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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

UNION OF JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS

UNION OF JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS

The UNION OF JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS (1906) was the first attempt by East European immigrant Jews to organize a central authority in the community. In 1903 the Fed. of Jewish Charities had been established by the old-line German, largely Reform Cleveland Jewish community. Cultural differences between those of the federation and the East European Jews were great. The union attempted to unite the many immigrant organizations established in Cleveland during the previous decade. The first meeting was attended by 100 delegates representing 45 organizations, led by Rabbi SAMUEL MARGOLIES of ANSHE EMETH congregation and others. The union carried out several successful lobbying activities, including forcing postponement of a municipal bond vote scheduled for the Jewish New Year, eliminating The Merchant of Venice from the required reading list for high school, and excluding Christmas-carol singing from predominantly Jewish public schools. Additionally, it raised funds for Romanian Jews victimized during the peasant uprisings in 1907. The union suffered 2 notable failures in attempting to influence internal Jewish community affairs. It was unable to force the MONTEFIORE HOME to introduce kosher food for its residents, and its demand that the federation make small immigrant charities beneficiaries of its funds was rejected. Problems facing the union could not be overcome; its constituent organizations all had separate agendas and were very poor. Additionally, the Reform congregations and organizations controlled by the Reform community had not been asked to join, and B'NAI B'RITH dropped out of the union soon after its creation. The organization quietly died in 1909.