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Reorganization of J.w.b. Structure, Operations, Services Recommended

February 21, 1962
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Recommendations for a major reorganization of the National Jewish Welfare Board’s national and regional lay and professional structure, operations and service programs were made public today following adoption by the JWB executive committee. The recommendations are an outgrowth of a year-long intensive study by a committee of 51 national leaders. They will be submitted for consideration and action to the national biennial convention of the JWB which will take place in April in Miami Beach.

The first recommendation calls for the “evolution of JWB as a unified agency to the extent feasible, ” in place of the present operation of JWB’s Jewish Community Center and Armed Forces services as distinct local, regional and national entities. A second recommendation provides that “wherever possible the same national and regional staff units of JWB shall be used to serve both the Armed Services and veterans and Jewish Community Center fields.” This proposal is designed to bring JWB services and staff resources into line with new conditions and new types of relationships.

Merging of the present separate regional Jewish Community Center units known as sections and the separate regional Armed Services units “into unified JWB regional bodies” is a third recommendation. This proposal suggests that “all regional bodies move toward appropriate unification in such manner and at such pace as are appropriate to their respective situations.” An experimental period of relationships between the regional units is recommended but consolidation is to occur “only as, if and when those involved concur in the step. ” Provision is made for a review of this proposal two years from the date of adoption.

Recommendation IV provides for the assumption of “maximum local responsibility for services to the Armed Forces and hospitalized veterans, with Jewish Community Centers playing an enlarged role in this program. ” The recommendation further calls for the creation of “a single local JWB unit” to provide service to the Armed Forces and hospitalized veterans in each community where such service is required.


Modification of JWB’s services to Jewish Community Centers by “expansion of highly skilled specialized services and functions and reduced emphasis on generalized counseling, “is provided for in the fifth recommendation. Underlying this recommendation is the fact that while JWB’s program of services to Centers evolved during the period when the Center was making a place for itself in the American Jewish community, the Centers have now attained such a high level of professional competence that many of them can provide from their own staffs some of the resources and skills for which they had previously turned to JWB.

The Centers are now looking to JWB for specialized services and programing guidance in the Jewish cultural area and in heightening the quality of service and programs. The recommendation envisages the development of a basic corps of JWB staff members, each equipped to function both as general and field consultant to regional groupings of Centers and as a specialist in a particular field of programing or administration.

The final recommendation calls for a complete overhaul and reorganization of the national lay structure of JWB whose complexity and elaboration “have impaired its workability, burdened staff unnecessarily, diverted professional resources from use in serving Centers and the Armed Forces and Veterans and caused needless duplicating demands upon lay leadership.”

The proposed changes called for in this recommendation would abolish the present national council of JWB and replace it with a national convention as the organization’s supreme governing body; provide a system of rotating national officers and members of the board of directors; reduce the size of the present board to provide for more efficient functioning and create a National JWB Advisory Council on Services to the Armed Services. The latter would consist of representatives of national Jewish organizations and would meet annually to receive pertinent communications and reports.

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