WASHINGTON (May. 27)
Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara paid tribute today to the National Council of Young Israel for its community service programs “which exemplify Americans at their best.”
“Throughout the last half century, your leaders, past and present, have guided the National Council of Young Israel through many proud accomplishments. It is only within a free nation such as ours that such fine organizations can grow and flourish,” Mr. McNamara said in a statement read on his behalf by his special assistant Adam Yarmolinsky during an afternoon reception at the Israel Embassy in honor of some 150 members of the organization who participated in day-long Armed Forces Day program.
Today’s event was part of a series of celebrations to mark young Israel’s Golden Jubilee year. Earlier in the day, organization members–who had flown down from New York aboard a chartered plane–took part in a special wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in nearby Arlington National Cemetery. Retired Rear Admiral Morris Smellow of Annapolis, Md., speaking at the wreath-laying ceremonies, traced the history of Jewish contributions to the defense of America since the founding of the New Amsterdam colony in 1657. “Since that time, Jews have been represented in every armed engagement by American forces,” he said.
Tomorrow morning, a young Israel delegation, headed by Rabbi David H. Hill, president, will present an antique Chanukah menorah, rescued from Germany, to the White House. Special Presidential Assistant Myer Feldman will accept the gift in White House ceremonies on behalf of President Kennedy.