J.D.C. Conference Adopts $29,593,000 Budget; to Aid 250,000 in 1959
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J.D.C. Conference Adopts $29,593,000 Budget; to Aid 250,000 in 1959

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A $29,593,000 budget for 1959 was voted here today at the 44th annual meeting of the Joint Distribution Committee for the relief and rehabilitation activities of the organization in 25 countries. Edward M. M. Warburg was re-elected JDC chairman for the 14th consecutive year.

Addressing the 500 delegates from all parts of the country, Mr. Warburg emphasized the history-making role of the JDC in the life of Jewish communities throughout the world. “We are meeting,” the JDC chairman said, “not merely to adopt a budget but to adopt as our very own the hopes of a little boy in Morocco and the dreams of a little girl in Poland, and the vision of a bearded patriarch who has seen many lands in his lifetime and now has come to Israel.

“Thanks to what we do here, “Mr. Warburg said, “a family of refugees will find in France the refuge they have been seeking and an end to an odyssey of pain. And in Israel a man of 80 will sift the soil, and breathe the clean air and know that the weary wandering years are done and that here at last will he have peace and a home.”

Moses A. Leavitt, JDC executive vice-chairman, told the audience: “We are faced today with a picture of expanding Jewish needs overseas, of larger numbers of men, women and children in critical need of assistance. Despite the great volume of aid which American Jewry has provided since the war to needy Jews abroad, the fact is that in the past year we have been unable to keep pace with the increased needs of Jews in France, sections of Eastern Europe and a large part of the Moslem world.”

Mr. Leavitt listed JDC’s major responsibilities in 1959 as: aid to thousands of Jews in Poland, including repatriates from Russia and members of the so-called “settled” population; assistance to Hungarian, Egyptian and North African Jewish refugees in France, Italy and other parts of Western Europe; medical, feeding and other supplementary assistance to some 100,000 Jews in Moslem areas, principally North Africa; and continued large-scale aid to aged, ill and handicapped newcomers to Israel. The JDC leader said that the JDC must aid a minimum of 250,000 Jewish men, women and children overseas during the coming year.

Herbert Agar, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who also spoke at the session, declared that the creation of Israel “has helped to change the role of the Jew in world affairs.” A recent visitor to Poland, Mr. Agar called that country “a shallow grave-yard” where one can “hardly put a spade in the ground without turning up the bones of those who died because of the Nazis.” He called the Auschwitz concentration camp a “United Nations of the dead.”

James H. Becker, chairman of the JDC national council, submitted a report to the delegates declaring that members of the National Council–leaders of Jewish communities from coast to coast to coast “are largely responsible for the continued and warm acceptance by American Jewry of the programs which JDC places before them.”


The 1956 JDC budget represents an increase of more than $1,600,000 over expenditures in 1958. The largest single appropriation, totalling $11,000,000, will go for support of Malben, the JDC welfare program in Israel serving aged, ill and handicapped newcomers to Israel. The JDC budget is to be submitted this week-end to the National Conference of the United Jewish Appeal, from which JDC receives the bulk of the funds for its humanitarian activities overseas.

The JDC budget was adopted following a report by Charles H. Jordan, director-general for JDC overseas operations, who pointed out that “increased Jewish relief needs in Poland and Moslem areas, and expanded aid programs in France in behalf of unabsorbed Jewish refugees there from Hungary, Egypt and North Africa, largely account for the increase in the budget.”

But the increased budget, Mr. Jordan warned, “covers only continuing assistance programs. It contains no reserve with which to meet new or unexpected developments, or the possible effect on JDC operations, particularly in Israel, of the recently begun Jewish emigration from certain parts of Eastern Europe. Should this emigration assume the very important dimensions that many observers expect, JDC may require greatly increased funds,” he emphasized.

A resolution of support for the nationwide campaigns of the United Jewish Appeal was adopted by the delegates. It declared that “the 44th annual meeting of the Joint Distribution Committee pledges its continued and wholehearted support to the 1959 Campaign of the United Jewish Appeal and to the 1959 Special Fund, and calls upon all Americans to do likewise.”

The resolution noted that “the failure of American Jewry during 1958 to provide the full amounts necessary to the United Jewish Appeal for the life-saving programs of the JDC and other UJA agencies resulted in hardships and suffering which might have been avoided if only UJA campaign goals had been fully met.”

The resolution added that “tens of thousands of Jews overseas are still faced with harassment, homelessness, hunger and disease. In 1959 some 250,000 men, women and children in various parts of the world must continue to look to the Joint Distribution Committee for aid in order to survive, including thousands of Jews in Poland, refugees in many other parts of Europe and more than 100,000 Jews in North Africa and other parts of the Moslem world.”

In addition to re-electing Mr. Warburg, the delegates at the JDC meeting also reelected Mr. Leavitt, executive vice-chairman; Mr. Jordan, director-general, James H. Becker, chairman of the National Council; and Sol Satinsky, of Philadelphia, Council vice-chairman.

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