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March 16, 1973 - Image 57

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1973-03-16

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March 16, 1973—Supplement to The Jewish News—Page 37

Malben—JDC's Service for the Aged

By HARRY ROSEN

Malben, the arm of the American Joint Distribution
Committee in Israel, was organized by World Jewry in
1949 to attack some of the enormous social and health
problems which accompanied the mass immigration dur-
ing the early years of Israel's statehood. JDC-Malben
had to function on an emergency basis to cope with the
problems of the chronically ill, the aged and the handi-
capped, who made up a large proportion of this early
immigration. More than a half million men, women and
children poured into the newly-formed state within a
three-year period — and every fifth one received some
type of JDC-Malben service, with funds provided by the
United Jewish Appeal.
The emergency services provided on a massive basis
by JDC-Malben helped to overcome the threat of such
diseases as tuberculosis and trachoma. The programs on
behalf of the aged, chronically ill, and the handicapped
grew and developed a momentum of their own. JDC-
Malben took on the function of social catalyst and in-
novator, thinking ahead as to future needs, setting up
demonstration projects and involving the local population
in their implementation.
Some idea of JDC-Malben's innovative role in the
health, welfare and educational spheres can be obtained
from the following few examples:
JDC-MALBEN was instrumental in founding the
voluntary Association for the Planning and Development
of Services for the Aged, which provides regional geri-
atric centers where the sick aged were housed. Various
community services, including counseling, hot lunches,
housekeeping services and "Golden Age Clubs" were
provided for aged but healthy persons. JDC-Malben con-
tinues together with local agencies as an active partner
and has agreed to provide half of the Association's
$8,300,000 budget.
Another important step was the conclusion of an
agreement this year whereby JDC-Malben, in April 1973,
will transfer to the Association its remaining three homes
for the aged and its one remaining hospital for the aged,
and will contribute to the Association $3,000,000 for each
of the next eight years in order to insure their successful
operation. All the institutions for the aged will be avail-
able to the entire population, the settled old-timers as
well as the new immigrants.
In addition, JDC-Malben is establishing a Geronto-
logical Institute in Israel to study all facets of the prob-
lems of the aged, and to provide training opportunities
for professional personnel working with the aged.
JDC-Malben has launched a program to help create
special wards in regional and municipal hospitals where
the chronically ill can be rehabilitated as much as
possible and then sent home.
JDC-Malben has also served as a catalyst in the care
of handicapped children in Israel, children afflicted with
some form of physical, emotional or mental handicaps.
In this role it has counseled and given substantial
financial aid to voluntary agencies dealing in such
specialized fields as: the mentally retarded, spastic chil-
dren, children with minimal brain damage, children with
speech and hearing defects, blind children, etc.
The most significant contribution that JDC-Malben
has made in this area is the impetus it provided in the
establishment of child development centers. These cen-
ters, employing the multi-disciplinary approach, assesses
the handicapped child thoroughly — from the physical,
psychological and neurological standpoints — in order
to discover the source, nature, and extent of the dis-
ability and to prescribe the therapy.
The stress of the centers is upon early detection
and assessment of the handicap, as well as treatment
and follow-up care. The six child development centers
which JDC-Malben has helped to set up are destined to
point the way to similar centers throughout the country.
A sizable portion of JDC's professional and financial

resources have been geared to fill the important gaps
regarding mental health problems. JDC-Malben initiated
a study of mental health needs by an international expert
in the field. The chief recommendation was the creation
of a Joint Trust Fund for the Development of Psychiatric
Services, which would help to set up a modern national
wide mental health program. Since 1958, JDC-Malben, in
partnership with the appropriate authorities, expended
through the fund over $8,000,000 in expanding mental
health services.
One of the most significant projects undertaken by
the fund was the creation of the Comprehensive Com-
munity Mental Health Center in Jaffa, the first of its
kind in Israel. Designed as an alternative to the much
more expensive and overly-emphasized institutionaliza-
tion of patients, the Jaffa demonstration project offers
five services: preventive and early detection of illnesses
through counseling and education; out-patient treatment
for persons who can live at home; emergency services
for persons who suffer an acute breakdown; part-time
hospitalization; and a small full-time hospital for those
in need of intensive treatment for limited periods.
The development of professional and para-profes-
sional staff for the health and social welfare services, is
in large measure due to the initiative provided by JDC-
Malben. This includes the founding of the Paul Baerwald
School of Social Work at the Hebrew University, which
in turn was instrumental in creating two other social
work schools, the School of Communicative Disorders at
the Tel Aviv University established to train speech
therapists. In addition, it includes the Dr. Joseph J.
Schwartz Graduate Program for the Training of Com-
munity Center Directors and Seniors Personnel set up to
train the personnel for the community centers which are
being built in Israel and which are so vital to the fusion
of the heterogeneous elements of Israel's population.

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