Jews Start Obser Vance of Passover; Seek Freedom for Soviet Jewry
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Jews Start Obser Vance of Passover; Seek Freedom for Soviet Jewry

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Jews throughout the democratic world start the observance of Passover, the Festival of Liberation, tonight with their thoughts directed toward the fate of 2,500,000 Jews in the countries behind the Iron Curtain whose liberation is being sought by Israel at the United Nations.

In many Jewish homes in this country and abroad, where the traditional Seder will be held and the story of the emancipation of the Jews from Egyptian slavery will be told, a parallel will be drawn between the bondage in ancient Egypt and the position of the Jews today in the Soviet Union and other Communist countries where the governments are engaged in an anti-Jewish campaign and have branded Jews as “spies” and “American agents.”

An appeal to American Jews for urgently needed funds for the United Jewish Appeal “to speed the redemption of every Jewish man, woman and child who emerges from Communist bondage in Eastern Europe and to strengthen the State of Israel as a haven for the oppressed” was voiced in a Passover message by Edward M. M. Warburg, general chairman of the UJA. “Only with this outpouring of funds can the UJA meet the needs of Jewish escapees from Iron Curtain countries and lift the hopes of the 2,500,000 Jews who are still trapped in the Soviet orbit,” the message said.


Jews who escaped from the Soviet zone of Germany to West Berlin will have their own Seder, arranged by the Joint Distribution Committee, it was announced today by Moses A. Leavitt, executive vice-chairman. More than 500 men, women and children have escaped Russian-occupied Germany and reached the safety of West Berlin since the beginning of this year, Mr. Leavitt said. He also reported that more than 100 of them have already been evacuated from Berlin to the Western zone of Germany via a special airlift project.

Despite the cessation of JDC activities in Hungary in January, the Jews of that country have received sizeable quantities of JDC Passover supplies, Mr. Leavitt revealed. One hundred thousand pounds of matzoth and 40,000 pounds of matzoh meal were shipped to Hungary early this year, the largest amount for any single Jewish community in Europe. Other countries into which major shipments of Passover foods have been sent include Yugoslavia, Greece, Austria, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Henry Morgenthau Jr., chairman of the Israel Bond Organization, pointed out in a Passover message that “the spirit of Passover gives hope and courage to those who live under the heel of dictatorship and tyranny.” He stressed the fact that “great numbers of Jews in Eastern Europe and the Arab lands look to Israel as a haven from oppression.”

The Synagogue Council of America, representing the Orthodox, Conservative and Beform Jewish religious bodies of this country, in a Passover message, called on all American Jews to be alert to any violation of the right of freedom of body and soul; to speak out against any discrimination based on warped social, racial or religious ideas; and to guard against any spiritual slavery that reduces human worth and dignity.


The National Jewish Welfare Board reported that some 150,000 Jews in the U.S. Armed Forces in all parts of the world have been provided with Passover food and will celebrate Passover at mass Seders in this country and in many points in Japan, Korea, Germany, France, England, Alaska, Iceland, Indo China, India, North Africa and the Caribbean area.

Smoothly-functioning airlifts in the war zone in Korea will carry GI’s to mass Seders in Pusan, Taegu, and Seoul and to services in all corps areas. The Jewish chaplains in the war zone have been working weeks in advance of the festival, planning for transportation, billeting and messing. In the U.S. volunteers on JWB’s 220 local Armed Services Committees will be hosts to thousands of GI’s at on post and community Seders held in Jewish community centers, synagogues, USO clubs and even, in some instances, churches. For the first time, a Seder will be observed by the Jewish servicemen on duty at the site of the atomic test maneuvers in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Leaders of all major Jewish organizations in the United States issued Passover messages dwelling on the significance of the holiday. Passover messages were issued by Jacob Blaustein, president of the American Jewish Committee; Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the American Jewish Congress; Louis Lipsky, chairman of the American Zionist Council.

Also by Rudolph G. Sonneborn, chairman of the United Israel Appeal; Rabbi Irving Miller, president of the Zionist Organization of America; Mrs. Samuel J. Rosensohn, president of Hadassah; Dr. Harris J. Levine, president of the Jewish National Fund of America; Henry Schultz, national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League; Ben Touster, president of HIAS; Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, known as the Lubavitcher Rabbi, and others.

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