Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt received a testimonial of admiration from about 3,000 women who gathered yesterday under the auspices of the women’s division of the American Jewish Congress in the Commodore ballroom to pay their respects to “America’s great first lady.”
Her presence was described by Aldermanic President Bernard S. Deutsch, also president of the American Jewish Congress, as a “telling repudiation of the aim and attempt to set up a racial, religious, political and class division in this free and democratic country.”
Other speakers also praised Mrs. Roosevelt, who with quiet modesty smiled acknowledgement of the tributes. In her address, which was marked with straightforward simplicity, she said that her purpose in attending the gathering was to “talk with you about equally rights and about what is happening in our land today, so that we may see this nation do the things we want it to do.”
Mrs. Roosevelt pleaded that women “pledge their aid to the men folks” in coming out of the economic depression. “We want to come out of this depression not only by rapidly establishing national recovery but with some measure of reform. First let us see that our own house is in order. It requires courage and if women have courage, then they will be a great help to all the men.
“Let us be a little ahead and see social conditions in our country improve. We are all part of a great country and realize the suffering of other parts of the country.”
The Rev. Dr. John Haynes Holmes, pastor of the Community Church, praised the work of the American Jewish Congress, especially that of the women’s division which, he said, is playing a large part in winning franchise for the Jews and fighting persecution. He said that the “presence of Mrs. Roosevelt is a comfort to all of us.”
Mrs. Rose Halprin, president of Hadassah, women’s division of the Zionist Organization of America, said that her organization supports the work of the American Jewish Congress, although its chief task is to work for the establishment of a national homeland in Palestine.
Mr. Deutsch made a scathing verbal attack on the anti-Semitic forces working in the United States which he said are being led by the so-called Silver Shirt and Khaki Shirt groups. He assailed them as “spreaders of vicious libel” and made the assertion that public institutions, including schools, libraries, university campuses and the United States mails are being utilized as vehicles for the spread of anti-Jewish propaganda.
Seated at the dais including those already mentioned were Mrs. Deutsch, Mrs. Florello H. LaGuardia, Mrs. Richard Gottheil, president of the Women’s League for Palestine; Mrs. Rebekah Kohut, representing the International Federation of Jewish Women’s Organizations; Mrs. Sidney Borg, representing the women’s division of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies; Mrs. Gabril Hamburger, Ivriah; Mrs. Herbert Goldstein, women’s division of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations: Mrs. Sidney Goldstein, of the Godmothers’ League; Mrs. Stephen S Wise, and Mrs. William Brown Melone.