American Jewish Leaders Note Perils Facing Israel, Needs of Underprivileged
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American Jewish Leaders Note Perils Facing Israel, Needs of Underprivileged

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American Jewish leaders issued Rosh Hashanah messages today stressing the grave perils facing Israel in the continuing Middle East crisis abroad and the needs and aspirations of the poor, the sick and the underprivileged at home.

Edward Ginsberg, general chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, observes in his message ” for the people of Israel, every day and every night is filled with terror. . . the terror of a bomb exploding in a bus station. . the terror of Arab leaders who vow to destroy the State of Israel.” Yet, he said, if the days and nights are filled with terror, the people of Israel are not. “They work and build and develop in spite of destruction. . . They ask for nothing more than the dignity of equals.”

Louis J. Fox, president of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, said, ”Jewish tradition makes the welfare of all mankind the province of profound Jewish commitment. . . It makes it incumbent upon each of us to do his individual part to end suffering, to feed the hungry, to strengthen the weak, to heal the sick and to renew the human spirit.”


Max M. Fisher, chairman of the United Israel Appeal, declared that Israel was “faced with needs of unprecedented dimension, and engaged in a struggle for survival “which produced a financial problem making the need for a United Israel Appeal “greater than ever in its history.” “More than ever,” he said, “a united American Jewry must make its contributions to the United Jewish Appeal so that funds can be provided through the UIA to meet the welfare needs of the newcomers to Israel as the Israelis themselves devote their full energy to the priority needs of strength and security.”

Louis Broido, chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, noted that “the coming year must find the JDC ready to assist still more thousands of refugees coming out of eastern Europe and the Arab countries. And for more than 300,000 needy in over 25 countries around the world, JDC must continue to provide basic health and welfare services and cultural and religious assistance to enable them to live in dignity.”

Abraham Feinberg, president of the Israel Bond Organization, said, “Our kinship with the people of Israel has found expression in concrete action, especially through the channel of Israel Bonds.” He said that “exemplary use has been made of Israel Bond funds in the implementation of many major development projects. . . While we turn to Israel for inspiration. Israel looks to us for understanding of its urgent need for development funds to maintain the pace of its progress.”

Dr. Emanuel Neumann, chairman, in a statement on behalf of the American Section of the Jewish Agency, declared that American Jewry was aware of the necessity of its full support of Israel. “Whatever the cost, we are determined to stand by her through every challenge, whether it be economic or political.”

Dr. Israel Goldstein and Mrs. Rose L. Halprin, co-chairmen of the World Confederation of General Zionists, observed that “Zionists must continue to stimulate and foster this spirit of unity which has and continues to be a powerful instrument combatting the attacks on Jews in Israel and all over the world.” Mrs. Max Schenk, national president of Hadassah, declared that her organization of 318,000 women dedicated itself “to redouble efforts in the work which we have continued for so long in medicine and health, youth rescue and rehabilitation, education and land reclamation.”

Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the American Zionist Council, called on American Jews “to become active participants in the greatest creative endeavor of the Jewish people in 2,000 years — the preservation and building of the land of Israel which calls out to our people for understanding and support.”


The leaders of American Jewish organizations engaged in community actions addressed themselves to a welter of problems confronting Jews and the world in general. Philip E. Hoffman, president of the American Jewish Committee, expressed the “profound desire” that Israel would find peace with its neighbors in the coming year. But, he said, the Middle East situation is part of many festering problems. Jews in several Arab countries, he noted, “are still subjected to discrimination, arbitrary arrest and systematic persecution.”

Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld, president of the American Jewish Congress, said that the vicissitudes of the past year “do not mislead us into despairing and resigning.” He referred to the hangings in Iraq , the continuing repression of Jewish life in the Soviet bloc and the continued war of attrition waged by the Arabs against Israel.

Messages in a similar vein were received by JTA from Mrs. Leonard H. Weiner, president of the National Council of Jewish Women; Dr. William Haber, president of the American ORT Federation, and Harold Friedman, president of the United HIAS Service.

American Jewish religious leaders too offered greetings and messages on behalf of the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox branches of American Judaism. Rabbi Solomon J. Sharfman, president of the Synagogue Council of America, which embraces all three, said that as Jews prepared for the holidays. “it is peace which remains the focus of our yearnings and prayers: peace for our brethren in Israel. . . Peace for three million of our brethren in the Soviet Union for whom the practice of their ancient faith means to do battle against constituted authority; peace for a mankind living on the brink of universal catastrophe; peace also for the citizens of our own nation, who are surfeited with the strife of racial discord and generational estrangement.”

Messages were also received from Rabbi Gilbert Klaperman, president of the New York Board of Rabbis; Rabbi Murice N. Eisendrath, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations; Henry N. Rapaport. president of the United Synagogue of America; Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis; Rabbi Joseph Karasick, president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations; Rabbi Zev Segal, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, and Mrs. David M. Levitt, president of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods.

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