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Nyana Heads Declare Jews from Oppressed Lands Must Be Helped to Find Haven

Arthur Chernick president of the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) declared here that Jews from all lands of oppression must be aided to reach “whatever haven of refuge they seek.” Hopefully, he said, they will emigrate to Israel “where they are sorely needed,” but if not there, they should be assisted to go elsewhere.

Chernick addressed more than 350 guests at NYANA’s 33rd annual meeting which hailed “the dedicated services of more than 75 volunteers.

“As the principal Jewish agency responsible for resettling Jewish refugees in the New York metropolitan area, and the largest local refugee aid organization in the country, it is doubly important that we make known our position,” Chernick stressed. He was re-elected NYANA president.

Since NYANA was established in 1949, it has resettled more than 237,000 Jewish refugees here, he reported. They came, he said, “in 13 waves of emigration, beginning with victims of the Holocaust, after World War II, followed by refugees from Greece, Hungary, Egypt, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Syria, Iran and Russia.”

“In the last ten years,” Chernick said “more than 35,000 Russian Jews were helped to establish new lives in New York City. However,” he pointed out, “the number of Jewish emigrants from the Soviet Union has dropped precipitously in the past year, from 2,798 in 1981 to only 269 in the first five months of 1982.

“As a result, we have sharply reduced our staff and contracted our operations. But because the tide of emigration is habitually affected by unpredictable political events and sudden, often unexplained, changes in government policies, we must remain at all times ready to expand to meet the needs of men, women and children seeking refuge, freedom and opportunity,” Chernick emphasized.

6,943 HELPED IN 1981

In 1981, Mark Handelman, NYANA executive director reported the agency helped a total of 6,943 clients. A wide range of reception casework, counseling, vocational, and acculturation services was provided to 3,603 new arrivals, 127 Jews came from Eastern Europe, 23 from Iran, 23 from Syria, 5 from other countries, and 2,798 from the Soviet Union. In addition, at the request of the United States Government, NYANA used its expertise to help resettle 567 refugees from Indochina, 50 from Cuba and 10 from Haiti.

NYANA will receive the Program of the Year Award from the National Association of Jewish Vocational Services, Harvey Goldman, executive director, announced. The award, he said, will be presented to NYANA in recognition of its successful piping design training program at Cooper Union. Twenty-one engineers — recent Jewish emigres from the Soviet Union — were awarded certificates after completing a 30-week training program at the prestigious engineering school. Nineteen have already secured employment in their chosen profession. The program is continuing. Twenty engineers are now enrolled in the second cycle.

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