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November 12, 1976 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1976-11-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, November 12, 1976 15

Bons Smolar's

'Between You
... and Me'

Because you approved
of our quality, our value,
and our unique return policy.

Editor-in-Chief
Emeritus, JTA

(Copyright 1976, JTA, Inc.)

• JEWISH REPRESENTATION: The Council of
Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds — which- is
holding this week its 45th annual General Assembly —
is the only central Jewish body that comes close to:the
point of being justified in saying that it expresses the
view of the American Jewish community although it
never comes out with such assertions.
The CJFWF is the central instrument of about 800
organized Jewish communities in. the United States
_ and Canada, embracing 95 percent of the Jewish popu-
on in these two countries. It keeps its finger on
v. _at is going on in organized Jewish life in all its
aspects.
The resolutions of CJFWF's General Assembly
contribute a line of guidance for action by all or-
ganized communities on major problems concerning
Jewish communal life — philanthropic, educational,
fund-raising, community planning, health and welfare
services, overseas services, women's communal ser-
vices, the strengthening of Jewish identity among col-
lege youth and faculty and other fields.
Although not a political body, the CJFWF takes a
definite stand on U.S. aid to Israel, on anti-Israel ac-
tions by the United Nations, on Arab terrorism and
hijacking of planes, on the Arab anti-Jewish boycott,
on Soviet Jews, on taxation in the U.S. affecting
philanthropy, on inflation and unemployment — with
emphasis on the impact of the economic crisis in the
U.S. on human needs — and on Various other similar
subjects. This stand is clearly formulated in resolu-
tions being adopted by the General Assembly.
CJFWF GROWTH: The Council of Jewish Federa-
tions and Welfare Funds is a product of Jewish com-
munal leaders, the great majority of whom are
American-born. The Council was established in 1932.
The constant growth of the number of delegates
attending its General Assembly — more than 2,000
representatives of Jewish communities and institu-
tions are attending the Assembly in Philadelphia —
testifies best to the efforts on the part of the CJFWF to
build a solid continuity of American Jewish communal
life, based on strong Jewish identity and on enhancing
the quality of Jewish life.
With every year one sees more and more young
Jews of the second and even third generation Ameri-
cans, attending the Assembly and taking a deep in-
terest in the discussions there. This is a result of the
Young Leadership program which the CJFWF de-
veloped, helping the local communities to attract the
ablest young men and women to community responsi-
bility and leadership. _
A BURNING ISSUE: One of the major issues on
which the General Assembly in Philadelphia is ex-
pected by many community activists to take a clear
stand is the issue of Soviet Jewish immigration, speci-
fically on whether to help Soviet Jews who upon
reaching Vienna or Rome on their way to Israel,
change their minds and seek their way to the United
States.
The proportion of these "drop-outs" has been in-
creasing. Once they cross the Soviet frontier, they dis-
regard their visas to Israel. They remain in Vienna or
Rome, insisting on staying there while applying for
U.S. visas which are easily available to them under the
U.S. regulations for admitting refugees from coun-
tries of oppression.
Another category of Soviet Jewish emigrants is
similarly under question. These are Jews who had al-
ready been settled in Israel during the last years, but
because it is easy for refugees from the Soviet Union to
obtain entrance to the United States, they leave Israel
and come to Rome to seek there U.S. visas from the
American Consulate. They, like the "drop-outs," en
route to Israel, request the office of the HIAS in Rome
/ help them in securing the U.S. visas. They also
;nest the offices of the Joint Distribution Commit-
te," in Vienna and Rome to maintain them during the
period they are to wait until they are cleared for visas
with authorities in Washington. Many of them
threaten to go to American non-Jewish relief offices in
Rome and Vienna — like the Quakers and the Tolstoy
Foundation — to seek such aid.
There is strong opposition among American
Jewish community leaders to giving aid to those who
are leaving Israel after having been settled there.
A more lenient attitude is taken concerning the
"drop-outs" who choose not to proceed to Israel when
they are still in Vienna or Rome. But even with regard
to them, there is the question whether their action
would not be utilized by the Soviet government to
discontinue emigration to Israel.
The issue is under review by a committee of pro-
fessional experts representing American Jewish
bodies and the Jewish Agency in Israel. Much will
depend on the sentiments expressed at the CJFWF
Assembly.

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17117 W. Nine Mile Road
Southfield, Michigan 48075
(313) 559-6140

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