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Rift in New Orleans Jewish Community Center Widens; Charges Voiced

March 2, 1967
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Label A. Katz, former president of B’nai B’rith, charged today that Robert Reisfeld, president of the New Orleans Jewish Community Center, was confusing the issue of the Center’s membership policy. Mr. Katz is spokesman for some 140 Center members who seek a general membership meeting to consider their “all-Jewish” membership policy.

Mr. Katz asserted that Mr. Reisfeld, in a letter dated January 25 “and sent only to non-Jewish members of the Center,” had indicated that the all-Jewish membership policy was a view held only by Mr. Katz. Mr. Katz noted that the 140 members had sent Mr. Reisfeld a petition last November 25 urging such a policy.

Mr. Katz said that in that letter and in one to the general membership on January 20, the JCC president had failed to mention a resolution adopted by the Center board on August 31, 1966 which ruled that “until further action” by the board, membership would be restricted to Jews and no further bids from non-Jews would be accepted.

Mr. Katz also asserted that Mr. Reisfeld had neglected, in a press statement, to mention that “the petitioners urged the acceptance of the 18 non-Jewish families whose applications had been submitted before August 31 and that we have further suggested that under all circumstances, present non-Jewish members should retain their membership if they chose.”

The former B’nai B’rith president also contended that a mail ballot of the membership on the issue, now being considered by a study committee “cannot serve as a substitute for a general membership meeting.”

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