Jews Meet the New Year of 5728 with Prayers for World Peace
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Jews Meet the New Year of 5728 with Prayers for World Peace

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Jews throughout the world assembled tonight in synagogues to greet the New Year of 5728 and to express in communal prayer their hopes for world peace, for the security of an Israel which once again passed through the trial of war last June and for the security of Jews in the Soviet Union and other lands where persecution continued. Jews in uniform offered prayers on battleships, in fox holes and on cease-fire lines.

The first Rosh Hashana service anywhere in the world took place Tuesday at 5 a.m., New York Time, for a group of Jewish airmen and sailors on the island of Guam. Hour by hour, as the sun set in each time zone, other High Holy Day services either were held or scheduled for Jewish servicemen in Vietnam and at more than 600 other overseas and domestic installations, according to Rabbi Selwyn D. Ruslander, chairman of the Commission on Jewish Chaplaincy of the Jewish Welfare Board, which made the arrangements for the services. He said the last large military service would take place in Hawaii and the very last one will be attended by two men stationed at Wake Island.

The JWB arranged similar facilities for services for Peace Corps volunteers throughout the world. The JWB’s Women’s Organizations’ Services, together with B’nai B’rith and B’nai B’rith Women, sent miniature replicas of arks, complete with Torah Scrolls, to military installations where there are no permanent chapels. Among troops using the replicas will be soldiers on front line duty in Vietnam, who cannot attend regular services, and patients in Veterans Administration hospitals who are bed-ridden.


Many thousands of Jews in hospitals, homes for the aged, child care residences and community centers throughout the United States also took part in services. In Metropolitan New York, arrangements were made by the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies for patients in the many affiliated institutions of the Federation. Many Federation institutions have on-premise synagogues. In centers, Y’s and family and child care agencies, auditoriums and special rooms were converted into chapels for Rosh Hashana.

The New York Society for the Deaf held services in its headquarters in the Emanuel Midtown YM and YWHA in Manhattan. The services were conducted orally for those who could read lines, with a simultaneous translation into sign language. A choir of four women interpreted in sign language the musical portions of the service. The Hebrew Association of the Deaf in Chicago again provided services in Temple Beth El in that city.

Blind Jews in the United States, Israel and other countries were again provided with Braille editions of prayer books and long-playing recordings of New Year services by the Jewish Braille Institute.

Some 900 Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbis throughout the United States signed a “Call to American Jewry” which stressed “the insoluble link between American Jewry and Israel.”

An appeal to worshipers in the Greater New York area to remember in their New Year observances the needs of Jews throughout the world was made by Edward M.M. Warburg, president of the United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York, who stressed the problems of half a million newcomers to Israel and thousands of Jews fleeing from Arab countries who are dependent on programs financed by the UJA.

Rabbi Edward T. Sandrow, president of the New York Board of Rabbis, asked the 900 members of the board to offer special prayers for peace during the High Holy Days, peace in Israel, the entire Middle East and in Viet Nam.

In Israel, three services were held in East Jerusalem for the first time since the 1948 War of Independence. One service was conducted at the Western Wall where thousands of Israeli Jews and High Holy Day visitors congregated. Another service, conducted by followers of the Lubavichter Rebbe of Brooklyn, was held at the former Habad Synagogue, The third was held at Ayei Olam Yeshiva. The synagogue and the yeshiva were leading places of worship before the 1948 war. They were desecrated in the intervening years by the Jordanians, Jews coming to the Western Wall found that workers had completed excavations of two additional layers of walls and stones to a depth of three yards.

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