NEW YORK (Jan. 15)
The United Jewish Appeal announced Monday that its 1989 Passage to Freedom campaign for Soviet Jews raised $50.1 million as of the Dec. 31 closing.
The amount falls short of the campaign’s ambitious $75 million goal, but UJA leaders nevertheless are said to be pleased with the results.
“Unlike the late 1970s, when there was also a wave of Soviet Jewish emigration,” said UJA National Chairman Morton Kornreich, “we have been able to maintain the integrity of our regular allocations and to collect a record amount of cash from the regular campaign.
“Together with Passage to Freedom, the total UJA-federation campaign will reach $800 million for the first time in history,” he said.
Kornreich reported that UJA had already collected $33 million of the Passage to Freedom funds raised.
The announcement coincided with a UJA national officers meeting here Monday afternoon to discuss joint plans with the Jewish Agency to mount a massive new campaign to aid the resettlement of Soviet Jews in Israel.
UJA had been expected to announce a drive to raise $350 million over five years for the resettlement effort.
But with Soviet Jews now flowing through the gates of Ben-Gurion Airport at an unprecedented rate of approximately 2,000 per week, Israeli officials have reportedly asked that the total be doubled.
In recent weeks, Israeli politicians have been publicly critical of Diaspora Jewry for showing what they believe to be ambivalence about assisting Israel in absorbing the huge wave of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union.
“Unfortunately, world Jewry has not yet joined us with all of its strength in this battle,” Israeli President Chaim Herzog said Friday in his monthly broadcast on Israel Radio.
There was no official announcement Monday of the results of the national officers meeting. Discussions are expected to continue here Tuesday and Wednesday, as officers of the United Israel Appeal and the Jewish Agency hold meetings of their own.