Shroder Awards to 4 Jewish Communities and 2 National Jewish Organizations
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Shroder Awards to 4 Jewish Communities and 2 National Jewish Organizations

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Four Jewish com- munities and two national Jewish organizations were presented with 1974 William J. Shroder Awards, the highest service honor given by the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds to Jewish communal agencies, at the five-day CJF 43rd General Assembly here, which ended yesterday. The Assembly was attended by 2500 Jewish communal leaders from the U.S., Canada and abroad.

The communities honored include Cleveland, in the large city category; Milwaukee, among the intermediate-size cities, Madison, Wisconsin, In the small city group, and the Joint Distribution Committee, the National Jewish Welfare Board and the Jewish Community Center of Minneapolis which received a special award for their combined consultative services to the Jewish community of Rome, Italy.

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland, of which Morton L. Mandel is president, was honored for “its initiative and planning to help stabilize and assure continuity of a Jewish neighborhood,” Cleveland Heights. The Milwaukee Jewish Federation, of which Max H. Karl is president, received the award for its ‘innovative inter-agency service to youth, college students and the elderly.” The Madison Jewish Welfare Council, of which Mrs. Chita Bessman is president, was honored “for its comprehensive model program of services to the elderly.”

Edward Ginsberg of Cleveland is president of the JDC and Daniel Rose of New York Is president of the JWB, the two agencies which shared the special award for services to the Jewish community of Rome with the Minneapolis JCC of which Mrs. George Seicer is president. William Budd, who directed the operation in Rome, is executive director of the Minneapolis JCC, a beneficiary agency of the Minneapolis Federation for Jewish Service.


The award to Cleveland, according to the Shroder Award Committee, was made in recognition of efforts to halt “the urban erosion in the past decade” which developed in Cleveland Heights, which, bordering on Cleveland proper, “has been s a significant center of life and the seat of many of the Federation’s key institutions for at least half a century.”

The Cleveland Federation has already allocated $170,000 to the project and is currently considering providing an additional $200,000. The 17 Jewish agencies of the area were enlisted in an effort to prevent panic among 16,000 Cleveland Heights Jews. That effort resulted in an overall Cleveland Heights Congress of 200 religious, civic and business organizations which succeeded in halting flight and in maintaining the same sized Jewish community in an integrated area. The project stimulated the city of Cleveland Heights to approve a $19 million municipal bond issue to rehabilitate the schools of the community.

The Milwaukee award was a tribute to the success of the Federation in establishing a collaborative program through which three of its major agencies–the Jewish Vocational Services, the Jewish Family and Children’s Services, and the Jewish Community Center–worked together in developing new and more extensive programs for both the elderly and the youth, in which they availed themselves of government financing without eroding the sectarian purposes of the programs. In the process, various programs affecting young and old were expanded from a 1972-73 cost of $194,000 to $386,500, with government allocations covering a good deal of the added cost.


The award to Madison was for providing a comprehensive service for the elderly. The Award Committee felt that the Madison program was particularly noteworthy in that it demonstrated that communities with less than 5000 Jews could successfully offer an “overall service comparable to those generally made available id larger communities that have the added resources of a Jewish Community Center and a Jewish Family Service.”

The committee said that the Senior Adult Service program with its four-point effort–counseling, volunteer home visitation, social and recreational programming and relatedness to residents in nursing homes–provides “a model for other small, organized Jewish communities in meeting the needs of the elderly.”

With the JDC advising and helping to fund the program, the JWB’s cooperation and the JCC of Minneapolis providing the services of a staff member on loan, a Jewish Community Center was developed in Rome to a point where it is now self-sustaining after having received financial aid in its earlier stages.

The Rome Jewish community, the oldest in the Western world, has been almost obliterated as an aftermath of the war and the Holocaust. Now. the Kadimah Jewish Center has a program comparable to such facilities in North America. In addition, it provides counseling, Jewish educational facilities in the Italian language and a Young Leadership development program which has promise for the future of the Rome Jewish community.

The awards were presented by Mrs. William M. Green of San Francisco, chairman of the Awards Committee. The Shroder Awards were established by the CJF in 1953 as a continuing tribute to William J. Shroder, its founder and first president They are given annually in recognition of outstanding contributions by Jewish voluntary communal health and welfare organizations to local, regional, national or international progress.

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