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Proclamation on Jewish Tercentenary Issued by Religious Leaders

A national religious proclamation, setting aside the American Jewish Tercentenary–from September 12, 1954 through May 29, 1,955–as a period of “thanksgiving and rejoicing” to be marked in synagogues throughout the country, was issued here today from the steps of Congregation Shearith Israel, oldest in the United States. The congregation was established by the first group of 23 Jews in New Amsterdam in September, 1654.

Prepared in three languages, English, Hebrew and Yiddish, the proclamation bears the signatures of Rabbi Simon G. Kramer, chairman of the Tercentenary Committee on Religious and Educational Participation; and the presidents of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the United Synagogue of America, the Rabbinical Council of America, the Rabbinical Assembly of America, the Central-Conference of American Rabbis, and the Synagogue Council of America.

“In some lands across the seas, our brethren have been pressed to give up their religious beliefs and practices and to disappear in a well of namelessness” the proclamation says. “But within the home of America we have succeeded in preserving the unique identity of the Jewish religion, worshipping in keeping with our historic tradition; and we have preserved our ancient teachings, our ethics, and our religious ideals in the free climate of our nation. Our religion is strong, as our American loyalty is strong.”

Between now and September 12th, when the celebration of the 300th anniversary of Jewish settlement in the United States is officially launched, this proclamation will be re-issued in hundreds of cities and towns throughout the country.

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