Page 393 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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Local Chapters
As has been noted previously, a Jewish Book Week Committee
functioned in Boston through radio programs, press coverage and
local activities. In New York City the Metropolitan Section of
the National Jewish Welfare Board and the Metropolitan Asso-
ciation of Jewish Center Workers arranged coordinated programs
in 1941. In Chicago a local chapter was organized in 1943, and
another in Philadelphia in 1944. It was not until 1945 that the
Council itself initiated a project to further the growth of local
chapters in the larger cities of the United States. Thus, local
chapters were organized in a number of key communities to
stimulate on a local basis the Council’s broad program of activ-
ities. Local chapters were encouraged to include among their
members librarians, authors and others committed to the romance
of books. The program projected for a local chapter usually con-
formed to the following pattern: stimulation of synagogues, Cen-
ters, Jewish schools, public libraries and other organizations to
conduct their own Jewish Book Month programs; presenting
community wide programs during Jewish Book Month; plan-
ning a central exhibit to attract unaffiliated nersons; honoring
local authors.
Later the New York program was co-sponsored by the Metro-
politan Region of JWB and the Jewish Education Committee of
New York, with the guidance of a part-time professional execu-
tive. Outstanding exhibits, radio programs and other activities
were conducted. Similar intensive programs were arranged by
chapters in Baltimore, Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and
Washington, D. C. Naturally we have suffered disappointments
and not all local chapters maintained a sustained existence, pri-
marily due to changes of leadership.
It was generally found that Jewish Community Centers with
their professional personnel and attractive physical facilities were
the most effective coordinators of chapters, although in some
cities Jewish Community Councils and Bureaus of Jewish Edu-
cation assumed the leadership. In many communities without
formal chapters of the Council, local Centers took responsibility
for involving many organizations and functioning as a commu-
nity service in the pursuit of the Council’s goals.
Serving Jewish Communities Abroad
On November 12, 1944, U.S. Army Chaplain Jacob Hochman
addressed an appeal to American Jewry in a radio broadcast di-
rectly from Rome, soliciting aid through the Council in restoring
the library of the Rome synagogue. “In America you are now