July 29, 2013

Richard Ravitch, a link between New York City’s Fiscal Crisis in 1975 and United Jewish Appeal – Federation of New York

Filed under: Federation people, interesting or noteworthy archival material — susanwoodland @ 11:57 am

An article in Friday’s New York Times about New York City’s fiscal crisis, “When New York teetered on the brink of bankruptcy”, brought to mind the fiscal crisis as experienced by Executive Vice-President Sanford Solender at Federation (highlighted in a previous post) in the mid-1970s.

The current article mentions Richard Ravitch, and how instrumental he was in hosting a meeting between Governor Hugh L. Carey; Albert Shanker, the leader of the powerful teachers’ union; former Mayor Robert F. Wagner and others.  Ravitch was involved when appointed by the Governor to “rescue the state’s overextended Urban Development Corporation“.

Our interest in Ravitch is because his name appears in the Joint Campaign (UFJC) subgroup files in connection with a 1979 report he wrote with Sanford Solender after a trip to Israel, scouting new projects to fund as part of the United Israel Appeal’s “Project Renewal” campaign.

Most recently I have been processing the files of Henry C. Bernstein and have found one box (so far) of UFJC files of potential Project Renewal projects of interest to the Joint Campaign fundraisers like Bernstein.  Under the Project Renewal umbrella, UJA-Federation of New York committed to find donors for specific projects within specific Israeli towns.  The same Ravitch/Solender report is again mentioned in Bernstein’s files.

The hard copy of the report itself can be found within Solender’s UFJC files and will be available for research by the end of this project in 2015.

On another note, the same New York Times article mentions a line from Woody Allen’s movie “Sleeper”, in which he “attributed the end of civilization to the fact that ‘a man named Albert Shanker got hold of a nuclear device'”.  Which brings to mind (thank you, Eric) another memorable Woody Allen movie quote, from Bananas, which is included in the Wikipedia article for United Jewish Appeal (see section on “cultural allusions”.)


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