NEW YORK (Jan. 2)
The American Jewish response to the needs of the Cambodian refugees has been “a heart-warming demonstration of concern” according to Donald Robinson, president of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He reported that more than 100 communities were actively participating in the program of Cambodian relief, and noted that rabbis and Jewish educators were also playing an active role and “seeking to involve large segments of the Jewish community in this charitable effort.”
Ralph Goldman, JDC executive vice president, noted that the $100,000 already received included donations from thousands of concerned individuals as well as institutions. “The JDC was empowered by its Board of Directors to enable the American Jewish community to participate in this humanitarian program through its own institutions. The JDC, he added “with 65 years of experience as the overseas relief arm of the American Jewish community; is the logical institution to turn to.”
Goldman said plans are well underway for the dispatch of an American-Jewish medical and social work team to aid the refugees. “I urge the public not to be discouraged by the reports from Cambodia that the agencies there are having a difficult time continuing in their efforts,” he said. “The very conditions that make this work difficult now, makes it all the more important to us to continue the moment that it is feasible.
“In addition,” Goldman added, “our partners in the Interfaith Hunger Appeal, the Church World Service, the Catholic Relief Service and other agencies are having success in reaching the famine area of Cambodia along the Thailand border and the work with the 250,000 refugees in camps in Thailand may have to go on for years. Thus it is imperative that those who wish to help do not hesitate.”
Robinson praised the willingness of the local federations and United Funds of the Jewish community to place themselves at the disposal of the Cambodian program. “It is laudable and is a tribute to their deep commitment to community concerns,” he said.