An increase in the membership of the Zionist Organization of America, improvement in its financial status and an enlargement of its various activities were reported to the members of the Administrative Committee of the Organization at a meeting held at the Hotel Astor on Monday, at which Morris Rothenberg, President, presided.
In a report on membership presented by Morris Margulies, Secretary, it was stated that more than 260 Zionist meeitngs have been held in the last four months in more than 100 cities. This does not include the various other functions held, of which no report was made to the national headquarters. The membership report also indicated that hundreds of members had been enrolled within the Zionist Organization who had never before been affiliated with the movement.
Harry P. Fierst, Treasurer of the Zionist Organization of America, presented a financial report showing that the Zionist Organization has lived within its income and had been able to weather the summer months without a deficit, a procedure never before possible in the Zionist Organization. An improved financial condition for the Zionist Organization has been made possible, the treasurer reported, because of a reduction in expenses and a larger income, the latter largely due to a trans-continental tour by Mr. Rothenberg.
Reviewing the activities of the Zionist Organization since the last meeting of the Administrative Committee, Mr. Rothenberg referred to the two letters he had recently received; one from President Hoover and one from President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, expressing their fullest support of the Zionist movement. These statements received wide-spread comment in the European and Palestinian press, Mr. Rothenberg reported.
The Administrative Committee also dealt with new plans for membership. A Committee was appointed to formulate the final plan of the many suggestions that have been offered. Mr. Rothenberg also reported on the progress that has been made in bringing the youth of America closer to the Zionist movement. He announced that a National Conference on Youth would be held on February 12 and 13, under the auspices of the Zionist Organization of America. Educators and communal leaders from all parts of the United States will be invited to attend this Conference, which is expected to have a very great influence on the future youth activities in the United States, particularly with regard to Zionist educational activities.
During the course of the meeting of the Administrative Committee, which lasted through a morning and afternoon session, Louis Lipsky, National Chairman of the American Palestine Campaign, reported on the preparations for the National Conference to be held on January 15th and on the forthcoming visit of Dr. Chaim Weizmann. Arrangements were made for active cooperation between the Zionist Organization of America and the American Pro-Palestine Committee; and extensive discussion was held on the subject of the suggested Council.
Among those who participated in the discussion of the day were Dr. Stephen S. Wise, Jacob de Haas, Abraham Tulin, Mrs. Archibald Silverman, Dr. Elias Margolis, Dr. Samuel Wurzel, Robert Szold, Judge Wm. M. Lewis.
The annual midwinter conference of Junior Hadassah was held at the Hotel New Yorker on Sunday and Monday.
Louis Lipsky, national chairman of the American Palestine Campaign was the principal speaker at the convention.
Personal participation in Palestine colonization rather than absentee philanthropy was urged by Mr. Lipsky.
“The economic status of the Jews in America makes a revival of Chalutz imperative,” Mr. Lipsky declared, while lauding the enthusiasm of Jewish youth toward the welfare problems of their race. “You must now regard yourselves,” referring to his audience of young women, “individually as an integral part of the Zionist movement and go to Palestine.”
The Conference was attended by National Board members and delegates from many parts of the country. The opening session on Sunday morning was devoted to a discussion of organization problems. This was followed by a luncheon at which Mrs. Samuel Halprin, national president of the Senior Hadassah organization, and Sulamith Schwartz, national president of Junior Hadassah, spoke. The Conference from this point on was organized as a cultural institute designed to give a survey of present-day Palestine. On Sunday afternoon, the subject “Women in Palestine” was treated by Dr. May Bere, consultant psychologist at the Nathan Straus Health Center in Jerusalem; Miss Alice Seligsberg, executive director of the Jewish Children’s Clearing Bureau; Miss Lillian Weiss, and Miss Juliet Benjamin. “Life and Art in Palestine” was the theme of the Sunday evening program, held at the Y.M.H.A. at 92nd street and Lexington avenue. Moving pictures of Palestine, and Hebrew songs were the features of the evening.
Speaking on the topic “The Jews Return to Their Land” at the opening session Monday morning, Leo Schwarz, educational director of Young Judea, gave a condensed history of the development of Zionism in the light of its relation to economic, political and intellectual forces.
Mr. Lipsky’s speech at the closing session was followed by a model cultural program on the subject of the second mass immigration to Palestine (1904-1918).