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People’s Relief Program Launched

December 17, 1923
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The campaign to raise America’s quote towards a million dollar reconstruction fund of the European “Ort” was launched at a dinner Saturday evening at the Aldine Cluh given by the combined People’s Relief-“Ort” Organizations, and attended by more than 500 guests.

Israel Zangwill, while praising the work of the European “Ort” in furnishing agricultural implements and instruction to Jews throughout Central and Eastern Europe took occasion to criticise Samuel Gompers for his “un-American stand on immigration” and Dr. Chaim Weizmann for the insufficiency of the Zionist program. Mr. Zangwill said:

“I am in thorough accord with Dr. Weizmann’s recent warning that the Jewish pogrom line is creeping from the Vistula to the Rhine and moving even still more westward, and that at least 8,000,000 Jews are menaced with massaacres. I fail, however, to see any relation between this menace and Dr. Weizmann’s conclusion, that the most important thing in the Jewish world is to collect money for Palestine.

“I regret, however, that there should be all these competing appeals for money instead of their all coming, as I suggested at Carnegie Hall, before a Jewish World Congress which should collect the entire budget for the salvation of the hapless members of the Jewish faith and adjust their respective claims. I regret also that I should have to plead this cause before a labor organization of which Samuel Gompers is a leading light, for although Gompers is an cutstanding figure, his work in restricting immigration, for selfish labor reasons, is not only un-Jewish but un-American.”

Other speakers were Judge Jacob Panken, Colonel Herbert Lehman, and Cyrus Sulzberger. Justice Panken said:

“The People’s Committee, with the aid of the Joint Distribution Committee, had established schools in which there were upward of 65,000 children receiving instruction.

“The “Ort” supplemented that work”, he added, “by establishing vocational training schools where thousands and thousands of children are being taught trades. We realize that cultural guidance, cultural growth is not enough to ehabilitate the children, the youth left ignorant, unprovided and unprotected by the war. We realize that we must place in their hands the means of earning their living by some labor.”

Dr. A. Singelowsky, a member of the “Ort” delegation, made a stirring appeal for the organization which helps East-European Jews to help themselves. He emphasized that it was more important to think more of what they were doing than of what was being done for them. Dr. Singelowsky drew a glowing picture of the reconstruction work and of the tremendous development of Jewish agriculture and industry in Russia and in the Ukraine.

The world which rushed to aid in the reconstruction of Belgium has shown no concern over the destruction of Jewish centers, Dr. Singelowsky declared. Jews, he said, must pay their own reparation.

Colonel Lehman reviewed the Joint Distribution Committee’s reconstruction work in Europe and as an expression of his profound sympathy with the “Ort” made a contribution of $2,000 towards the fund.

Representatives of organizations present pledged $150,000 of which $7,000 was in cash.

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