PHILADELPHIA (May. 18)
A B’nai B’rith-sponsored Bicentennial commemoration of religious liberty was celebrated here Sunday. with a reminder that American freedoms “remain forever fragile, easily splintered and lost” by community indifference.
“The Jew who fails to exercise his freedom to be affirmatively Jewish–who treats it passively–is denying, not defending, religious freedom, “B’nai B’rith President David M.Blumberg told a slimmed-down audience that withstood murky skies and showers during the outdoor exercises in this city’s Fairmount Park.
The occasion was a rededication of the statue of religious liberty, a public monument by the celebrated Jewish sculptor Moses Ezekiel, which B’nai B’rith had commissioned and presented 100 years ago as a gift to the nation during America’s Centennial celebration.
Mrs. Kaygey Kash, president of B’nai B’rith Women, representatives of the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish clergy, civic officials and Jewish communal and B’nai B’rith leaders took part in ceremonies that were interrupted by intermittent downpours. An expected attendance of several thousand was diminished by the inclement weather. Citations to the 133-year-old B’nai B’rith for its historic roles in advancing religious freedoms were presented by the state of Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia.