Jewish Soldiers and Sailors Granted Passover Furloughs
Menu JTA Search

Jewish Soldiers and Sailors Granted Passover Furloughs

Download PDF for this date

Orders granting furloughs during the Passover holidays for Jewish men in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Civilian Conservation Corps have been issued by the War, Navy and Treasury Departments on application of the Jewish Welfare Board, it was announced today by John M. Schiff, chairman of the Board’s Army and Navy Committee.

Request for the furlough orders was made by the Board as the officially recognized representative of Jewish men in the national defense forces in matters of religious observance. For those men who will not be able to go home because of distances involved, the Board will sponsor community Seder services and home hospitality in the cities nearest the major cantonments. Jewish Community Centers, Y.M.H.A.’s and Y.W.H.A.’s affiliated with the Board will accommodate soldiers and sailors stationed in their vicinities.

The War Department order declared: “The Secretary of War desires, in order to permit soldiers of the Jewish faith to participate in the observance of Passover, that furloughs be granted to members of that faith for such time as is necessary to permit them to be at their homes, when practicable, or at places where Seder celebrations are held, from noon Friday, April 11, 1941, until midnight of Sunday, April 13, 1941, provided no interference with the public service is occasioned thereby.

“Matzoth (unleavened bread) and Haggadoth (prayer books for the Seder service) will be distributed by the Jewish Welfare Board. Commanding officers and chaplains will lend assistance to and cooperate with the representatives of this board in such distribution.”

A similar order was issued by the War Department for CCC camps.

The Navy Department’s order to all ships and stations declared: “Commanding officers are authorized to grant leave, at discretion, to men of the Jewish Faith, from noon of Friday, April 11, 1941, until midnight of Sunday, April 13, 1941, with such additional travel time as may be necessary.

“The Jewish Welfare Board will furnish special prayer books for the Seder services and unleavened bread to men of the Jewish Faith for the eight days of Passover, and Commanding Officers are directed to cooperate in facilitating the distribution of these supplies to men of Jewish Faith under their command.”

By an order from the Treasury Department furloughs were granted to the men of the Jewish faith in Coast Guard units, for the observance of Passover.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund