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American Ort Conference Approves $12,000, 000 Budget; Sets U.S. Share

January 24, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A five year plan to expand vocational and educational services to impoverished and displaced Jews overseas was approved today by 500 delegated attending the 44th annual national conference of the American ORT Federation, held here at the Hotel Commodore, Almost 50, 000 persons are expected to receive such aid during 1966.

The conference also approved a $12, 000, 000 budget of the World ORT Union for 1966. This is the highest budget in the organization’s history and is $1, 475, 000 more than last year’s Major increases were assigned to ORT programs in Israel, France, Iran, India and Morocco, Allocations totaling $3,500, 000 were voted as the American share of this total. The balance is expected to be met overseas.

The delegates ratified an agreement with Joint Distribution Committee, a member agency of the United Jewish Appeal, for a contribution of $1, 950, 000 toward American support of ORT services abroad. Mrs. Helen Rosenberg, president of Women’s American ORT announced that her 65, 000 member organization would contribute $1, 335, 000 during 1966. Other groups affiliated with the American ORT Federation pledged support.

Dr, William Haber, who was reelected president of American ORT Federation, reported at the conference that the key elements of the plan include increasing ORT trade and technical high school facilities and the establishment of a network of apprenticeship centers in Israel in order to admit larger numbers of immigrant youth, the organization of teacher training programs to staff the added classrooms, construction of new trade schools in France to serve the job training needs of some 200, 000 recent North African Jewish immigrants, and the enlargement of ORT programs in India, Iran and other areas.


President Lyndon B. Johnson, in a message to the conference, stated: “As an organization you have reason to take pride in your heritage. Amidst the horrors of war and upheaval, you have provided strength for more than survival, you have brought the hope of renewal to countless thousands. In Africa, the Middle East and throughout the world, working independently and in cooperation with our Agency for International Development, you continue the good work of retrieving and retraining human beings for useful careers, I note that your special guest this evening is Justice of the Supreme Court Abe Fortas, In honoring him you honor yourselves. I congratulate you both.”

The delegates approved the extension of ORT contracts with the Agency for International Development for training services in the West African countries of Guinea and Mali, following a report on these projects submitted by New York Domestic Relations Judge Maurice Bernhardt, recently elected chairman of the organizations Administrative Committee. Max A. Braude, who was honored on the completion of his first decade as Director General of World ORT, reported that ORT vocational projects provided training to over 46, 000 persons during 1965, an increase of 3,800 over the previous year.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, who was appointed by President Johnson last July, addressed an evening dinner session of the conference. Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, executive vice-chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, addressing the same session, declared that the “era of mass transplantations, in the course of which 1, 750, 000 Jews have migrated to new lands, is still with us. We have come to rely on immigration as the method by which scattered and endangered communities shall be enabled to rejoin the main body of the Jewish people.”

In presenting the 1966 budget, Paul Bernick, executive director of the American ORT Federation, warned that these expenditures anticipated a deficit of over $600, 000, but that “we dare not cut this without doing great hurt to many people who look to ORT to help them.” He announced that during 1966, ORT will pass the $100,000, 000 mark in postwar expenditures for economic relief and training of 565, 000 persons in 35 countries.

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