In 1914, there were approximately 59,000 Jews living in Palestine – a completely impoverished community. Learning of the harsh conditions, a collective of American Jewish groups raised $50,000 to send to the Palestinian Jews, and ensure it was distributed efficiently.

As World War I plunged Europe into chaos that year, the same grouping of organizations got together to send funds to the Jewish communities in the Pale of Settlement. Thus the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, originally known as the JDC, was born.

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