Observance of Passover Starts Tonight; Aid to Refugees Marks Holiday
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Observance of Passover Starts Tonight; Aid to Refugees Marks Holiday

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Jews throughout the world will begin celebration of Passover tomorrow evening to mark the liberation of Jews from ancient Egypt and to note that this year the story of the Exodus from bondage in Egypt is being repeated by tens of thousands of Jewish refugees from Egypt and other lands of tyranny.

The United Jewish Appeal, in a Passover report to Jewish leaders, today estimated that more than 3,000 Jewish refugees, including 1,000 from Egypt, will be brought to Israel during the Passover week. The report also said that wherever Jewish emigrants may be when the sun sets tomorrow, even on the high seas, UJA agencies will provide them with matzoth and other special supplies which they must have for a proper observance of Passover.

Four hundred Jews aboard the S. S. Fairsea, which sailed from Bremerhaven, Germany, March 31 to bring them to new homes in Canada, have aboard 2,000 pounds of matzoth and 800 pounds of matzoh meal. Two hundred and fifty Jewish refugees bound for Australia aboard the S.S. Waterman, which sailed from Rotterdam. Holland March 28, have 1,250 pounds of matzoth and 500 pounds of matzoh meal. The food for these seders at sea was provided by the Joint Distribution Committee, as part of a program which is distributing more than 630,000 pounds of matzoth and matzoh meal in 14 European countries.

Many of the refugees who will share in this distribution come from countries where proper observance of Passover is impossible. Adults among them will be eating matzoth for the first time in years, and children for the first time in their lives. The largest portion of the supplies JDC is providing goes to Hungarian Jews still in refugee centers in Austria. Immigrants awaiting transportation to Israel in transit camps maintained by the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency in France, Austria, Italy and Greece will also benefit from special allocations for Passover supplies.


Seders will be celebrated by Jews in the armed forces. Chaplains will tell the ancient story of liberation to some 150,000 service men in 65 lands overseas. The National Jewish Welfare Board has arranged to supply thousands of pounds of matzoh and other kosher foods for Passover to Jewish service men from Greenland to Korea. In addition, the agency has sent 4,000 individual Passover food boxes to Jews who will have to “go it alone” at remote stations. These include men on maneuvers, aboard smaller ships at sea, and at lonely weather outposts in the Arctic, Some supplies will be dropped by helicopter.

In a Passover message to American Jewry on behalf of the Government and the people of Israel, Israel’s Premier David Ben Gurion expressed confidence that “the Jews of America, who have the privilege of living in the classic land of freedom” will do everything in their power to ensure that all Jewish refugees who are now arriving in Israel “may be speedily integrated in the ranks of the builders of Israel.” The message, cabled to William Rosenwald, general chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, emphasized that Israel expects between 100,000 and 120,000 new immigrants this year.

Mr. Rosenwald, in his own Passover message to American Jewry on behalf of the United Jewish Appeal, said: “As we celebrate the Passover in our free United States, let us remember that the brave people of Israel need our help more than ever before in making it possible for them to absorb at least 100,000 of today’s homeless, persecuted, oppressed or impoverished Jews. Only by giving and doing more than ever before can we make Passover come true all over again for the tens of thousands of Jews overseas, in Egypt, in Eastern Europe, in North Africa, who are eating of the bread of affliction in the days of the modern Pharaohs and who need a helping hand to freedom which only we can extend.”

Mrs. Rose Halprin, acting chairman of the Jewish Agency, in a Passover message to the Jews in the United States, said: “Israel, during the last months, has undergone a crisis of major proportion. This crisis tried the spirit of the people, but they stood the test. It, nevertheless, retarded the consolidation program on which the development of Israel’s economy and culture depends, on which the absorption of the immigrants is contingent. The people of Israel are carrying on heroically. American Jewry will continue to stand at their side, supporting them with the means to carry forward the work of creating a self-sustaining State, by extending maximum support to the United Jewish Appeal and Israel Bonds. We are happy in the realization that this duty is being fulfilled.

Abraham Feinberg, president of the Israel Bond Organization, said in a special Passover message that “the most direct relationship which American can have to Israel’s efforts to maintain her independence and freedom, is to be found in helping her maintain her economic strength through the purchase of Israel Bonds.” He cited the new oil pipeline from Elath to Beersheba as an outstanding example of the way in which Israel Bond funds are being utilized to strengthen Israel’s economy. “The new pipeline,” he pointed out, “cost $7,700,000; $5,500,000 of this sum was provided through Israel Bonds. As a result of this use of Bond funds, Israel will be able to save as much as $1,000,000 a month in oil transportation costs.”

Leaders of other central Jewish organizations similarly issued Passover messages. They included Dewey D. Stone, national chairman of the United Israel Appeal; Dr. Emanuel Neumann, president of the Zionist Organization of America; Dr. Miriam Freund. Hadassah president; Abner Bregman, president of United Hias Service, and heads of rabbinical organizations.

Many thousands of American Jews will this year commemorate the slaughter of six million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis, as well as the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, as part of their traditional seder on the first two evenings of the Passover holiday. The commemoration will take the form of a reading, in English and in Hebrew, of a brief “Ritual of Remembrance,” which has been endorsed and circulated by a committee of prominent communal leaders and rabbis of all denominations.

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