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Jewish Heritage Week Launched

The New York Board of Education today launched its first Jewish Heritage Week with a program of drawings, songs, music, readings and dance by school children. The program took place at the Board’s headquarters in Brooklyn.

Richard Ravitch, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, which had been instrumental in getting the Board to establish the week, told some 100 persons attending the ceremony that the experiences of Jews in New York City will be of benefit to never immigrant groups to the city. He said he hopes that weeks such as this will foster better understanding between the various groups that make up the city.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, along with a number of other Jewish news media in New York, was given by the JCRC and the Board of Education a “Partner in Education” award “for leadership and support, and for contributions of effort, skill, and knowledge to benefit students of the New York City public schools.” Malcolm Hoenlein, JCRC executive director, in presenting the award, noted the importance of the JTA and other Jewish news media in transmitting Jewish heritage.

Eli Zborowski, honorary president of the American Federation of Jewish Fighters, Camp Inmates and Nazi victims, presented the Board with a series of 80 photographs from the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem of the period 1933-45. He urged the educators present to teach children about what racism, discrimination and anti-Semitism can do so that when they grow up they can prevent the Holocaust from happening again.

LESSON OF THE HOLOCAUST

Robert J. Christen, president of the Board of Education, said the lesson of the Holocaust is a recognition of the common humanity of all. School Chancellor Irving Anker said that New York is made up of “the rejects of the world” who showed they could flourish in freedom.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eugene Gold, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, told the gathering that Soviet Jews are the new ghetto fighters who fight with their spirit against the threat of cultural genocide. Ilya Zlobinsky, a Kiev engineer who immigrated to Israel a year ago, said Jews are not only facing cultural annihilation in the USSR but are now also facing physical danger as official Soviet anti-Semitism has increased.

In addition to the JTA, Hoenlein also presented “Partner in Education” awards to the Allgemeine Journal, the Jewish Daily Forward, the Jewish Journal, the Jewish Press, Jewish Student Press Association, and Radio Station WEVD. Awards were also presented to the Jewish Labor Committee and the Board of Jewish Education of New York, two groups that have helped establish Jewish Heritage Week.

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