Huberman Jewish Colonization Association

  • Issue: August 1991
  • Designer: A. Kalderon
  • Stamp size: 40 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 118
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

The founder of the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA) was Baron Maurice de Hirsch (1831-1896), a financier and philanthropist. He was born to a well-known German Jewish family of court bankers. After the death of his only son, he decided to devote all his energies to charitable work. He was concerned about the plight of the Jews in Eastern Europe and Oriental countries. He gave a great deal of money to the "Alliance" for the setting up of schools in the Near East. In 1891, after the Tzarist Government refused to accept two million pounds sterling from him for setting up a modern Jewish education system to alleviate the miserable conditions of Russian Jewry - the Baron founded the JCA in London as a public company. He put up all the prime capital of the Association - some eight million pounds sterling (equivalent to about two hundred million pounds sterling in today's terms). In 1929, the Encyclopaedia Britannica described the JCA as "probably the largest charitable fund in the world". Baron de Hirsch was opposed to the common practice of extending charity in the form of handouts. He believed that the future of the Jews depended on their becoming productive and capable of standing on their own feet.

Activities in the Diaspora

Baron de Hirsch did not believe that there could be a Jewish autonomous entity in Eretz Israel under Ottoman rule, and therefore the JCA directed the emigration from Russia mainly to Argentina, Brazil and Canada. Argentina was where it ran its most important operation: it acquired more than six million dunams of land there (one and half million acres), setting up agricultural settlements in four provinces, and taking care of educational, cultural, religious and medical services. Likewise, in Brazil, the JCA set up absorption centres, settlements and educational, cultural, and religious institutions.

The JCA also assisted in settling other areas. In Eastern Europe the Association created an educational network of trade and agricultural schools, rehabilitated Jewish agricultural settlements in the Ukraine, and helped Jewish farmers in Poland, Lithuania and Rumania. As from 1891, the JCA assisted in establishing six settlements in Canada. After the second World War, these settlements absorbed Holocaust refugees, and later, in 1956, refugees from Hungary. In Turkey, the Association purchased land near Smyrna, set up three settlements and the "Or Yehuda" agricultural training centre. In 1927, HICEM, the World Organization for the Welfare of Immigrant Jews, was founded by HIAS, and the JCA. Through this organization, the JCA helped Jews escape from Germany in the '30s and assisted North African Jews after the Second World War.

Activities in Eretz Israel

Baron de Hirsch was at first reluctant about helping the Yishuv (Jewish Settlement) in Eretz Israel mainly because he was sceptical of the feasibility of an autonomous entity being established as long as Eretz Israel remained under Ottoman rule. Nevertheless, at the end of the century the JCA began to assist a number of agricultural villages. In 1899, Baron Rothschild reached an agreement with the JCA regarding the establishment of "The Eretz Israel Commission" and through it the JCA took nine of Baron Rothschild's agricultural settlements under its wing. The JCA also set up other new settlements, and, in retrospect, it can be seen that its settlement activities contributed to determining the borders of the State of Israel. In 1924, a special society for activities in Eretz Israel PICA - the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association was set up, and the JCA devoted itself to assisting Jews in other countries of the world. Following the 1929 riots, the JCA renewed its direct activities in Eretz Israel, and jointly with "The Emergency Fund", founded EMICA, which began its work with the rebuilding of Moshav Beer Tuvia, and the rights to drain the Huleh swamp were acquired. EMICA set up many settlements, among them: Kfar Warburg, Moshav Avigdor, Nir Banim, Sde Moshe, Kfar Maimon and Lachish. In 1956 the Association's name reverted from EMICA to CA in Israel. Over the years the JCA helped some 100 settlements, mainly in the Galilee and the Negev.

For many years, the JCA has supported important educational and research institutions in Israel, by funding sizeable grants. These institutions include the Faculty of Agriculture of the Hebrew University in Rehovot, the Volcani Institute, regional agricultural research stations, and 25 agricultural and regional schools. In recent years, the JCA's activities in other countries have decreased and the funds are mainly directed to Israel.

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JCA - Jewish Colonization Association 1891 - 1991