NEW YORK (Oct. 20)
American Jewry was greeted tonight by the Prime Minister of Britain, Israel and the Netherlands in special messages read at the Tercentenary Dinner. Greetings were also delivered at the dinner by Gov. Thomas E, Dewey and Mayer Robert F. Wagner. Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill’s message said:
“It is fitting that we should mark with due ceremony this 300th anniversary of the first Jewish settlement in the United States. Your country owes its great position in no small degree to the ready welcome which you have always extended to those who were the victims of persecution in their own homes on account of race, religion or politics. In pursuing this wise and rewarding policy the rulers of the United States have followed the course begun by the British administration in Colonial days.”
Premier Sharett’s message declared: “Israel salutes American Jewry on the historic occasion of its tercentenary celebration. The annals of the American Jewish community extending over three centuries, and its striking growth during the last 100 years, constitutes a cardinal chapter in the history of the Jewish people and adds luster to the great saga of the United States.
“Standing on the threshhold of the fourth century of its existence, American Jewry must be keenly conscious and deeply proud of the great heritage of Jewish tradition and idealism which has fallen to its lot. Indeed, were it not for the single-minded dedication of the masses of American Jews to the cause of their people, Israel would hardly have arisen, while hundreds of thousands of Jews who found refuge in the land of their forefathers would have remained doomed to misery, degradation and constant peril.
“Let the chance of so decisive a participation in such an inspiring historic enterprise be a challenge to the Jewry of the United States as it now surveys the long road it has travelled and scans the distant horizons of its future.”
The Netherlands Prime Minister, Dr. William Drees, said in his message: “The celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Jewish community in the United States recalls historical associations of which both the Dutch and the American people may be justly proud. The first group of Jews to arrive in New Amsterdam, though they came from Brazil, were of Dutch origin. They sought and found an atmosphere of religious tolerance in the Dutch community of New Amsterdam. Soon joined by others of various nationalities, they helped to form the Jewish community in what was later to become the United States of America.
“Both the American and Dutch people have continued in their history to strive for–and where necessary to fight for–freedom in matters of religious no less than in other fields of human activity. “