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June 06, 1986 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-06-06

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Friday, June 6, 1986


had concerned them when the two bodies
were separated.

hese trends are most evi-
dent in Jewish education
for the Diaspora. The
reconstituted Agency's
first ventures into this
field in fact preceeded the
Caesarea process, with the
establishment of two funds for Diaspora
Jewish education. The Pincus Fund for
Jewish Education in the Diaspora was
founded in 1975, to assist in the develop-
ing of Jewish education programs and in-
stitutions outside of Israel. The Joint Pro-
gram for Jewish Education was founded in
1979 to fund Jewish education programs
for the Diaspora that are developed or car-
ried out in Israel. Over the years, the funds
allocated about $30 million to about 250
projects, and disbursed close to $20 million
by the end of 1985.
The Pincus Fund is chaired by Max
Fisher of Detroit, founding chairman of the
Board of Governors of the reconstituted

Agency and former president of the Coun-
cil of Jewish Federations. The Joint Pro-
gram is chaired by Morton Mandel of
Cleveland, former president of the JWB
and the CJF. Mandel also chairs a new
Agency committee on Jewish education
established in 1984.
The Pincus Fund operates as a founda-
tion, providing grants from the interest
earned on its capital, which today amounts
to about $25 million. The Jewish Agency
has contributed most of the capital, the
government of Israel about $4 million, and
the WZO and American Joint Distribution
Committee about $1 million each. The
Joint Program was supposed to make

Where Do All Our Dollars Go?

grants from equal sums budgeted annual-
ly by the Agency and the government, but
in practice the Agency has put in most of
the money at the program's disposal. The
government's contributions to both funds
have fallen short of its original commit-
A recent study examining the structure
and performance of both funds has pointed
to a number of problems. The study, car-
ried out in 1985 by Dr. Mervin Verbit, con-
cluded that the funds have not formulated
clear long-range goals for the enhancement
of Jewish education to guide them in their
allocation policy. It recommended that
they should make comprehensive assess-
ments of the needs of Jewish• education in
various communities, to determine the
specific goals to which they would lend
their support.
The funds have not yet discussed the
report, which has not been published, and
no official comment was available on its
The study also pointed out the problem-
atic relation of the WZO departments of

education and youth to the funds, which
is particularly acute in the case of the Joint
Program. The WZO contributes none of
the funds for the Joint Program, but its
representatives sit on the committee that
makes the crucial recommendations for
allocations. What is more, the departments
themselves are among the most frequent
applicants for money! Such conflicts of in-
terest have also affected past and present
members of this committee, who are or
have been connected to institutions that
received some of the biggest grants from
the Joint Program.
In general, there has been considerable
tension between the WZO departments —

which feel that they should have more of
a say in how the funds allocate their
money, and that more of this money should
be used to fund their ongoing activities —
and other members of the funds' boards.
Some of the others believe that the funds
"should, be totally independent of the

Jerusalem would con-
tinue to be viewed as
a bottleneck instead
of as a hub for
communication and

departments and thus able to provide as-
sistance to Jewish education in ways that
are free of the organizational and political
considerations that are seen to influence
the decisions of the departments." Another
political consideration noted in the funds'
work has been the perceived "need to be
`even-handed' in responding to similar pro-
posals from competing institutions." Other
observers have noted a tendency to shut
out applications from institutions that
were not favorably regarded by some of the
more influential members of the funds'
'lb reduce some of these difficulties, the
report proposed that the boards and com-
mittees of the funds be expanded to in-
clude "a number of distinguished, inde-
pendent people who are not tied to the
partners in the funds or to major grant
While noting the efficient work of the
funds in monitoring the use of the money
by grant recipients, the report also faulted
them for neglecting to institute systematic
procedures to evaluate the effectiveness of
the projects funned.

opes for broader Israel-
based efforts to improve
Diaspora Jewish educa-
tion less hampered by the
political and organiza-
tional interests of the
WZO departments have
been pinned of late on the Jewish Educa-
tion Committee of the Jewish Agency, set
up in 1984 as a result of the Caesarea Pro-
cess. Only about a third of the 30 members
of the committee represent the WZO, while
the rest represent Diaspora communities
and organizations.
According to the committee's senior con-
sultant and coordinator, Prof. Seymour
Fox, the aim of the committee is not to
grow into another department or fund that
would compete with those already existing.
The formal mandate of the committee is to
monitor and coordinate the Agency's pre-

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