New York (Aug. 16)
Services of thanksgiving for victory and prayers for the future peace of the world were held in synagogues throughout the city following the official announcement by President Truman of the end of the war with Japan. Sermons by rabbis, generally dwelt on the theme of a more just world arising in the years of reconstruction ahead. The Synagogue Council of America issued a message urging that “V-J Day be a day of great outpouring of charity.”
Henry Monsky, president of the B’nai B’rith in a statement hailing the victory of the United Nations, emphasized the far-reaching tasks of reconversion at home and rehabilitation abroad.
“The American Jewry, which mobilized all its resources and manpower in the yuars of war and made a proud contribution to victory, has the additional post-war responsibility of helping restore the shattered Jewish communities of Europe. It must help them back to health and vitality. It must give them a chance for normal living and hope for the future,” Mr. Monsky said.
Dr. John Slawson, executive vice-president of the American Jewish Committee, in a statement issued, urged the need of strengthening the inner unity of the nation. “The total victory over the Axis powers ushers in, “said Dr. Slawson, “a new era of world peace in which the forces of democracy and justice will be called upon to build a system based on friendship and cooperation among all nations and peoples. The victory of American democracy against its external enemies is a challenge to us all to strengthen the nation’s unity against attempts to divide the various religions and groups that compose the United States-all of whom have contributed to America’s power in these fateful years.
“The task of rebuilding now begins,” the statement continued. “Jews, who have been among the greatest sufferers of the powers of evil and darkness, are pledged to do their utmost in the reconstruction and in the promotion of a world order which shall assure, in the words of the United Nations Charter, the ‘realization of human rights and basic freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language and religion.”
Judge Morris Rothenberg, chairman of the Interim Committee of the American Zionist Emergency Council, called for the immediate reconstitution of Palestine as a Jewish homeland in his statement. “The Jewish people,” said Judge Rothenberg, whose agony during these many years of war and aggression is unparalleled in the history of human misery, must share in the victory for which it sacrificed and worked so unstintingly. Our just demands for the rebuilding of our shattered national existence in Palestine should receive the full moral and material support of the United Nations.
“There should be an end to delay and vacillation. The Jewish tragedy in Europe continues unabated, and immediate action must be taken by the principal Allies in this war for man’s freedom, else the chief victims of our common enemy shall again be condemned to a life of insecurity and persecution. Palestine must be reconstituted as a free and democratic Jewish Commonwealth and the doors of their ancient Homeland should be opened wide to the Jewish people. For this countless numbers of Jews have worked and died, and for this we will continue to strive unrelantingly.”
The Jewish War Veterans of the United States, through their national commander, Archie H. Greenberg, expressed the hope that the United Nations Charter of San Fransisco will achieve the international organization for permanent peace.