The first two days of Passover, commemorating the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, were observed in temples, synagogues and Jewish homes throughout the country.
An interesting incident occurred Monday, on the eve of the first Seder, in New York City when steps taken by the officials of the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Company, to cope with an unusually heavy night rush hour in the cloak and suit and fur districts in Manhattan because of the fact that the celebration of the Passover began at sundown, were insufficient.
They stationed guards at every entrance and exist of the Union Square station of the Broadway subway except one near Sixteenth Street, with orders to permit no one to go in or out, and at the Twenty-third Street station closed all entrances and all the exits except one at Twenty-first Street.
The result was that streets in the vicinity of those two stations became filled with a throng, most of whom finally sought other and farther subway stations, clogging them beyond hope of clearance, and delaying crowded trains by their endeavors to enter the trains. The situation lasted from 4:30 to 6:30.
Rabbis of more than fifty congregations–liberal, reform, conservative and orthodox–joined in signing a proclamation calling on New York Jews to answer the call for aid from the millions of Jews who are suffering unusual hardships in Eastern Europe.
“The House of Israel is in distress,” the proclamation, given out by Rabbi Israel Goldstein, chairman of the Committee of Rabbis of the United Jewish Campaign in New York, began.
“Millions of Jews are suffering a catastrophe of poverty, disease, starvation, homelessness and despair–in Poland, Russia, Galicia, Bessarabia, Austria and other countries.
“Suicides, which have been the rarest phenomena among our people, are becoming more and more frequent in the stricken and blighted sections of Eastern Europe.
“As rabbis concerned for the moral and spiritual integrity of the House of Israel as for its physical welfare we are deeply grieved and gravely alarmed at the physical and spiritual crisis which impends over a large portion of our people.
“We feel that in the hands of American Jews who are blessed with prosperity and happiness lies the possibility of saving the stricken Jewries of Europe from annihilation.
“In the name of our religion and in the name of our Jewish brotherhood, we, the rabbis of Greater New York, call upon all the sections of our people to unite in the urgent duty of saving the lives of our brethren and sisters who are in distress,” the proclamation read.
In nearly 200 synagogues rabbis devoted their sermons to the duty of the upbuilding of Palestine as the Jewish homeland, in connection with the campaign to raise $1,500,000 as New York’s quota in the United Palestine Appeal. Through Passover appeals, it is expected to complete New York’s quota for the fund.
The metropolitan press devoted much space to the description of the preparations for the Passover by New York’s Jewish population and to reporting the Passover sermons of the rabbis of various congregations.
The “New York Evening Post,” at one time well informed, in the pre-Passover rush confused the Feast of Freedom with the New Year, writing on Monday evening: “The winding call of the shofar, the ceremonial ram’s horn of the synagogues, will remind all orthodox Jews this evening that the eight days of Passover commence at sundown.”