The role of America as setting, since the days of George Washington an example to the world in the application of the principles of civic freedom and religious liberty was extolled, and the contribution of Americans toward the upbuilding of Palestine as a Jewish National Home was described as of a decisive character in addresses delivered last night at the George Washington Palestine Forest Banquet held at the Astor Hotel in the presence of more than 600 persons.
Nelson Ruttenberg, Police Trial Commissioner and President of the Jewish National Fund of America, acted as toastmaster at the dinner, which was given for furthering the project launched by the Fund to commemorate the bicentennial anniversary of George Washington.
Mr. Ruttenberg announced that he received word from the Jerusalem headquarters of the Jewish National Fund, which is the Zionist agency for the reclamation and reforestation of land in Palestine as national Jewish property, that the site for the planting of the Washington Forest has been definitely chosen. The Washington trees, as a “living monument” to the first President of the United States, will be planted on an area of 8,000 dunams between Haifa and Nazareth, on land owned by the Fund along the Haifa-Nazareth road.
Mr. Ruttenberg also made public the text of a message he received from President-elect Roosevelt, who, when informed that a tree had been planted in his name, wrote: “Some day I want to see that tree in personâ€”I have never yet been to Palestine and hope to go.”
The speakers, among whom were George Gordon Battle, Grover Whalen, Chairman of the New York City Bicentennial Commission; Dr. Israel Goldstein, Rabbi of Congregation Bnai Jeshurun; Robert Szold, former President of the Zionist Organization of America; Isaac Allen, President of the Order Sons of Zion; Leo Wolfson, Chairman of the J.N.F. Council of Greater New York; Miss Eudice Elkind, a Member of the National Board of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America; Ephraim Caplan, Jewish writer and Zionist leader, and Rev. Z. H. Masliansky, urged universal support for the project.
A number of contributions for tree planting, including one of $750 by the Shomrim Society of the New York City Police Department, and one of $250 by Dr. Frank Levander, were announced.