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May 24, 1991 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-05-24

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

NEWS)

il
•••• Don't Let Sore Feet
Slow You Down!

`The Joint': Walking
The Line To Help Jews

Dr. Steven Schreier, D.P.M.

For the Joint Distribution Committee,
discretion is nearly as important as
raising money.



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0

he American Jewish
Joint Distribution
Committee walks a
thin line when it tries to aid
Jews in nations either
highly sensitive about Jew-
ish issues, or downright
hostile toward Israel.
That is why some JDC ac-
tivities are never publicly
acknowledged until after
they are completed — and
the Jews in question are out
of danger.
In the Jewish state,
however, the JDC —
sometimes called "the
Joint" — walks a thin line
for another reason. There
the problem is how to help
Soviet, Ethiopian and other
recent immigrants without
also upsetting long-time
Israelis who must balance
family budgets without the
help of charity dollars from
the United States.
It's a balancing act that
Michael Schneider, JDC ex-
ecutive vice president,
struggles with on a daily
basis.
"We think the Jewish
world must pay more atten-
tion to the strain in social
services in Israel resulting
from the large amount of
money being shifted to the
(Soviet) o/im," said Mr.
Schneider, whose 77-year-
old organization is dedicated
to helping Jews around the
world.
"The shortage of money for
all needs is causing tensions
between ohm new immi-
grants) and sabras (native-
born Israelis) and halut-
zim (Israel's pioneers)" he
said, during a recent visit to
Baltimore for a series of
meetings with Jewish com-
munity leaders.
Mr. Schneider said his
visit was part of a concerted
JDC effort to increase the
agency's visibility, par-
ticularly among the younger
generation of American Jew-
ish leaders.
"We have realized that
there is a whole generation
of leaders coming up who
were not with us in
(Europe's displaced persons)

Ira Rifkin is assistant editor of
the Baltimore Jewish Times.

camps in the 1950s," when
JDC was instrumental in
aiding Holocaust survivors,
he said. "They just do not
know how compelling our
work is. And unless they
find out, we could lose their
support."
The JDC, said Mr.
Schneider, deals with the
situation in Israel by trying
to maintain its "regular"
level of aid to the Jewish
state, while also coping with
the ever-increasing demand
for "emergency" help
targeted specifically at new
arrivals.
Between a quarter and a
third of the JDC's 1991
Israel allocation of about $21

<

The organization
tries to steer clear
of politics while
delivering
humanitarian aid.

million will go to emergency
programs that directly
benefit new immigrants —
Soviets, Ethiopians and
others.
JDC's total 1991 budget is
$62.3 million, which comes
primarily from local com-
munity federation-United
Jewish Appeal fund-raising
campaigns.
Among the emergency
programs funded are senior
citizen and job training ser-
vices, Mr. Schneider said.
JDC regular programming
in Israel includes training
social service and municipal
government officials, and
aiding in the decentraliza-
tion of Israel's health services
delivery system.
The JDC's approach
toward Israel's problems are
indicative of its dealings
with non-Jewish nations.
The organization tries to
steer clear of politics while
delivering humanitarian aid
to Jews — and, in some
cases, non-Jews — who are
in immediate need.
"Our goals have not
changed since our incep-
tion," said Mr. Schneider, a
13-year JDC veteran, who
worked for the organiza-
tion in Iran, Hungary,
Czechoslovakia, France and
Ethiopia prior to assuming
the agency's top staff posi-

K

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