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February 02, 1996 - Image 3

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-02-02

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

THE JEWISH NEWS

13 FRONT

This Week's Top Stories

All For One, Patiently

support the merger, but not all
agreed with a three-year plan to
earmark a pre-established dollar
amount from their annual cam-
paigns for overseas causes.
However, Mr. Aronson thinks
the plan will eventually gain ap-
proval from federations through-
out the United States.
"Some of the communities rep-
resented at the conference were
hearing about these things for
the first time," he said. "I think
it's going to require some mental
processing."
During the meeting, members
of the four organizations — and
the committee in charge of merg-
ing them — reached no decision
but did inch closer to a resolution,
a federation official said. They are
expected to draw up a plan by
May — after holding regional
consultations with federations
around the country.
The organizations plan to im-
plement the new format by Jan.
1, 1997, Mr. Tauber said, after
the federations vote on it.
"It takes time — there are a lot
of negotiations going on between
the groups," said Jeffrey lain of
the Palm Beach, Fla., Jewish fed-
eration. "This is a very threaten-
ing exercise to some groups."
Mr. Aronson said it's too early
to predict how board members of
the Detroit Federation will greet
the proposal. Many are with-

The biggest merger in Jewish organizational history
may be around the corner.

BOAZ DVIR SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

I

t is the biggest potential
merger in Jewish orga-
nizational history — the
largest consolidation
since the Haganah, Irgun
and Lehi combined forces
in 1948 to form the Israel
Defense Forces.
During a meeting in
Fort Lauderdale this week, rep-
resentatives of 100 Jewish fed-
erations voiced their opinions
about a proposal to merge four of
the top North American Jewish
organizations: the United Jew-
ish Appeal (UJA), the United Is-
rael Appeal (UIA), the American
Jewish Joint Distribution Com-
mittee (JDC) and the Council of
Jewish Federations (CJF).
Joel Tauber of Detroit, UJA
national chairman who co-chairs

Boaz DVir is a staff writer for The

Palm Beach Jewish Times.
Editor Phil Jacobs contributed to
this report.

RUTH LITTMANN STAFF WRITER

the Committee on Na-
need to have a more
tional Structure, said
'efficient national sys-
last week that he ex-
tem.
pected opposition.
"The bottom line is
But on Tuesday, in
that we need one
a press conference call
place that represents
after the meeting, Mr.
all of the concerns of
Tauber said, "I found
the Jewish communi-
no disagreement over
ty as we move for-
our vision and our
ward into the 21st
mission. There was a
century. We want one
word here and a word
national agency to ar-
there that people
ticulate one vision of
Joel D. Tauber
wanted changed. But
where the American
everyone was basical-
Jewish community is
ly on the same page."
going and where Detroit fits into
For the past two years, the com- that scene."
mittee responsible for the merger
Part of the quest for unifica-
has been formulating a plan to tion is a marketing plan that
combine the four agencies.
would help explain to Allied Jew-
Detroit Federation Executive ish Campaign contributors ex-
Vice President Robert Aronson actly where their money is going.
acknowledged that the national Merger committee members say
Jewish agencies are likely to ex- their goal is to simplify and clar-
perience drastic changes, in- ify Jewish philanthropy.
cluding staff reductions. But he
Mr. Aronson said most partic-
supports the merger because "we ipants in the Florida conference

-

holding comment until they re-
view the final proposal, to be re-
leased some time this spring.
The four organizations have
more than 300 employees and
budgets totaling more than $38
million.
The CJF acts as the represen-
tative body of the 189 North
American Jewish federations.
The UJA collects money from the
federations for overseas needs
such as Operation Exodus, which
paid for the airlift of hundreds of
thousands of Jews from the for-
mer Soviet Union to Israel. Then
the UJA allocates the money to
either the UTA, which funds pro-
grams in Israel, or the JDC,
which funds programs around
the world, except in Israel and
North America.
The federations have been re-
ducing the percentage of their an-
nual campaigns that they
allocate to the UJA in recent
years. The national average now
stands at about 40 percent. De-
troit gives 57 percent. The U.S.
federations gave the UJA $797
million last year, $23 million less
than what they gave in 1989.
Critics of the current system
have noted that it has too much
duplication, excess bureaucracy
and waste. But while the new
plan holds great promise for the
Jewish community, the process
is painful, Mr. Tauber said. 0

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learning center f or
Jewish students i n

7

DAVID ZEMAN STAFF WRITER

W

/-

The final touches are applied to a $20,000 library.

hen. Machon LTorah purchased a
turreted, three-story home on Hill
Street in Ann Arbor nearly two
years ago, its directors figured it
would be only a matter of months before
Jewish university students would stroll
through its doors for lectures and Torah
study.
But the home — which looked stately
from the outside, but like the fraternity
house that it had been on the inside --
proved a stubborn challenge.
We didn't realize the enormity of the
MACHON L'TORAH page 15

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