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U.S. Jewish Leaders, on Eve of Passover, Greet Jewry and Review World Situation

Leaders of American Jewish organizations joined today in greetings to their fellow Jews on the occasion of the Passover and in reviewing the situation of the Jewish people in the world today. Many of the messages stressed the role of Israel as the haven of oppressed Jews today as it was the goal of the Jews delivered from slavery in Egypt 3,000 years ago.

Speaking for the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, representing 220 Jewish federations and welfare funds in the United States and Canada, Louis J. Fox, its president, declared in a message that “Passover proclaims the work of community-building that must be done to bring our generation into the promised land of fulfilment, social responsibility and brotherhood.” He pledged that “with the coming of Passover, we shall continue, with even greater intensity, our work of community-building at home and constructive human services in Israel and other lands where Jews seek our help.”

Edward Ginsberg, general chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, recalled, on the Passover eve, the “tens of thousands of our fellow Jews who are still slaves unto Pharaoh in lands of persecution, the children in the Beisan Valley settlements sleeping in underground shelters, and the Jews standing watch on the Suez Canal.” The promise that spring brings of renewed life and hope, he said, for Jews throughout the world “is a promise which can only be fulfilled with our help.”

Max M. Fisher, chairman of the United Israel Appeal, noted that “this year, two years after the events of June 1967, an entire people will recommit themselves to the goal of a secure and meaningful peace, one which will serve to insure the blessings of freedom.” The year, he said, “will be a time when Israel’s brave people, ever mindful of the vast numbers of their fellow Jews still living in modern bondage in countries of despair and oppression, will renew their pledge to keep the immigration gates open so that all who can may enter.”

Abraham Feinberg, president of the Israel Bond Organization, described Israel as the hope, refuge and promised land for Jews in danger and declared that “we have the responsibility to preserve and strengthen the State of Israel which represents not only the spiritual center of our people but the instrument of salvation and redemption for all those who have lost hope elsewhere.”

Dr. Emanuel Neumann, chairman of the American Section of the Jewish Agency, declared that “as we celebrate Passover, we are acutely aware of the desire of modern Egypt to destroy Israel.” In a reference to the forthcoming Four Power talks on the Middle East, he declared that “We are still hopeful that the United States will adhere to its professed concern for Israel and avoid the serious pitfalls which lie ahead.” Arthur J. Goldberg, president of the American Jewish Committee, who called for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, urged the Arab countries to hearken to the ancient cry of “Let My People Go” and pleaded with the collective conscience of mankind to make clear that the Arab states’ persecution of the Jews would no longer be tolerated.

Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the American Zionist Council, declared that “a new dimension has been added to Passover–the preservation of and freedom of Israel as it faces an array of enemies who would throw all Israelites into the sea.” He stressed that Jewish communities in this country, in their observance of Passover, “remember the still unfree, the unequal in our own land who too are struggling for redemption from poverty, from discrimination and humiliation.”

Rabbi Joseph Karasick, president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, denounced the “ugly spectre of racism and oppression which still haunts mankind.” He recalled that the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto revolt will be celebrated during Passover and prayed, “May we always remember those who gave their lives to uphold the principles of freedom and human dignity for all mankind.” Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Reform), urged “support for our black brothers in their quest for freedom and dignity.”

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