Jews at Rallies Hear Drive Pleas

New York Times
May 3, 1926

United Campaign Enters Second Week With $2,474, 960 of $6,000,000 lacking


Boy, 9 turns in Savings Bank — Gristede’s to Give 10% of Day’s net — Salesmen offer Commissions

With $2,474,960 of New York’s $6,000,000 quota toward the $15,000,000 national fund for the relief of Jews in Eastern Europe still to be raised, the second and last week of the United Jewish campaign in Greater New York meetings in synagogues, Reformed temples, sabbath schools, Talmud Torah’s, club houses, Y.M.H.A. buildings, community centers, lodge rooms, and labor union headquarters. DAvid M. Bressler, Acting Chairman of the drive, estimated that the total attendace was about 500,000 persons. No contributions were taken at these meetings. but speakers spread the message of the sufferings of millions of Jews abroad to at least one third of the Jewish population of New York City. Last night’s appeal, according to managers of the campaign, is expected greatly swell the total of contribution [sic].

Brown Tells of Emergency

The feature of the series of meetings was an address by David A. Brown, National Chairman of the drive, which was read at all the meetings, Mr. Brown said:

“Never in the history of the Jewish people, dating back for centuries, was there a situation like this, and never before in the history of the Jewish people was was there an emergency as great as this.

“Women and children are dropping on the streets from hunger in Bassarabia [sic]. Many others are found dead in their homes in Poland. A horrible scourge of of typhus is sweeping over the Jews in both lands, adding to the toll of death.

“In thousands of homes, men, women and children are sick to the point of utter exhaustion from hunger. There is another gruesome picture that that is given in the cable received by me and the Joint Distribution Committee in the last few days that unless substantial help came quickly — the Jewish orphan asylums will be compelled to close because their resources have been exhausted to the last penny. Thousands of children will be turned out into the streets to roam about aimlessly, hopelessly, blindly. Many children already on the streets eat what they can find in garbage cans or what they can pilfer from a shop or a stand. They sleep in alleys, in cellars. They are ragged. They are tattered and their morals are being destroyed.

“My European correspondents inform me that hundreds are killing themselves, are hastening death because their sufferings have made them impatient of its arrival.

“This without the slightest attempt at exaggeration is the situation in which millions — I repeat, millions — of our Jews in Europe are trapped. This is the situation which thus far we have coped with almost in vain.

“The Jews of America must immediately respond to this effort; they must make a sum of money greater than has ever been raised in the history of the Jews in this country in order that the tragedy which is overwhelming millions of their own flesh and blood shall be stayed.

Ex-Ambassador Gerard speaks

The help which non-Jews are giving to the drive was illustrated by an address made last night by James W. Gerard, former ambassador to Germany, at the meeting in Temple B’nai Jeshurun, Eighty-eighth Street and West End Avenue.

Contrasting America’s stability with the economic and civil disturbances in European countries, Mr. Gerard showed how, in Eastern Europe, the Jews were the butt of the unrest and were therefore in need of the succor which the campaign is seeking to send.

Mr. Gerard said that while it was peculiarly fitting for those whom the newspapers choose to call ‘Nordics’ to preach and practice tolerance in this country, he wanted his hearers to impress upon the Eastern and Central Jewish immigrants to uphold America’s institutions and not to upset them. He mentioned, among the large contributors to the fund, Felix M. Warburg, Louis Marshall, Benjamin Winter, Frederick Brown and Harry Fischell, and said that they had taken advantage of this country’s opportunities and had become wealthy.

“They didn’t march around with red flags nor did they go to Socialist schools and devise plans whereby this government might be overthrown,” Mr. Gerard said. “They settled down to work and from the wealth they gathered — some by speculating in New York real estate — they are giving so much to their brethren in Europe. But they are entitled to every cent of profit they have made out of real estate, because they bet on the stability of the institutions of the United States.

Mr. Gerard outlined many disturbing factors in Europe today. In England there is the strike, the probable results of which he pictured for his audience. Speaking of France, he said the franc “has almost dropped out of sight and may follow the German mark.” The reason for this, he asserted, is that while the country is economically prosperous, the “citizens refuse to perform their duties as citizens and pay taxes.”

The ex-Ambassador spoke of Mussolini’s dictatorship in Italy, the military dictatorship in Spain, the industrial breakdown in Russia, the political troubles of Rumania and Hungary, and the warfare in Turkey and in Syria. Because the Jews are engaged in commerce and trade these disturbances affect them most keenly, he said.

Mrs. I. D. Morrison, Vice PResident of the sisterhood, presided. There was a musical program in which Miss Dorothea Edwards and Arcady Berkenholz participated.

Extent of Tragedy

Rabbi Israel Goldstein, who introduced Mr. Gerard, said:

“The tragedy of Jewish suffering has never before, until the recent devastating war, covered so large an area or affected so large a population.

“At the same time it is also true, and that is the one great consolation, that never before in any crisis affecting one portion of Jewry, was there as bright a prospect of salvationfrom another portion of Jewry as exists today in the affluence and general wealth of American Israel.

“To raise their quota of $6,000,000 for the relief of Eastern European Jewry, the Jews of New York are not even obliged to curtail their luxuries. It need only come from their unused surplus, so fortunate is their condition in this land at this time.

“I have faith that the Jewish heart, which always beats in rhythm with the Jewish need, will not fail in this emergency.”

The story of the suffering of the Jews of Eastern Europe was told by MR. Bressler in an address before members of Temple Ansche Chesed, 111th Street and Seventh Avenue.

