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Chicago Conference Increases United Jewish Campaign to $25,000,000

October 12, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

American Jewry is to continue its efforts to secure the payment of the pledges made in the fifteen million dollar drive of the United Jewish Campaign during last year and to increase this sum by further campaigns to the amount of twenty-five million dollars to carry on the work of relief and reconstruction of the Joint Distribution Committee in Russia, Poland and in other countries. Prospects of a united front of American Jews on the question of constructive relief in European countries and the upbuilding activity in Palestine have come closer to realization, paying the way for the successful completion of the extension of the Jewish Agency to include American non-Zionists. Dr. Joseph A. Rosen, head of the Agrojoint, may visit Palestine on behalf of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to study conditions there and report to the committee on the conditions and prospects of Palestine colonization. The non-Jewish public of the United States is to lend its support to the humanitarian effort of American Jews to aid their stricken brethren abroad through the formation of an American Christian fund for Jewish relief.


These are the four outstanding facts resulting from the national conference of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the United Jewish Campaign which closed here today following deliberations which lasted for four sessions Saturday evening and all day Sunday. The conference was held at the Standard Club under the chairmanship of Brigadier General Abel Davis, in the presence of 312 delegates and several hundred guests representing thirty-eight states of the Union.

The Chicago conference, coming after a year of intensive drive activities which have stirred up communal interest in all Jewish communities throughout the United States and extensive relief activity which brought promise and hope to many Jewish families and groups in the countries abroad, found among its delegates, consisting mainly of the chairmen, vice-chairmen and active workers in the local campaigns headed by the tried leaders of the Jewish communities in the respective regions, a determination to go on with this work. Although not as spectacular as the Philadelphia conference which gave rise to the renewed activities of the Joint Distribution Committee, the Chicago conference proved itself to be of great significance for the problems of European relief and Palestine reconstruction, which are now holding the attention of the Jewish public.

The sessions were mainly devoted to the presentation of numerous authentic reports on the various activities of the Committee. Dr. Bernard A. Kahn, European director of the Joint Distribution Committee; Dr. Joseph A. Rosen, head of the Agrojomt, in charge of the farm settlement work in Russia, Jacob Billikopf, Dr. Maurice B. Hexter, Dr. Ludwig Bernstein. Mrs. Rebekah Kohut and James N. Rosenberg, who have all been on the scene of action, presented their first hand observations of the work.

The discussions which divided the Zionists and non-Zionists at the conference in Philadelphia and which gave rise to the recent Zionist-J.D.C. controversy centering around the Russian colonization work as one of the features of the J.D.C. program, did not come up during the proceedings of the Chicago conference, notwithstanding the fact that the strained relations between the two groups were the subject of uninterrupted interest in some circles of the delegates.

The outcome of the deliberations of the conference which outlined the program of the Joint Distribution Committee for the next two years, also having a bearing on the Palestine situation, was embodied in a resolution which was brought in just before the conference concluded its sessions. This resolution, introduced by E. Baker of Cleveland on behalf of the resolutions committee, was a decisive move in the direction of peace in American Jewry and indicated the way for a united effort. The resolution assumed great significance in the light of statements made by Felix M. Warburg, chairman of the Joint Distribution. Committee, and Louis Marshall, president of the American Jewish Relief Committee, when they rose to recommend the adoption of the resolution. The resolution as adopted read:

“We, workers in the United Jewish Campaign, in national conference assembled, in the city of Chicago, October 9th and 10th, 1926, do hereby adopt the following preambles and resolution:

“Whereas we have heard reports from the officers and committees of the Joint Distribution Committee, members of its staff, and independent observers of its work in the field, and whereas, these reports clearly demonstrate that the work that has been done and is being done under the auspices of the Joint Distribution Committee is of gigantic proportions, essential to the alleviation of distress and to solving the economic, religious, and cultural problems of millions of Jews, who since the outbreak of the war have suffered tragedies unparalleled in the history of any people and

“Whereas, We are convinced beyond the preadventure of a doubt that were it not for the work being done by the Joint Distribution Committee, countless numbers of our brethren would be the hopeless victims of destitution, despair, and death, and whereas, we have been thrilled beyond words by the reports of the success, which has attended the efforts of the United Jewish campaign in raising to date over fifteen millions of dollars, and whereas, we are convinced that an additional sum of at least ten million dollars, over and above the amount already pledged, is vitally necessary,

“Now, therefore, be it resolved, first, that we hereby voice our complete confidence in the officers and agents of the Joint Distribution Committee, and urge that they and their affiliated and cooperating organizations continue their heroic efforts in this great task in European Russia, Palestine, and every other place in the world where the Jew needs help:

“Second, we readopt and ratify the resolutions unanimously adopted at the conference of the United Jewish campaign held in Philadelphia in September, 1925:

“Third, we urge upon those who have already subscribed to the funds being raised by the United Jewish Campaign the imperative necessity of making payments upon pledges with all promptness in order to make the continuation of the work possible:

“Fourth, and above all, we call upon each and every Jew in our beloved home in America, because of his good fortune in being a Jew in America, in the name of all that is dear to him, in the name of the sacred memories and traditions of his people, in the name of the faith for which Israel has bled and died throughout the centuries, in the name of the spirit of brotherhood, which alone justifies the perpetuation of any race or any people, to accept the responsibilities of this moment and the historic opportunity now afforded to each and every one of us to unite in this great work by subscribing, to the very utmost of his power, to the additional fund now being secured.

“Finally, we, and each of us, solemnly pledge ourselves to the completion of this holy task.”

