American Jewish Leaders Stress Tasks for Community in Coming Year
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American Jewish Leaders Stress Tasks for Community in Coming Year

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Leaders of American Jewry utilized the occasion of the New Year today to convey good wishes to the community and to remind it of its continuing obligations and duties during the coming year.

Mrs. Rose L. Halprin, acting chairman of the Jewish Agency, said that “recent events in the Middle East have brought home more clearly to the American people, and indeed to the American Jewish community, that continued aid to Israel is an integral part of our country’s global program of aid to the cause of freedom everywhere. These events have serious implications for the free world, for the people of Israel, and more specifically, for Jews who live in danger areas under totalitarian regimes and who thus may require immediate haven in Israel.”

William Rosenwald, general chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, described the past year as one in which “American Jewry awoke to its full stature” and enabled 40,000 Jewish refugees to enter Israel. He warned that “thousands of Jews fleeing oppression still seek refuge in Israel. And the threat of war still hangs over the people of Israel. We shall have to reckon in the months ahead with these twin emergencies which also marked the past year.”

Abraham Feinberg, President of the State of Israel Bond Organization, warned that “Arab hostility to Israel continues, uncompromising and unconcealed.” He declared that “the months ahead will be most difficult for Israel” and stressed a need for American Jewry to help “maintain Israel’s economic structure despite the heavy burden of defense needs.”


Philip M. Klutznick, President of B’nai B’rith, declared that “changes are in progress and we have a fundamental responsibility to hasten changes in the right direction and obstruct changes in the wrong direction.” He declared that one of American Jewry’s most pressing problems is the strengthening of youth services.

Irving M. Engel, President of the American Jewish Committee, asked Americans of all faiths “to earnestly search” for peaceful solution of the Middle East crisis. He also called on American Jewry to launch a “spiritual Point Four” program to aid the reconstruction of Jewish communal life in Europe.

Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the American Jewish Congress, declared that, “as Americans and as Jews,” the Jews of this country must “find solutions requiring courage, strength, and, above all, fresh inspiration.” He urged the Western Powers to offer defensive arms to Israel as well as “multilateral security guarantee against aggression.”

Bernard H. Trager, chairman of the National Community Relations Council, urged the end of discriminatory practices “against American Jews by Arab states” and condemned “participation by our government in those discriminations.”

Murray I. Gurfein, president of United Hias Service, cautioned that the situation of Jews in Europe and North Africa is definitely “not good, it may get worse–and almost without warning.” Help from the Jews in the Western Hemisphere is “their sole hope for survival,” he stated.

Herbert R. Abeles, president of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, stressed the current need for a renewal of old concepts of “social justice, man’s humanity to man.” Such a concept, he stated, included the tasks of “instilling in our children and youth the richness of their Jewish heritage, rescuing those who have had to flee from persecution, rebuilding their lives in the free air of Israel.”


Rabbi Irving Miller, Chairman of the American Zionist Council, called for “the whole-hearted participation of Jews everywhere in the supreme task of ensuring the survival of the Jewish people and Jewish values.” Mortimer May, President of the Zionist Organization of America, declared that “here, on the American scene, we must counter the corrosive forces of assimilation, and develop a fuller expression of our great spiritual heritage.” Dr. Harris J. Levine, President of the Jewish National Fund of America, warned that border warfare along Israel’s frontiers “may flare up any day into large-scale war.”

Prayers for an “end to these constant crises that beset the Middle East” were called for by Mrs. Rebecca Shulman, President of Hadassah. Rabbi Mordecai Kirshblum, President of the Mizrachi Organization of America, asked for prayers for the “peace and prosperity of Israel and of all Jews scattered throughout the world.” Joseph Schlossberg, chairman of the National Committee for Labor Israel, demanded that Israel be furnished defensive arms. Chaya Surchin, President of the Pioneer Women, issued greetings to all Jews here and in Israel.

Special greetings were issued by Moses I. Feuerstein, President of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America; Charles Rosengarten, President of the United Synagogue of America, and Dr. Maurice N. Eisendrath, President of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

Dr. William Haber, President of the American ORT Federation, asked American Jews to “assume even larger responsibilities” for helping the Jews of North Africa. Mrs. Moise S. Cahn, President of the National Council of Jewish Women, said her organization seeks “not the shadows, but the realities of a lasting peace.”

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