Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

U.J.A. Convention Opened; Leaders Lauded for Aiding Millions of Jews

September 9, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The rescue and rehabilitation “of millions of Jews” brought about by funds raised by the United Jewish Appeal was lauded here tonight at the opening of the four-day National Conference of the UJA by Governor George Romney of Michigan. He spoke at the UJA Inaugural Dinner attended by 600 key UJA leaders from all parts of the country. More than 2,5000 Jewish community representatives will attend the remaining sessions at which the goal for the 1967 campaign of the UJA will be set.

If it had not been for the inception of the United Jewish Appeal in 1939, in the dark era of Nazism, Gov. Romney said “countless Jews around the world would now be dead, and millions more would be homeless, hungering and lost.”

“But because you cared,” Gov. Romney continued, “more than 3,000,000 men, women and children have found a better chance for life, liberty and usefulness, either in new lands of freedom or in the countries of their birth. Because you cared, one and a half million human beings have been rescued from oppression and resettled in nations where they can live, as the free men they were born to be. And because you cared, this free land of ours is today the home of more than 100,000 new Americans.”

Gov. Romney also lauded the UJA leaders for helping “to mobilize world opinion in favor of founding of the State of Israel” and to secure “the needed changes in immigration laws so that Jews throughout the world could find havens of freedom.” Max M. Fisher of Detroit, UJA general chairman, presided at the Inaugural Dinner. Other speakers were Sir Isaac Wolfson of London, president of the United Synagogue of Great Britain, and Baron Edmond de Rothschild of Faris, vice-president of the Alliance Israelite Univeselle.


Mr. Fisher emphasized that immigration in 1967 offers “great hopes and great problems” for the United Jewish Appeal. “The impression,” he said, “has gained ground that immigration has stopped. Nothing could be further from the truth. Twenty to twenty-five thousand immigrants will certainly reach Israel in 1967 — a lot of people to receive, house, and care for, especially when costs keep going up.

“Meanwhile we now have the wonderful hope that we may see immigration from Russia. Premier Kosygin has stated publicly that Russia will permit Jews to leave to rejoin families. But if this immigration goes up, so will costs, — by the millions. And let us not forget that we must also help 10,000 immigrants reach Western countries in 1967 through United HIAS.

“We have another problem,” Mr. Fisher told the gathering. “There are 250,000 ‘unabsorbed’ immigrants in Israel — one out of every five of a 1,250,000 we helped to reach the land. Physically they live in 21 frontier development towns. But spiritually, mentally, they live outside of the mainstream of Israeli life. To understand ‘unabsorbed’ one has to see it,” he stressed. “It means — suffering for old people, deprivation for young people, juvenile delinquency, unemployment for adults, and an appalling waste of Israel’s most precious asset — people.”

Mr. Fisher called on leaders of the American Jewish community to make possible a stepped-up program of immigrant absorption to bring “250,000 unabsorbed immigrants in Israel into the mainstream of Israeli life.” He urged American Jewish leaders to raise at least $10,000,000 additional over the $65,000,000 they will have raised in 1966, to make possible an enlarged Jewish Agency program of vocational training, youth clubs, centers, care for the aged programs and health and educational programs for children and youths, to accomplish this goal.


Terming the United Jewish Appeal the “greatest instrument of generosity ever known to man,” Sir Isaac Wolfson saluted the UJA leaders for “exemplary achievements which have written a glorious chapter in Jewish history and helped ensure the survival of

Baron de Rothschild voiced appreciation for the UJA’s aid which “helped to revive the Jewish communities of Europe and to salvage the survivors of Nazi barbarism.” “May I express my admiration to the Jews of America for having responded so nobly,” he added, “and to the Government of the United States for the encouragement it has given to its generous citizens in the support of worthy causes.”

Underlining Sir Isaac Wolfson’s call for greater aid to Israel’s struggling immigrants, Baron de Rothschild also added a plea for continued assistance to thousands of needy Jews in North Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Recommended from JTA