Felix M. Warburg, who was first to rise and second the motion for adoption of the resolution, expressed his satisfaction that the resolution included a reference to Palestine. Mr. Warburg stated that he had discussed with Dr. Rosen a proposal that Dr. Rosen, on his way back to Russia, proceed to Palestine for the purpose of making a study of the situation there and particularly of the colonization in the country. He was sure that the executive committee of the Joint Distribution Committee would unanimously entertain the proposal to request Dr. Rosen to do so and to submit his report and recommendations to the committee.

Louis Marshall, recommending the adoption of the resolution also expressed his satisfaction with the reference to Palestine in the resolution. He referred to a report on Palestine submitted to him by Judge Harry Fisher of Chicago, following the latter’s return from Palestine. The report dealt particularly with the present unemployment situation in that country and pointed to the steps necessary to remedy the situation. “The Joint Distribution Committee has never been indifferent to Palestine. Since its inception the J. D. C. appropriated not less than $7,000,000 for Palestine, a sum representing a much greater proportion than the Jewish population of Palestine represents in relation to the Jewish populations in other countries,” Mr. Marshall stated. “The emergency situation in Eastern Europe obliged the Joint Distribution Committee to give its first and immediate attention to remedying the conditions there,” he declared.

“There has been of late some discussion going on concerning our attitude to Palestine. There are no greater lovers of Zion than we are,” he exclaimed. “We are not making any appropriation for Palestine today because the funds are not yet available, but we will be just,” he stated.

Judge Harry Fisher, who, then spoke on the resolution, declared: “Had we gathered here to listen to any single report that we have heard, it would have been worth our time and our effort. The words of Mr. Marshall and Mr. Warburg convince me that we are going to continue our efforts on behalf of Russia, on behalf of Poland, on behalf of Palestine, but above all on behalf of Jewry of America. Out of this cooperation, I see the coming of a real united Jewry of America. This is going to be one of the glorious days in the history of American Jewry.”

“I was very much inspired last night and all day today by the reports which have been presented,” Benjamin Winter of New York declared. “However, I have been waiting for this additional touch. I feel now that I am really in the midst of a united Jewry, what we have needed and what the people in other lands have been crying for–a united Jewry in America able to lend them the proper support.”

James N. Rosenberg, vice-chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, stating that he purposely brought with him the text of the Philadelphia resolution so that it might be reaffirmed by the Chicago conference, and declaring that he is particularly interested in Russia said: “To every man having to do with the Joint Distribution Committee, it should be made clear that we are as deeply interested in Palestine as we are in any other part of the world.”


The conference was opened by Julius Rosenwald, on behalf of the Chicago Reception Committee. Rabbi Nathan Krass of Temple Emanuel, New York, offered the benediction, reciting the prayer of “Shehechyanu.” At the suggestion of Samuel C. Lamport and Judge Horace Stern of Philadelphia, General Abel Davis of Chicago was elected permanent chairman of the Conference. Marcy I. Berger and Joseph C. Hyman were elected secretaries of the Conference.

A Resolutions Committee was elected consisting of Ed. Baker of Cleveland, chairman; Jacob Loeb, Chicago; Jonah J. Goldstein, New York; William Schroeder, Cincinnati; Judge Horace Stern, Philadelphia; A. Leo Weil, Pittsburgh; Henry Weineman, Detroit; Jules M. Mastbaum, Philadelphia and Myron Lasker, Little Rock, Ark.

The outstanding events of the Conference were the reports submitted by Felix M. Warburg, on the expenditures of the Joint Distribution Committee in the past year and its future plans; the report of Dr. Joseph A. Rosen on the work of the Agrojoint; Dr. Bernard A. Kahn on the J. D. C. activities in Poland and other countries outside of Russia, and the address of Louis Marshall. No reference was made to the Zionist controversy except in the reading by Mr. Warburg of a telegram received by him from Nathan Straus urging union of all factions of Jewry. A sentence in Mr. Marshall’s address, in which he declared that “the accumulated volume of evidence presented at this conference will constitute an avalanche against the many things that have been uttered against us,” was interpreted as referring to the recent controversy.

Reports were also submitted by Jacob Billikopf and Maurice B. Hexter on their observations in Russia, and by Dr. Cyrus Adler on the cultural activities of the Joint Distribution Committee. Dr. Adler urged greater allottment for the cultural work. Dr. Kahn and Dr. Rosen were highly praised by Mr. Warburg, Mr. Marshall and other speakers at the Conference for their modesty and high-minded leadership in the work. A special tribute was paid by Mr. Marshall to the work of Dr. Boris D. Bogen, former representative of the Joint Distribution Committee, through whose efforts many lives were saved in the precarious years of the war, Mr. Marshall said.

A dramatic scene occurred when Mr. Marshall, during his address, told the story of how David A. Brown was enlisted for the cause of Jewish relief work at the suggestions of Jacob Billikopf at the previous Chicago conference and of the unselfish act of the late Mrs. Brown in cancelling their long planned trip to Europe in order that her husband might undertake the leadership in the Jewish relief drive. At the suggestion of Mr. Marshall the conference observed a period of silence to honor her memory.

A resolution submitted to the conference asking that an official delegation of the Joint Distribution Committee be sent to Moscow to attend the conference of the Ozet, the Committee for Jewish Land Settlement, consisting of Communists and non-partisan elements, which will be held in Moscow November 15th, was rejected. The J. D. C, however, will instruct its representatives in Moscow to participate in the sessions of the Ozet conference in an unofficial capacity.

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