French Jews, Gas Masks in Hand, Pray for Allied Victory; Kin of Alien Volunteers Aided
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French Jews, Gas Masks in Hand, Pray for Allied Victory; Kin of Alien Volunteers Aided

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The majority of its males in military uniforms fighting for the Republic, French Jewry gathered in synagogues for Hebrew New Year services and offered prayers for the victory of the Allies.

With Government permission, all synagogues were open, but the usual air raid precaution were taken. Crowded as never before, the synagogues presented a picture of aged men, wives and mothers, gas masks in hand, praying under dim lights for their sons and husbands on the battlefield and for their children, most of whom have been evacuated into the interior.

Services today were marked by pledges of special donations to aid the families of men who have been mobilized or wounded in action. Baron Robert de Rothschild, prominent philanthropist and Jewish leader who is himself in the military service, donated 75,000 francs for the families of alien Jews who have volunteered. The sum is to be distributed through the Federation of Jewish Societies, which represents immigrant Jews.

Jewish leaders issued the slogan: “The entire Jewish nation prays on Rosh Hashonah for the victory of France and the Allies and for the destruction of Hitlerism.” The Paris rabbinate appealed to the Jewish population not to gather in groups on the street in front of synagogues and to avoid speaking languages other than French.

Chief Rabbi Issaye Schwartz declared in a manifesto: “France and the allies have done all to arrest the shadow of war. The Jews are confident that the Eternal will aid them. This confidence is emphasized by giving all the Jews can in the interior of France as well as at the front lines. May God protect our gallant soldiers and their chiefs. May He protect France and her Allies so that right, justice and freedom may triumph and the reign of violence cease forever.”

Jewish volunteers and war veterans organized their own synagogue service, presenting a colorful picture of men in uniforms praying on the New Year before departing. Among them were numerous officers of the regular Army.

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