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KEHILLAH

The KEHILLAH was a second attempt by Cleveland East European Jews to establish an organization to guard Jewish interests. The organizational meeting, attended by 75 people, was held at B'NAI JESHURUN Congregation in 1913 by the former leaders of the defunct UNION OF JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS, which had formed in 1906. The first meeting called for a convention of representatives to meet and form the Kehillah. In Oct. 1913 representatives from 30 organizations met. In early 1914 a second convention drew 300 delegates from 64 immigrant organizations. Kehillah spokesmen were Rabbi SAMUEL MARGOLIES, Max Kolinsky, and Aaron Garber. Its programs were basically the same as those of the union 7 years earlier. It attempted to guard against encroachment on the rights of the Jewish community and tried to aid Jews in need both in Cleveland and abroad. Although based on the successful Kehillah experiment in New York City, the Cleveland Kehillah had neither the dynamic leader nor financial support that aided the New York group, and could not, and maybe did not even try, to attract representatives of the Reform community. In addition, the Kehillah was criticized severely in the Yiddish press for its inability to financially support the CLEVELAND HEBREW SCHOOLS and for not responding sufficiently in aiding Eastern European Jews during World War I. Without a financial base and facing internal conflicts, problems that had caused the demise of the UJO, the Cleveland Kehillah could not function and became inactive in late 1914 or early 1915, barely 1 year after its creation.