Two large baskets of fruit, wines and sweetmeats imported from Palestine were presented to Mayor LaGuardia and Aldermanic President Bernard Deutsch at City Hall yesterday by a committee of the Jewish National Fund of America on the occasion of the Purim holiday.
The committee, headed by Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the Jewish National Fund, made the presentation in the historic reception room in City Hall before a small group of invited guests and a score of photographers and newspaper men.
The baskets contained wines manufactured in Rishon le Zion, Palestine; dates, figs, candies and assorted fruits. They were dressed in blue bows and arranged in special observance of the Biblical festival of Purim, observed in commemoration of the defeat by ancient Persian Jews of the oriental monarch, Haman.
The Mayor in his speech acknowledging the gift, said: “The contents of these baskets show that Palestine is making rapid progress under the guidance of Jews there. I certainly hope the progress will continue.
HOPES FOR TOLERANCE
“Even at a presentation like this, it gives us pause to think that conditions still exist in this world which make us feel a revulsion. That a great race, a great people, must be persecuted by a bigot who is hardly aware of what he is doing, is a shame to modern civilization. I am hopeful that at least in the United States we can continue to practice brotherly love and tolerance, and can continue to lead in showing the world the way.”
Mr. Deutsch, also president of the American Jewish Congress, said: “I don’t want to add to what the Mayor has already said. All of you know my sentiments. I am happy with you in knowing that the Mayor is ever willing and ready to espouse a cause of all who are oppressed, all who are the victims of racial persecution.”
In his address of presentation, Dr. Goldstein said in part:
“It seems that history repeats itself for the Jewish people in a tragic sense. Haman has become a type of oppressor, chauvinist, bigot, and the Jewish people has become the recurrent victim. That ancient story of Persia seems therefore unfortunately all too modern. The anti-Semites of today are using the same arguments, ‘there is a people whose laws and customs are different’–civilization acknowledged the benefit of different cultures, and democracy rejoices in the rich diversity of its constituents, but to the Hamans and Hitlers who boast of crushing human liberties and whose slogan is ‘regimentation.’ the Jew, of course, stands in the way because the Jew stands for liberty. Therefore he is the first target of reactionism.
“The Jews of the United States are grateful that they live in a country where racial and religious equality and freedom have not capitulated. We Jews in New York appreciate that our city is a cosmopolitan center where every strain of human culture has its place in a symphony of six millions. Moreover, we are grateful that the Chief Executive of our city, himself a descendant like most of us, of a recent immigration stock, is so broad in his sympathies and so understanding toward all the elements in the richly varied life of our metrolis.”
Present at the presentation including those already mentioned were Morris Rothenberg, president of the Zionist Organization of America; Mrs. Edward Epstein, president of the Jewish National Fund of Hadassah, a women’s organization; Mrs. Nathan D. Perlman, of the Hadassah; Rabbi Wolf Gold, president of the Mizrachi, orthodox Zionist organization; Leo Wolfson, chairman of the Jewish National Fund Council of Greater New York, and Louis P. Rocker, chairman of the Zionist Finance Committee.