UJC to open offices outside N.Y.

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A 21-member interim cabinet approved the proposals, marking the latest stage in the merger of the Council of Jewish Federations, the United Jewish Appeal and the United Israel Appeal.

Before being implemented, the proposals need final approval from decision-making bodies — including an executive committee — that have yet to be created.

The latest proposals lay the groundwork for the "pillar committees" that in the coming months will define the policies and work of the UJC in each of four content areas: Israel and overseas, human services and social policy, campaign and fund-raising development, and Jewish continuity, referred to by the UJC as "renaissance and renewal."

The changes also retool the framework that for over 60 years governed how the community federations in North America determined and responded to Jewish needs nationally, and in Israel and other countries.

Perhaps the most startling approved recommendations came from the task force charged with designing the UJC's global approach. Decisions about how funds raised in the federation system — $790 million this year — will be allocated for overseas needs are the responsibility of the recently inaugurated Overseas Needs Assessment and Distribution Committee.

The interim cabinet adopted other proposals, as well:

*The Israel and Overseas department will represent the federation movement to the Israeli government on issues of national concern, such as the controversial "Who Is a Jew?" question, and on community-based and national projects, such as the Birthright Israel initiative, which plans to provide all-expenses-paid first-time trips for Jewish teens and young adults.

*The North American Jewish community's traditional overseas partners — the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee — will coordinate a single approach for soliciting funds and cooperating on projects.

*The UJC will replace the UIA in appointing representatives to the Jewish Agency's board of governors. Founded in 1925 as the United Palestine Appeal and until now serving as a conduit for communal funds to the Jewish Agency, the UIA will continue its mostly administrative role in a more limited way.

Federations are now submitting names of possible appointees to the UJC standing committees. The governing bodies — including the full board of trustees and executive committee — could be appointed by October, in advance of the UJC's General Assembly in Atlanta, scheduled to begin Nov. 17.