“The eyes of the entire Jewish world are on the Jews of New York during these weeks,” he said. “This, the largest wealthiest Jewish community that has ever existed in the history of our people, is expected to respond adequately to the tragic cry of millions of our flesh and blood, or to plead guilty to the charge of moral murder. The Jew in this city, man or woman, who, not being himself into the $6,000,000 fund will be responsible for the death of some man, woman or child in Europe as responsible need of charity, does not contribute as if he had committed murder with his own hands.”

Service Is Needed

Vice Chairman Jonah J. Goldstein, who was the principal speaker at the Institutional Synagogue, said:

“This is a campaign to save lives over there by raising money here. We need man-power and woman-power to go and get it. We seek service as well as money. No one can excuse himself for not giving because he or she has not been asked. The cries of the sufferers have been loud enough to be heard the world over. The cooperation of the newspapers in bringing this cry to the hearts of the people has been unparalleled in the history of philanthropy in this city. The salvation and lives of one-half of the Jews of the world is in our hands. There must be and is one answer, “Your brothers in Israel are coming to your rescue.”

Judge Grover M. Moscowitz, Chairman of the Brooklyn division of the campaign, addressed several meetings in Brooklyn. Rabbi Louis Gross, Samuel J. Levinson and Harry Helpern also visited organizations making pleas for generous support of the drive.

At the Talmud Torah Pride of Israel in Williamsburg, Judge Moscowitz said:

“The depths of despair reached by our suffering people in Eastern Europe can be equaled only by the depths of degradation reached by those of their coreligionists in this city and country who hear their cries and remain deaf to this appeal.

“If we do not help these people, these men, women and children of our faith, race and kin, then nobody will aid them. Either we help them, or they perish — miserably, hopelessly — not all of them, to be sure, but in unnumbered thousands. That is God’s simple truth. There has never before been a more appalling period in the history of the Jew.”

Judge Mitchell May, addressing a large group in Brownsville, said:

“We hear about the people who are tired of giving and the people who are tired of working and the people who are tired of sacrificing, but do these people who suffer in want and deprivation, who suffer in sickness and disease, do they ever grow tired of that suffering? Do they ever grow tired of sickness and disease? Do we stop and reflect that God has given us strength and health, God has given us power that we can buy all the comforts of the world — that they are our neighbors and our brothers and our children who are starving and in need and distress? I cannot conceive of anyone who can put his head down on his pillow at night and think that someone else is suffering, that someone else is starving and dying, when he could give relief. If there be such a person, he is not a Jew — he has not theinstincts that every Jewish soul must have. He is false to his traditions, false to his people, and false to himself.”

Says Jews Here Won’t Fall

Speaking at Ninth Avenue Temple, Judge Edward Lazansky said:

“Starvation and pestilence are at hand. Thousands of Jews are suffering intensely and at death’s door. They must be succored. The call is irresistable — it cannot be denied. The appeal is heart-rending, it may not be overlooked. The Jews of America, happy and prosperous, are the only ones who have power of staying disaster. They have never failed to do their duty — they will not fail now.”

An appeal was made yesterday to the pupils of several hundred Jewish religious schools in all the boroughs of the city except Brooklyn, which will have its Children’s Day next Sunday. It was estimated that the Children’s gifts would amount to between $50,000 and $75,000 although complete tabulation was not made last night.

The pupils of the Temple B’nai Jeshurus religious school gave $200 and the 250 students in the high school department paid $10 each, to be paid in one year out of their personal allowances. A 6 year old boy took his savings bank, nearly filled with coins, to the campaign headquarters at the Hotel Biltmore and said he wanted to help. The bank holds $10 when filled and does not open until filled, so the boy said he would bring in additional coins until the $10 was reached. Teachers and pupils of the Hebrew Technical School for girls, Second Avenue and Fifteenth Street, gave $100, of which $54.50 was from the pupils.

Mr. Bressler announced that he had a letter from Gristede Brothers, Inc., that this concern would donate to the campaign 10 per cent of the proceeds next Thursday of all cash sales in its 115 chain grocery stores in in Manhatten, the Bronx, Mt. Vernon, Yonkers, New Rochelle, White Plains, Bronxville, LArchmont, Tarrytown, Port Chester, Rye, Pelham, Mamarcneck, Scarsdale, Hastings, and Greenwich Conn. The pledge was secured by Mrs. Isaac Kuble of the Advisory Board of the Women’s Division of the campaign, to which the amount raised will be credited.

Two $1,000 donations from non-Jews were reported by Leon Lauterstein, Chairman of the Rockaway Division. One is from H. Hobart Porter, and the other from Thomas Williams, both of Lawrence L. L. Another non-Jewish contribution reported by Brooklyn headquarters was $2,000 from the W. M. Ritter Flooring Corporation.

Salesmen Pledge Commissions

Salesmen of Kunst & Small, lining makers, a firm represented in the Cotton Goods Committee of the Trade Division, have voluntarily pledged all their commissions earned in the first week of the drive to the fund.

A meeting of the real estate group will be held today at the campaign headquarters to plan the final intensive effort raise $1,000,000 from members of the industry. Harry Goodstein, Chairman of the group, announced that $403,000 of the quota is already in hand. Rabbis of Greater New York have already contributed $8,000 toward the $10,000 quota assigned to them, according to a report made by Rabbi Israel Goldstein, President of the New York Board of Jewish Ministers and chairman of the Rabbis Committee of the campaign. Among those who have made gifts are: