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Involvement in the Soviet Jewry Movement — by Louis Rosenblum
Agreement Between the JCFC and the CCSA

Agreement Between the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland (JCFC) and the Cleveland Council on Soviet Anti-Semitism (CCSA)

Thanks to our projects, publications and national involvement, by 1966, we had established the CCSA as a significant presence in the community. As a result, we were not at all surprised when, in May, Sid Vincent, executive director of JCFC, suggested that we discuss our discrete roles in the community. Shortly after, Abe Silverstein and I met with Sid and a few of his staff. Out of that meeting came a draft of a three-point agreement, which we concluded in July.

    Sid Vincent
I’ll quote from the final agreement:

1. The JCF recognizes both the urgency of the problems of Soviet Jewry and the value of helping the work of the CCSA.

2. CCSA is concerned with a single problem and its work is of both local and national scope. The JCF through its Community Relations Committee, has had, and will continue to have, programs in this area. Techniques appropriate to the CCSA are not necessarily so for the JCF. Our aim should be to preserve autonomy and full freedom of responsible action for both organizations, while achieving maximum cooperation.

3. It is suggested that the JCF undertake to support specific projects of the CCSA.

Both organizations were well served in this accord, which was the first of its kind anywhere in the U.S. And, over the following years, cooperation in projects and events was the rule rather than the exception. I might add it was also an explicit acknowledgement of the national scope and reach of our efforts, by an establishment organization.

As for funding from the Federation, they were open to our requests, with the proviso that any funds granted be for specific projects and not for operating purposes. This suited us. We had a number of projects in mind but lacked the money. From 1966 through 1971, we submitted to the Federation, annually, a list of projects and associated budgets. Over that period we received an average of about $3,000 dollars a year for approved projects. It gave a substantial boost to our efforts. And, because we operated with volunteer help, we were able to leverage the Federation’s contribution.

Regarding Volunteers

Happily, there were loads of excellent people throughout the Cleveland community who offered their time and talents to keep things humming. Topping the list was Lenore Singer, our indispensable office manager. Without her I would have been lost. As it was, I was up to my neck with correspondence, making and enlarging contacts, preparing articles, drafting new projects — to say nothing of my full-time job at NASA. Lenore assumed full responsibility for running our office.


From 1965 through 1978, she worked with intelligence and dedication — five days a week, 9 to 5, and, in a crunch, weekends as well. She daily brought order out of chaos: directed hordes of workers to get out our mailings, answered the telephones, arranged meetings, typed, mimeographed, filed, billed, and even corrected my spelling. Lenore Singer was the quintessential Ashet Chayil — Woman of Strength and Character. She passed away October 3, 1999.

Lenore Singer

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© 2007 Louis Rosenblum

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