Lehman Stresses Religious Freedom in Passover Broadcast

Democracy can defend itself from attack as long as religious liberty is upheld, Governor Lehman declared tonight in a radio program commemorating the 285th anniversary of the first Passover in America in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. The program was broadcast over an NBC network under the auspices of the Synagogue Council of America.

The Governor, speaking from Albany, said: “We in America have shown many times and are proving once again today, that we are steadfast in that faith and determined to hold to it despite the efforts of native rabble-rousers who derive their inspiration from abroad. Neither the threats nor the temptations of most of the American would-be dictators have brought much response; even those who aroused some interest now find their followers drifting away.”

Governor Lehman was introduced by Rabbi David de Sola Pool, president of the Synagogue Council and rabbi of the 285-year-old Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, oldest in America. The program included a dramatization of “The First Passover in America,” centering around the arrival of the first Jews in 1654 and their struggle for religious freedom, culminating with the Passover observance in 1655 as a result of the edict of the Dutch West India Company permitting freedom of conscience for all religious groups.

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