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Webkeeper's introduction

How did the Jewish Community Council, a broad coalition of Jewish communal organizations - religious, fraternal, educational and political - many of them small and most of them composed of and led by Eastern European Jews and their descendants, form in 1935? Is it accurate to say that it was formed by the Jewish Welfare Federation?

How did it merge in 1951, 16 years later, with the Jewish Welfare Federation to form the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland (today the Jewish Federation of Cleveland).

This page is a start to adding web-based content about a complex and important chapter in Cleveland Jewish history.

December 30, 2016


The merger was approved by the Jewish Community Council, over the objections of many who believed that Federation, which they saw as controlled by wealthy, assimilated Jews, as not sharing their values and concerns.

Federation adopted this new logo in 1952.
Source: from Federation website in 2010

Above: Editorial, Cleveland Plain Dealer
November 2, 1951

Top of Page Names and Logos Locations Federation CJH Home


Jewish Independent Friday April 5, 1935

Organizations Approve Community Council

Representatives of approximately 100 Jewish organizations undertook the formation of a Jewish Community Council last Thursday evening, when they unanimously went on record in favor of the creation of such a Council and elected Max Simon temporary chairman. Mr. Simon was directed to appoint an organization committee, which is to draw up a constitution and framework for the Council, and submit it to the delegates for approval. Practically every large Jewish organization in the city was represented, including the temple and synagog congregations, men's clubs, women's groups, alumni organizations, philanthropic and benefit societies, educational and cultural groups, lodges and social clubs, local chapters of national and international organizations.

In addition to these lay leaders and the editors of the Jewish newspapers, the following rabbis were present: A. H. Silver, B. R. Brickner, Armond Cohen, Israel Porath, Hugo Klein, I. M. Walden, David Genuth, I. Krislow, and Emanuel Eckstein.

There was complete agreement concerning the need for such a body, and not a single expression of opposition was voiced. Those present were in full accord that there should be a medium for the discussion of broad community problems by the representatives of all groups and points of view. It was hoped that through such a body there might come a greater understanding of these issues and of the various elements that comprise the community.

The only questions raised were with regard to the inclusiveness of the Council, and the scope of its action. The consensus of opinion was clearly, however, in favor of a wide representation, in order that every segment of the Community and every point of view might have a voice and participate. They did not believe that it could serve its fundamental purpose if there were any considerable exclusion. No attempt was made to outline the functions of the Council in detail, since it was not believed that these could be fully anticipated. It was intended that the Council should deal with all problems which concerned the entire community, in such manner as it believed would serve the best interests of the community. Whether the Council should confine itself to the discussion and interpretation of problems, or attempt to come to some decision with regard to them, was discussed at length. It was clear that the only power which the Council could wield would be the power of public opinion, and this would depend upon the prestige and the degree to which the Council really represented the views of the community. No organization or minority would be ostracized because it differed with this opinion of the majority, it was said, It was also pointed out no organization would be bound by the action of its delegates. Each would serve as a representative of the community, and would act in his capacity as an individual. "Several persons have told me that history was written tonight," Mr. Simon commented after the meeting. "Time can only tell whether it was. We do not expect the Council to be a panacea, nor do we expect it to solve all Jewish problems. "We do, however, hope that it will help us to solve those problems which can be solved, and to understand and adjust better to the others. At least by discussing them jointly, by bringing together the leaders of the community—selected by the community—we can consider them rationally and intelligently. There is no doubt but that the Council can be a most vital instrument in bringing out the best inner forces of our group life." Mr. Simon said that he would select a representative committee, and would announce its composition as soon as this had been determined.



Services were held here yesterday for Max Simon, long a leader of the Cleveland Jewish community, who died Dec. 5 at the age of 80. Mr. Simon was a founder and first president of the Jewish Community Council, established in 1935, and was a prime mover in the merger of the Council in 1951 into the Jewish Community Federation. He served as Federation president from 1956 to 1959 and two years later was elected a Federation trustee for life. An active Zionist, he was a founder of the local Israel Bond Organization. In January, 1967, on his 79th birthday, the Jewish National Fund gave him a testimonial dinner and announced that a 10,000-tree forest in his name was being planted in Israel. He served nationally on boards and committees of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds and the United Jewish Appeal.


A life-long Zionist, Mr. Simon was brought to Cleveland from Russian Poland at an early age.
SIMON Harry Simon, founder of H. Simon & Co., iron and steel brokerage firm, and operator of the concern until he retired in 1919, died last Friday. He lived at 2035 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights. Mr. Simon was a former president of the Cleveland Zionist District. He was a trustee of Park Synagogue. Surviving Mr. Simon are his wife, Mollie, a daughter, Mrs. Selma Weiss, and a son, David L. Simon. Mr. Simon is also survived by his brother Max and sister, Miss Sadie Simon.

Obituary 1951

Mrs. Lena Simon, pioneer Jewish resident of Cleveland, and mother of Max Simon, former president of the Jewish Community Council, died Wednesday evening, June 4, at her home, G34 E. 115th Street. Mrs. Simon was 73 years of age. She was a member of the Cleveland Jewish Center. Surviving her in addition to Max Simon, is another son. Harry Simon; her daughter, Miss Sadie Simon, and five grandchildren . Mrs. Simon was the widow of Abraham Simon and mother of Herman, deceased.
1910 census Abraham (grocer) and Lena born in Russia
2749 East 51st near Woodland
Max is 28 Born 1892  year they came over

Abraham came in 1886, Lena and children followed in 1892
Max born in Russia  speaks Yiddish

1940 3107 Washington blvd  CH west of Lee Road

Then to Shaker Heights


JI 12/30/1927

Max Simon, prominent Cleveland Jewish layman and secretary of the Jewish Welfare Federation, was elected president of the district.

JRO April 27, 1923
For trustees-at-large — Three-year term: Eugene S. Halle. Solomon Goldman, Samuel Regar, Abba H Silver, Louis Wolsey. Two-year term: Max
JI Sept 10, 1926
Simon, chairman of the Jewish Conference on Health and Care of Handicapped of the Jewish Welfare Federation, has announced the various committee appointments of the conference.
Jan 19, 1934




Representatives of the Cleveland Jewish community, who attended the first national assembly of the National Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, while returning from the assembly with a feeling generally that the administrators of Jewish philanthropic enterprise in Cleveland had, through the three decades of the Federation's history, done a very comparable and valuable work in keeping the organization abreast of the trends and demands of these succeeding years, were nevertheless deeply impressed with the urgency of a further adaptation of Jewish community enterprise to the requirements of the newer problems of Jewish life brought on by world conditions. The board of trustees of the Federation, recognizing the importance of a broadening of Federation influence in Jewish communal affairs, approved the appointment recently of ;i special committee, under the chairmanship of Max Simon, to study present trends more fully and to prepare recommendations for the hoard's consideration. The other members of the committee are: Harry F. Affelder, Edward M. Baker, Judge Maurice Bernon, Rabbi H. S. Davidowitz, Mrs. Siegmund Herzog, George Mayer, Max Myers, Rabbi A.H. Silver, Sidney N. Weitz, S. D. Wise and Meyer Wolpaw.



Dec 1913 marriage license 2749 East 51 age 26 to Mollie Winograd age 24

Jewish Independent, Friday, February 25, 1916
Born, to Mr. and Mrs. Max Simon, of 10220 Ostend avenue, on Thursday, February 17, a daughter. Mrs. Simon was formerly Miss Mollie Winograd.