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Label Katz Denounces ‘quota Membership Policy’ of New Orleans Jewish Center

April 2, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Label A. Katz, honorary international president of B’nai B’rith, announced today that he had resigned from membership in the New Orleans Jewish Community Center in protest against the adoption of a quota membership policy fixing at 20 percent the number of non-Jewish members to be admitted. He described the decision to establish a quota as “un-Jewish, un-American and un-democratic.”

Mr. Katz said in a statement that he had supported a policy requiring a person to be a Jew to be eligible for membership in the Center. However, he said, if two-thirds of the general membership had favored an open membership policy, he could have supported it, “provided all non-Jewish applicants would be accepted, irrespective of race, color or religion.” He pointed out that in 1966, approximately 20 percent of the members were non-Jewish, only one family being Negro. The Center froze its membership list in 1967 and conducted a study of membership policy, concluding that non-Jewish members could not be accepted in excess of 20 percent in each category.

Mr. Katz protested that the decision had not been submitted to the membership. He declared that the National Jewish Welfare Board had actively participated in the discussions leading to the quota policy and “cannot dis-associate itself from this action.” Mr. Katz asserted that “other Jewish community centers covertly engage in the same practice, but no Jewish Community Center has been so bold as to state it so baldly.”

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