NEW YORK (May. 19)
Using a stone from a Third Century synagogue brought from the site of Hanita, Palestine’s newest colony, Thomas Mann, the author, today laid the cornerstone for the Palestine Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair in the presence of 800 Government and fair officials, Jewish leaders and others.
“As the hammer strikes its symbolic blow, i accompany it with my sincerest wishes for the outstanding success of the exhibit planned here,” Dr. Mann said in a dedication address. “It will present a picture of the cultural and social constructive work of the Jews in Palestine, an undertaking for the success of which men of Christian birth can and must hope as deeply as does the Jew. That country, which we Christians, too, know as the Holy Land, is one of the fountainheads of Occidental civilization and religious life.”
He continued: “The persecution and oppression which Jewry must suffer today leave quite unshaken my conviction that this race, with its mixture of spirituality and earthiness will play an important — perhaps a decisive — part in the shaping of the future.”
Mayor LaGuardia greeted the Palestine pavilion warmly on behalf of New York City, Joseph Gourion greeted the exhibit for the Vaad Leumi (Palestine Jewish National Council), and Stephen Voorhees, chairman of the fair’s board, extended the welcome of the United States to the first exhibit of the new Palestinian culture here, on behalf of Grover Whalen, president of the Fair. Messages were read from Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the Jewish Agency; Governor Lehman, James G. McDonald, chairman of President Roosevelt’s Advisory Committee on Refugees; George Backer, co-chairman of the Palestine exhibit committee; and Sir Ronald Lindsay, British Ambassador, and Mgr. M.J. Lavelle.
An honor guard of 100 young men and women of the Palestine Pioneer Organization assisted in the ceremony. The Jewish Choral Society of the Y.M.H.A. under the direction of A.W. Binder presented a program of Palestinian music. Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the Jewish National Fund, presided. Rabbi I.H. Levinthal, read the invocation.
A dinner was held in the evening in the fair administration building with the scheduled speakers including Sholem Asch, the writer; Harold Jacobi, co-chairman of the exhibit committee; Morris Rothenberg, the Zionist leader; Mrs. Joses P. Epstein, president of Hadassah; Leon Gellman, president of Mizrachi, and Dr. Stephen S. Wise, president of the Zionist Organization of America, presiding.