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Significant New Departure Presidents Conference Holds Its First Meeting in California

February 15, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

In what a spokesman called “a significant new departure in our work ,” the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations held its first meeting in California here recently at the invitation of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation-Council . Theodore Mann of Philadelphia, chairman of the Conference of Presidents, said the meeting was “a major step forward in our efforts to bring West Coast Jewish communities into our deliberations and our policy-making process.”

The visit was undertaken, it was learned, in response to a “feeling of isolation” on the part of the Los Angeles Jewish leadership. An estimated 500,000 Jews live in the Greater Los Angeles area, making it the largest American Jewish community outside New York.

However, of the 32 constituent members of the Presidents Conference, only two are headed by Californians, contributing to the sense of distance from the policy-making center in New York. It is understood that the two Californians–Maxwell E. Greenberg, chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith; and Lawrence Weinberg chairman of the American -Israel Public Affairs Committee, both of Los Angeles–joined in their community’s call for greater input into the work of the Presidents Conference.

The meeting marked the first time local leaders of the 32 national Jewish secular and religious bodies that make up the Presidents Conference had taken part in its deliberations .More than 300 persons , representing a cross-section of Los Angeles branches of Presidents Conference member-groups , attended the special session, which was chaired by Mann, The agenda included discussions of U.S. Israel relations, relations with the media and with Congress, the United Nations’ scene and other current issues of Presidents Conference concern.

During talks with community leaders, plans were discussed for direct participation by the Los Angeles Jewish community in the work of the Presidents Conference, This will include regular and frequent contact between the Presidents Conference in New York and Jewish leader in Los Angeles using the latest communications technology, according to Yehuda Hellman, executive director of the Confer- ence, who accompanied Mann to California. Murray Wood, executive director of the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation Council, was in charge of arrangements for the two day meeting.

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