Jewish Communities in U.S. Veering Toward Centralized Communal Structure, Survey Shows
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Jewish Communities in U.S. Veering Toward Centralized Communal Structure, Survey Shows

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Jewish communities throughout the country are veering toward a centralized communal structure going beyond traditional philanthropies to retrace all functions of general Jewish concern, a survey of developments among federations, welfare fund and community councils conducted by the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds reveals.

The result of the survey, made public today, shows that communities are coming to the conclusion that it is more effective and efficient to have one central communal body rather than two or three parallel agencies. More marked in the past among the smaller cities, this trend has become increasingly evident in medium and large cities bring the last few months. It has involved reorganization of existing structure, and mergers of two or more agencies, In each case action has been preceded by careful local study and full discussion, often over a period of several months.

Among the large communities, Newark is now considering a plan to reorganize the Essex County Council of Social Agencies into a Jewish community council. A feature of the proposal is a large assembly composed of representatives of Jewish organizations and of individual contributors. The assembly would elect a board of trustees of 60 persons from the assembly membership. Contributors would elect their representatives on the assembly by mail baliot, thus giving all a direct opportunity to participate in the election. The community council would have responsibility for fund raising, budgeting, social planning, community relations, and in general would combine the functions exercised by separate federations, welfare funds, community councils, and community relations bureaus in other large cities.


The Jewish welfare federation and Jewish community council of Kansas City have agreed in principle to merge into one central organization. Specific plans are now being worked out for the new structure. The federation has been the fund raising and budgeting organization, and the community council has been a delegate body dealing with some philanthropic affairs and community relations.

A third large community, Hartford, is also in the final stages of merging its Jewish community council and Jewish welfare fund to form a new single organization, the federation. Here too, it is planned to have the single organization include fund raising, budgeting, social planning, community relations, and broad problems of general Jewish concern.

Detroit and Buffale are studying possibilities of communal reorganization. Providence has formed the General Jewish Committee to replace the temporary United Jewish Appeal The aim of the new organization is to stabilize the fund raising on a permament basis and to make possible social planning. Atlantic City has reorganized the structure of its Federation of Jewish Charities. The new constitution provides for a combination of individual and organizational representatives on the governing body, consistent with the pattern developing in other communities.

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