Israel Independence Month in Chicago

Eminent scholars and theologians participated this week in an Interfaith Conference, “The Survival of Israel–Theological and Moral Perspectives,” which marked the academic highlight of Israel Independence Month in Chicago. the day-long conference Monday at Spertus College of Judaica was presented by the Greater Chicago Committee for the Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Israel established by the Public Affairs Committee of the Jewish United Fund and the Chicago Zionist Federation, in cooperation with the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the Chicago Board of Rabbis.

Scores of other events–both festive and solemn–in honor of Israel’s anniversary were held this month, proclaimed as Israel Independence Month by Gov. James R. Thompson and Chicago Mayor Michael A. Bilandic. The activities were coordinated by the Greater Chicago committee under the chairmanship of Philip M. Klutznick.

the celebration began May 3 with the appearance of Israel’s Premier Menachem Begin at a major luncheon with leaders of the Jewish United Fund-Israel Emergency Fund (JUF-IEF) and an evening appearance before 8500 at Northwestern University, where Begin received an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Other major events of the month included Chicago’s 7th Annual “Walk With Israel” which, despite chilling rain, drew more than 5000 participants from age 3 months to 95 years and raised an estimated $250,000 for the JUF-IEF. Many Chicago and Illinois political figures participated along with the residents of Drexel Home for the Aged, a JUF-IEF beneficiary, in a “Showcase Kilometer.” Among the others who hiked or jogged 30 kilometers were Albert P. Mitnick, 72, who earned $30,000, and dentist Richard Gershenzon, a participant in the 1978 Boston Marathon.

In another event, a citywide college student celebration May II at the University of Illinois Circle Campus (Chicago) was marred when the hundreds of celebrants were attacked by about 50 Arab students.

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