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Israel’s 25th Anniversary Celebrated in Many Cities Across Nation

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Many Jewish communities across the country are in the midst of celebrating Israel’s 25th anniversary. Within the past few days thousands participated in welcoming the arrival of the Torch of Independence brought to various cities from Jerusalem which had been lit there by Israel’s President Zalman Shazar.

In Baltimore, the celebration was inaugurated in a series of ceremonies throughout the area, following the arrival of a ceremonial torch at Friendship Airport. One of the highlights was the delivery of the torch at Hopkins Plaza in Baltimore by the relays of runners who traversed the 10 miles from the airport. Mayor William Schaefer received the torch from the runners on behalf of the city, and they presented it to the Governor’s representative. The torch was brought from New York’s Kennedy Airport by Moshe Gat, local representative of El Al. Leaders of the Jewish organizations in the community were on hand to receive the symbol of Israel’s silver anniversary. In the evening, the torch was delivered to the Jewish Community Center where an outdoor folk-dancing festival was held.

In Tucson, Arizona, Mayor Lewis Murphy pro-claimed last Tuesday Torch of Independence Day. A relay team of 28 boys representing every youth organization carried the torch from the airport to the Jewish Community Center where ceremonies were held. Twenty-five candles were lit by representatives of the synagogues and Jewish organizations. Delegates from the Tucson Ecumenical Council and the Catholic Diocese spoke of the candles as symbolic flames which penetrated all barriers. More than 200 persons attended the historic event.

In Boston, Gov. Francis W. Sargent officially extended greetings from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at a ceremony marking the Greater Boston Committee for Israel’s 25th Anniversary Celebration. The Independence Torch was presented by Shimshon Inbal, newly-appointed Consul General of Israel in Boston, to Irving W. Rabb. president of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, and to Justin L. Wyner, president of the Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Boston.

In New York, the National Jewish Welfare Board (JWB) announced it has made exclusive arrangements to book the Israeli rock musical “To Live Another Summer, To Pass Another Winter” for tours of communities throughout the country. The musical has had a successful run on Broadway. The JWB Lecture Bureau is arranging the first tour to coincide with local observances of the year-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of the State of Israel. The rock musical traces the history of Israel from the time of Noah up until the present time. The touring company includes many members of the original cast, all of whom are Israelis.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Israel will also send other leading cultural attractions to this country during the next 12 months. The National Israeli Song Festival will make its debut in Paterson, N.J. on Oct. 7 then go on a six-week national tour. Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem is scheduled to visit New York next month to talk about the Jerusalem International Book Fair next April and to promote exhibits of Israeli books in the US. The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is currently on a national tour.

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