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Ford Extols Religious Diversity in America; Says Jews Provided Spiritual. Moral Fabric of Nation

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Former President Ford extolled religious diversity in America last night in an address to some 1500 guests attending the formal opening of an exhibition titled “The Jewish Community in Early America: 1654-1830″ sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution at the DAR Museum here.

“America is great because of and not in spite of, the many different people — people of different cultural, religious and national backgrounds — who have participated in its history and its life,” Ford said. “Conspicuous among them are the Jewish people, coming from many lands, themselves representing diverse backgrounds but united by their religious and ethical principles which, in fact, have provided the spiritual and moral fabric of this nation.

“This exhibition,” the former President said, “is a reminder to us not only of the great contributions of the Jewish people to our beloved country, but also of the principles upon which our nation is founded and to which it owes its quality. It is a reminder that while we are basically a religious nation, it is an essential port of our nationhood that we not only tolerate, but we welcome and owe much to the diversity of religious beliefs and practices, among our people.”

Ford described the exhibition as “an exciting and inspiring collection.” He told the audience that “it is a reminder” to us of the enormous debt that we owe to the diverse people who are part of America. Diversity in our society is a great strength of America, just as the beauty of Joseph’s coat is its many colors.”

The exhibition is the first on a Jewish subject at the DAR Museum. It will continue through March 15 and is open to the public. Admission is free.

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