Texas Jewish Post (Fort Worth, Tex.), Vol. 64, No. 16, Ed. 1 Thursday, April 22, 2010 Page: 10 of 24
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10 ! April 22,2010
TEXAS JEWISH POST & SINCE 1947
A hand along the road
of life: JDC offers
rescue, relief, renewal
By Charles D. Pulman
On March 14, my wife Janine and
I traveled to Argentina with Howard
and Leslie Schultz, their son-in-law
Ron Romaner and Howards sister
We were part of a mission of 14
people from all over the United States
organized by the American Jewish
Joint Distribution Committee ("JDC"
or "Joint") to learn and observe the
work of JDC, mainly in Argentina and
Although JDC operates world-
wide, this mission focused primarily
on the successful efforts of JDC, with
other Jewish organizations in these
countries, to alleviate the distress and
financial suffering of the Jewish com-
munity following the economic col-
lapse of Argentina in December 2001.
Before this trip, I knew very little
about JDC. I had read about it in his-
tory books, since it was formed in early
1900 and has been involved in Jewish-
related events since then.
I knew generally that JDC helped
Jews in other parts of the world and
was an important major Jewish orga-
nization, but I did not know specifi-
cally why it was important or the type
of work undertaken by JDC.
That was about to change, for what
I learned about the work of JDC in Ar-
gentina and Uruguay was both mov-
ing and impressive.
The basis for appreciating what
JDC has done in Argentina and Uru-
guay is an understanding of the sever-
ity and suddenness of the collapse of
the Argentinean economy in Decem-
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Photo: Submitted by Charles D. Pulman
Ron Romaner (left), Howard and Leslie Schultz, and Janine and Charles Pulman visited Argentina last month as part of a mis-
sion of 14 people from across the United States organized by the Joint Distribution Committee.
Prior to that point, the Argentin-
ean Jewish community was well es-
tablished and essentially self-sustain-
ing. The economic collapse occurred
suddenly, resulting in over 33 percent
of the community finding themselves
for the first time without jobs and
living below the poverty line. The
economic crises in Argentina also af-
I remember during my visits in Is-
rael at that time hearing of Jews from
South America making aliyah, but I
did not really understand the circum-
stances that existed in Argentina.
With the collapse in Argentina,
JDC immediately recognized the cri-
sis and the need to rescue and to pro-
vide relief to the Jewish community,
which approximated 500,000 persons
in Argentina. The organization recog-
nized that time was of the essence and
expedience was essential.
JDC implemented numerous pro-
grams, and on this mission, we not
only visited these programs but also
met with and talked to the JDC staff
who sprang to action in 2001 and
thereafter to create them, and to the
individuals who were benefited by
them. Their stories were moving and
To relieve this immediate crisis,
JDC, in conjunction with Argentin-
ean Jewish organizations, established
a network of social assistance centers
that provided food, medicines and fi-
nancial aid to more than 36,000 per-
sons; an incredible task that literally
saved thousands of lives.
Talking to the Jews we met who
were rescued by JDC during this crisis
brought a new meaning to me of the
Talmudic phrase: "All Israel is respon-
sible for each other."
Examples of the programs imple-
mented or supported by JDC alone or
in conjunction with other Jewish or-
A network of social assistance cen-
ters providing meals, clothing, medi-
cines and financial aid for rent and
Leatid — providing training and
counseling programs for Jewish pro-
fessional and lay leaders;
13/17 Program — offering sports
and cultural activities for Jewish teen-
Baby Help — furnishing food,
medicine, equipment and diapers to
babies ages 0 to 5 and prenatal support
to pregnant moms as well as day care
for babies of working mothers, most
of whom are single moms (the need
for this program was identified by the
Schultzes, who helped with its initia-
tion and continuance);
Central Community Pharmacy—
filling over 7800 prescriptions every
month to the Jewish community;
Ariel Job Center — giving career
counseling, training and placement
services, as well as small loans to
emerging Jewish businesses.
LaDor va Dor — the Buenos Aires
Jewish home that was recently opened
(a magnificent facility that accepts
elderly Jews in need regardless of in-
While in Buenos Aires, we also
visited AMIA, the Jewish community
center, that was bombed and partially
destroyed in 1995, and attended the
memorial services at the site of the
Israeli embassy that was bombed and
destroyed in 1992.
Many innocen t people were killed
in these attacks and the perpetrators
of these crimes are free today, a point
that brings great distress to the sur-
vivors and families of the victims, as
well as the entire Jewish community.
We had dinner with the lay lead-
ership of several Argentinean Jewish
organizations, including Tzedaka
Foundation, the leading social aid in-
stitution. All expressed great apprecia-
tion for the work of JDC during this
severe crisis to rescue and relieve the
We also flew to Uruguay one day
to visit the Jewish home for the elderly
and to meet the lay leadership of some
of the Jewish organizations there. I was
surprised to learn that there are ap-
proximately 15,000 Jews in Uruguay.
We were not the only delegation
from Texas in Argentina at this time.
A large group of Texas college stu-
dents had come to Argentina during
their spring break to work in Jewish
see JOINT, p. 11
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Wisch, Rene. Texas Jewish Post (Fort Worth, Tex.), Vol. 64, No. 16, Ed. 1 Thursday, April 22, 2010, newspaper, April 22, 2010; Fort Worth, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth188289/m1/10/: accessed December 11, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .