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Jews Start Passover Celebrations on Saturday; to Stress Liberty

April 16, 1954
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Jews throughout the democratic world will start celebrating Passover this Saturday evening, marking the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt and dedicating themselves to the cause of freedom and liberty everywhere.

In the United States, the attention of the Jews will this Passover be directed particularly toward Israel in view of the growing Arab-Israel tension. During synagogues services appeals will be made on behalf of the United Jewish Appeal, the Israel bond organization and various Zionist groups to secure as much financial aid in this country for Israel as possible.

Passover will be observed by 150,000 Jews in the American armed forces in various parts of the world. Two large Seders for several hundred Jewish servicemen will be held in Korea. American Jewish chaplains will also conduct Seder services in Japan, the Philippines, Hawaii, Okinawa, India, French-Indo China, North Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. A mass seder for GI’s in Puerto Rico will be conducted at the Carib-Hilton Hotel. Shipment by the National Jewish Welfare Board of holiday supplies to remote stations in Greenland, Iceland, Labrador and Alaska, where the GI’s will receive in addition individual Passover food boxes, will assure holiday services at these outposts.


Edward M. M. Warburg, general chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, in a Passover message, urged American Jews to mark the Passover holiday with “greater contributions than ever before” for the UJA. “This aid is crucial if Israel is to continue to strengthen its free way of life and to survive as a 20th century democracy in an area of hostile feudal and military dictatorships,” he stated, adding that 185,000 immigrants in Israel, 100,000 impoverished Jews in Moslem lands, 30,000 Jewish displaced persons in Europe and 3, 000 newcomers to the United States are included in the UJA Passover aid program.

Samuel Rothberg, national chairman of the Israel Bond Organization, called for the strengthening of Israel as “a dynamo” of democratic growth. “We who are associated with efforts to mobilize capital for Israel’s growth through the Israel Bond drive find a special meaning in this Passover observance. For work in behalf of Israel bears a close and abiding relationship to the struggle for freedom which we are now celebrating, ” he said.

Rudolf Sonneborn, national chairman of the United Israel Appeal, emphasized in his appeal that Israel approaches Passover as a target of hostility on the one hand while she fights valiantly to meet the needs of the people. “To help bolster the area of the economy which is concerned with needy immigrants, to speed the job of rehabilitation and resettlement, it is vital that Jews in this country respond with a maximum of efforts of generosity in these times of emergency and crises,” he declared.

Mrs. Rose L. Halprin, acting chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, pointed out in her message that “Passover has also acquired great universal meaning, especially for the Anglo-Saxon world whose democratic traditions are drawn from the sources revealed during the ancient exodus from Egypt.” This, she said, is why America has shown throughout such great interest in Zionist efforts to restore the Jewish homeland and why America continues to take a profound and sympathetic interest in Israel.

“We, of the Zionist movement, have always deeply appreciated this affinity between the people and Government of the United States and the new State of Israel. We are confident that this affinity will eventually result in further extending conceptually and pragmatically, the dimensions of freedom,” Mrs. Halprin stated.

Rabbi Irving Miller, president of the Zionist Organization of America, asserted that “for the Jewish people the essential elements of the Passover story have been repeated in the life of each generation. In our own time, the account of the Exodus and the struggle of the ancient Children of Israel for freedom and nationhood has acquired special meaning; for it is our generation which has achieved the rebirth of the free and independent State of Israel.”

Dr. Harris J. Levine, president of the Jewish National Fund, in his Passover message, said: “This year, Passover should be the occasion for helpful thought and action, for the generous aid we, American Jews, can render to hasten the deliverance of the State of Israel from the threat of new bloody occurrences along the Israel-Arab borders and from the perils of economic and political collapse. More than ever before, the Jews of the world must stand guard to protect the security and the welfare of the Jewish State against the dangers that threaten to engulf it.”


Irving M. Engel, president of the American Jewish Committee, noting in his message that Passover is the holiday signifying the fight for freedom, declared: “We shall strive to protect the traditional American freedom from designing and misguided individuals within our own country and from scheming dictators without. We shall continue to view with sympathy Israel’s heroic efforts to become a democratic bulwark in the Middle East and, within the framework of American interests, we shall continue to aid that effort. Above all, on this Passover we of the American Jewish Committee will rededicate ourselves to the ideals of this occasion by continuing our efforts to protect the human rights of Jews and of our fellow men.”

Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the American Jewish Congress, said in his message: “So long as mankind refuses to heed the voice of mere expedience and pursues instead justice and the principles of genuine democracy, so long will the Passover message have enduring meaning and compelling force. Today, unfortunately, there are men in this country who, bowing to the dictates of what they conceive to be expedience, would supply arms to the Arabs in spite of their malevolent threats of aggression toward Israel. There are also men in this country who, through excessive anxiety over our security, would cast aside the entire heritage of democracy in the effort to uncover subversion.”

Henry Edward Schultz, national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League, said that the observance of Passover has linked many generations of Jews in the universal yearning for freedom, and added: “Although oppression overshadows large areas of the world and the oppressors have control over forces which are catastrophic in destructiveness, each succeeding Passover reminds us that whatever the tyranny, the cause of freedom and justice emerges from its struggles with spirit undiminished.”

Passover statements were also issued by Prof. William Haber, president of the American ORT, Dr. Norman Salit, president of the Synagogue Council of America, and Dr. Maurice N. Eisendrath, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

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