The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee I

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The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, also known as the Joint or the JDC, is a Jewish relief organization based in New York City. The JDC was founded in 1914, initially to provide assistance to Jews living in Palestine under Turkish rule. By 1914, approximately 59,000 Jews were living in Palestine under Ottoman rule. The settlement—the Yishuv—was largely made up of Jews that had emigrated from Europe and were largely dependent on sources outside of Palestine for their income. The outbreak of World War I destroyed those channels, leaving the community isolated and destitute. With disaster looming, the Yishuv’s leaders appealed to Henry Morgenthau, Sr., then the U.S. ambassador to Turkey. Morgenthau was moved and appalled by the misery he witnessed. Soon after seeing what he did, Morgenthau sent an urgent cable to New York-based Jewish philanthropist Jacob Schiff, requesting $50,000 of aid to keep the Jews of Palestine from starvation and death.