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8 of 16

Morris Rodman

"I remember we used to meet in Joe Cherner's basement…to raise money to buy defense material. Any contributions that were made had to be made in cash…It was a sort of a hush-hush operation because it was not entirely legal."

Morris Rodman was an active supporter of the United Jewish Appeal in the 1940s and throughout his lifetime. Photograph: JHSGW Collections.

Leo Bernstein

"It really was hush-hush. The machers of the town, Abe Kay and Joe Cherner, were the leaders. Kay was a driver, a worker. He inspired us…I would say about 25-30 people came one night…I remember pulling [the blinds] down."

Leo Bernstein was a young real estate investor active with UJA in the 1940s. Photograph: Courtesy of Leo Bernstein.

Abe Pollin

"We went down to [a special meeting at] Leo Bernstein's real estate office. It was dark. Outside, there were men guarding the door and checking people walking in…I found out later they were from the Haganah."

Abe Pollin accompanied his father, Morris Pollin (pictured left), a builder and a leader in the Jewish community, to secret meetings. Photograph: JHSGW Collections.

"While at camp, we would be waked up at midnight to pick up boxes and carry them down to the South River. There were small boats there and they would just take off. And we were just 13, 14, 15, and 16 years old. It turned out that we were carrying boxes of guns for shipment to the yishuv."

Ira Platt was a Habonim camper during the 1940s.