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At the 50th CJF Assembly: Mandel Views Future ‘we Can Design for Our Children and Grandchildren’

November 13, 1981
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The Council of Jewish Federations opened its 50th anniversary General Assembly here last night with an address by Morton Mandel, the outgoing CJF president, in which he looked ahead toward a future “we can design for our children and gandchildren.”

Mandel, in viewing the future, told the more than 2,500 representatives from the 200 Jewish Federations in the United States and Canada which comprise the CJF that he visualized a closer relationship between Federations and synagogues; progress in areas like Jewish education, leadership and development in financial management; Federation leaders playing a major role in seeking to promote welfare and dignity of all; and working with others to renew and develop distressed neighborhoods.

“On the international scene, I look forward to a relationship with Israel that is on a much deeper level — that is, a people-to-people basis. This will be different from and better than what we have today,” Mandel declared.

As one example of this new relationship, he cited Project Renewal which, “though still a young program, has every likelihood of creating a sound and rewarding people-to-people relationship.” Along with rebuilding neighborhoods, he said, Project Renewal “may well be a major opportunity to weld together diaspora communities and Israeli communities.”

Mandel stated that the Jewish Agency will require continuing attention, particularly if the present promise for change is to develop. “The current self-study of the Jewish Agency, in which our leaders are deeply involved,” he said,” holds great potential for helping the Jewish Agency to be more responsive to the needs of the people it serves.”


He viewed the future with “tough-minded optimism,” based on a sober analysis of “both our assets and liabilities — on the one hand, our impressive track record, and our great opportunities; on the other, the dangers of a world in disarray, hostile forces overseas and assimilation at home.”

Mandel disclosed that overall campaign results in the United States had definitely improved, since CJF and United Jewish Appeal have been working more closely together, Furthermore, he said, Federations’ endowment funds are growing at an astonishing pace and “we should reach $1 billion within five years.”

He declared that the American Jewish community has been deeply involved in assessing the impact of the Reagan Administration’s budget cuts on Federations’ social services and that “our political leaders were informed that our conviction is that government-financed services cannot be replaced by the voluntary sector.”

Mandel concluded by stating that “we must be insured that all of this is done in a Jewish framework that preserves and enhances our basic value — our Jewish way of life.” He spoke following the showing of a film reviewing 50 years of North American Jewish history as seen through the eyes of CJF past presidents.

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