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35,000 American Jews in Patriotic Demonstration at Sesqui Exhibit

October 5, 1926
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(Jewish Dally Bulletin)

Thirty-five thousand Jews participated in a huge patriotic demonstration in the grand auditorium of the Sesqui-Centennial, Sunday afternoon. The celebration was arranged under the auspices of the Independent Order B’rith Abraham.

The group, representing a colorful assembly of Jews of American birth and adoption, commemorated the birth of the United States and paid tribute to the part played by American Jews in its development.

Large delegations were present from many sections of the country, including New York, Massachusetts, Maryland and Delaware. Thousands, it is estimated, were turned away, after every inch of available standing room had been occupied.

The climax of an evening of laudation which began with the address of Mayor W. Freeland Kendrick, who welcomed the audience to the Sesqui, came with the address of Senator Edward I. Edwards, former Governor of New Jersey, who delivered a scathing arraignment of intolerance.

After reviewing the Jewish contribution to the development of the American nation, he declared that discrimination against the Jew has no place in a country which takes its principles of freedom from the Bible.

He decried the Nordic Conception of Americanism declaring that “No man is un-American because he is not 100 per cent Nordic. The Jew who comes to America and is admitted to citizenship is presumed to be just as good an American patriot as is President Coolidge. His record and not his race should determine his patriotism.”

America has become the melting pof, because it wanted to become the melting pot, he stated: “It was we who encouraged our neighbors across the sea to join hands with us in perfecting the magic alchemy which has made of us an unconquering and unconquered people. It was of our own choosing that America was made the melting pot of the world.”

His own conception of the spirit of tolerance which should prevail he defined when he said: “No man is an alien who lives in and loves a free country; no man is without a country who is domiciled in America; no man is un-American because he is not 100 per cent Nordic. Americanism is defined in terms of deeds and acts, not in terms of racial distinctions.

“As a free born subject of this Republic and as a Senator of these United States, I deprecate with all the verbal energy at my command, the growing tendency in this country to revive a race prejudice against the Jew which up to a decade or more ago had been gradually disappearing.

“There is no place in our institutions, our lives or in modern history, for intolerance toward the Jew as a race.

“The Jew in the movement for American independence is not a myth. Neither is he a factor of impotence or intellectual nullity. Although no Jew immortalized his name on the great Declaration of Independence, Jewish history, Jewish minds. Jewish culture and the Jewish birthright which long antedates medieval and modern achievement left their imprint to guide the fathers. Your blood and my blood has thrilled to the same call of independence,” he declared.

“Let us never forget that we are a happy conglomeration of alien tonges, indissolubly joined and we must not permit any class or any sections of these tongues, whether they be pure Nordic or of a mixed strain to dominate. Our material interests are as varied as the constellation above and it is because of this variety that we must pull together and aim at a common destiny. We must cultivate a disposition to tolerate opinions, beliefs, practices and conduct differing from our own.

“‘Of all the bigotries that ravage the human temper, there is none so stupid as the anti-Semitic.’ Thusly reads the tribute to your race from Hon. David Lloyd George. What then has the Jew to fear, if he is honest, upright and courageous?”

The meeting was opened by William Wahlberg of Philadelphia, Third Deputy Grand Master of the Order. The occasion was formally inaugurated with a blessing by Rabbi B. L. Levinthal. Judge Gustave Hartman of New York. Grandmaster of the Order presided. A welcome was extended by Mayor W. Freeland Kendrick. Mayor Kendrick reaffirmed his friendship for the Jewish people, stating that he counts Jews among his dearest friends.

Addresses were also delivered by Congressman Wm. S. Vare, Republican nominee for the United States Senate and Senator Samuel W. Salus, President pro tem of the Pennsylvania Senate. Tribute to the Jewish contribution to American development was paid by Congressman Vare. The Jews, he stated, have contributed their full share to the moulding of American destinies.

A musical program was offered by Y. M. H. A. Choral Society, supplemented by fifty members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, under the leadership of Mr. Isidor Freed.

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