert sent out by the International Council of Jewish Women – of which NCJW is the largest affiliate – ruing that all 32 member groups encourage their governments to help ease the plight of these refugees.
“With the rest of the world we are horrified at the harsh treatment being dealt to these innocent men, women and children,” wrote Mrs. Leviton in her letter, “and we wish to express our concern in a tangible way. Since many of our Sections already have extensive programs for the resettlement of Soviet Jewish immigrants, we feel that the way in which we can offer the most meaningful assistance is to adapt some of these services for the Indochinese refugees.”
Continuing, she stated: “We have womanpower of 100,000 and we would be happy to offer the Indochinese many of the services we perform for the Russian immigrants. These might include meeting new arrivals at airports, finding housing and furniture, arranging for medical and legal appointments, bringing immigrants to social security appointments and job interviews, enrolling children in school, arranging for English classes and generally overseeing the acclimatization to life in America.”
NCJW has been involved in resettlement for its entire 85-year history, and has recently geared up its programs due to the large influx of Soviet Jews. In many cities, NCJW is the only volunteer organization working with professional-agencies in the resettlement of these immigrants, and in a number of cases has already been involved in helping to resettle other immigrant groups, a NCJW spokesperson said.
In Dallas, Texas, for example, the NCJW Evening Branch developed a guidebook to the city in Russian and about a year ago, at the request of the mayor, had it translated into Vietnamese the spokesperson noted. And in Worcester, Mass., where NCJW runs its own Office of Immigration and Naturalization, the services of the offices have been heavily used by other immigrant groups, as well as by the Soviet Jews.