American Jewish Community Leaders Discuss Plan for Stabilization of Communal Life
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American Jewish Community Leaders Discuss Plan for Stabilization of Communal Life

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Reports on successful fund-raising campaigns, extensive community studies, improved methods of organization and budgeting and widespread capital fund-raising and planning were discussed here at the regional session of the East Central States conference of the Council of the Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, attended by representatives of 35 communities from seven states and Eastern Canada.

The major topic of discussion was how Jewish communities can organize and plan their services to provide a basis for security and a satisfying communal life. Jerome N. Curtis of Cleveland, president of the region, presided.

Isidore Sobeloff, executive director of the Detroit Federation, urged that all community service groups be brought together for common planning and Israel Reppaport,secretary of the Committee on New Approaches to Jewish Education, pleaded for a community approach to Jewish educational programs for children, youth and adults related to the specific aims and conditions of American life. Programs in community organization through federations and through community councils were analyzed and the need for closer integration into one form of central communal organization was explored.


Communities expressed great interest in the need for adjusting and developing community services to meet the needs of returning veterans and displaced war workers. H. L. Larie, executive director of the Council , pointed out that while the government could be depended upon to care for the basic needs of returning service men and women as veterans, local communities have an obligation to provide for them as civilians and this meant better organization and better standards of service to meet all civilian needs in the community.

Harry M. Epstein, Pittsburgh, presented plans for a more intensive development of community education and interpretation. He said that for real understanding, publicity programs must be integrated with community organization and democratic participation. It is the responsibility of the central agency, continued Mr. Epstein, to create opportunities for active knowledge participation in community affairs through better knowledge and systematic educational planning.

A report on the National Community Relations Advisory Council was presented by Sidney Hollander, national president of the Council. The NCRAC, said Mr. Hollander, is only a minimum plan and is operating under serious limitations but it is developing various forms of agency counselling so that a conclusive appraisal could not be made until there had been further experience with this present attempt to coordinate the activities of the national and local agencies. Ephraim R.Gomberg, speaking for the United Jewish Appeal, reported that 89 percent of Jews on the European continent have been displaced and that the need for supplementing governmental programs was increasing as liberated areas offered new opportunities for constructive help.

Mrs. L. A. Friedberg, director of the Jewish Public Relations Council of Pittsburgh, described progress made in inter-cultural education secured through participation of all groups concerned with the perpetuation of democratic principles. The region elected the following officers for 1945: Julian Krolik, Detroit, president; Walton Strauss, Erie, and Bernard Pepensky, Cincinnati, vice-presidents; Herman Handmaker, Louisville, treasurer.

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