Hadassah Convention Opens; Hears Kennedy Lauding Its Activities
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Hadassah Convention Opens; Hears Kennedy Lauding Its Activities

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President Kennedy tonight told the opening session of the Hadassah national convention that Hadassah has done work vital to freedom and that “democracies such as Israel and the United States must have the assistance of voluntary efforts such as yours.”

Mr. Kennedy said that as the world faces complicated challenges in the economic, social, and political areas, it is more important that “voluntary initiatives” be expanded. He said that “every citizen and every organization whose program advances human welfare anywhere fulfills an important national purpose.”

The President spoke in a tape recorded message to the 49th national convention of Hadassah. More than 2,000 delegates, representing Hadassah’s 318,000 members in 1,320 chapters and groups throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, are attending the four day convention.

Mr. Kennedy’s message stated:

“Your organization has long played an active and important part in the advancement of civil rights, the protection of civil liberties, the relief of poverty and hardship, and the enhancement of human dignity at home and abroad. It stands in the finest traditions of voluntary public service.

“Israel, the chief beneficiary of your actions to improve hospital and health care abroad, has a major university medical center as a result of your efforts. It serves the people of all nations without regard to their politics, religion, race or color. There is no better symbol of universal brotherhood.

“Your many other activities, such as the programs of vocational training, land reclamation, child rescue, and education, also contribute to the same goal. As the world faces increasingly complicated economic, social, and political challenges, it becomes increasingly important that voluntary initiatives such as yours be expanded. This is the very basis of international understanding. Every citizen and every organization whose program advances human welfare anywhere fulfills an important national purpose. Democracies such as Israel and the United States must have the assistance of voluntary efforts such as yours. I congratulate you for what you are doing for mankind and I wish you a very successful convention.”


Senator Jacob K. Javits, New York Republican, addressed the convention with a call for increased protests against Soviet anti-Semitism. He said: “The United Nations, our own Government, organizations like Hadassah and civil and religious leaders all over the world–civilized men everywhere–should be heard in protest against Soviet persecution of Jews. The Soviet people must be told that their government stands before the bar of world opinion accused by its own acts and policies. The Kremlin must not be permitted to believe that the world will take at face value its claim of having prohibited anti-Semitism by law.”

“By their reaction to earlier protests,” Sen. Javits continued, “the Soviet Union and its leaders have shown their sensitivity to charges of anti-Jewish discrimination. In view of the continuing reliable reports from the Soviet Union, the Kremlin owes the world an explanation which should be clear and unequivocal. Spiritual genocide is no less destructive than mass physical slaughter, and we must do everything in our power individually and collectively to speak out against it.”

“A great wave of indignation now from all parts of the world can prove powerful enough to stop the deadly progress of Soviet discrimination and persecution of Soviet Jews,” the Senator stated. “The Kremlin is sensitive to world public opinion on anti-Jewish persecution and has shown by its reaction that the pressure of public protest in non-Communist countries does have some effect.”

Declaring that “there can be no mistake about Khrushchev’s determination to destroy the Jewish life of Soviet Jews,” Sen. Javits stressed that “the range and intensity of recent Soviet discriminations should remove any doubts that Jews are being singled out for punishment and being made the scapegoats for domestic failures and economic difficulties in the USSR.”


Mrs. Siegfried Kramarsky, national president of Hadassah, told the convention that the United States should “take the initiative in urging the United Nations to use the appropriate machinery for impressing upon the leaders of the Soviet Union that the community of nations will not tolerate continued discrimination against their Jewish citizens.”

She stressed that “the price of apathy and indifference is too high for us, as Jews, as Americans and as human beings. We cannot afford to be silent. Free nations cannot afford to condone by inaction, conditions that undermine the very foundations of human freedom and mock the ideals of the United Nations.”

On the American scene, Mrs. Kramarsky called on Congress to pass a “workable” civil rights bill before adjournment. In discussing Hadassah’s work, she announced that Dr. Kalman J. Mann, director-general of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel, will go to Africa in November for one month to evaluate the health needs of Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland. She said that Dr. Mann’s mission is being undertaken at the request of the Department of International Cooperation of the Israel Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mann will also evaluate the work of Hadassah physicians now working in Nyasaland, Tanganyika, and Ethiopia.


Mrs. Mortimer Jacobson, national treasurer of Hadassah, told the convention that during the 1962-1963 fiscal year, which ended June 30, Hadassah raised a total of $10,962,821. The budget for that fiscal year was $9,838,243.

She reported that in the last ten years Hadassah raised $90 million for its operations in Israel. The funds went primarily to advance the Hadassah Medical Organization, Youth Aliyah, the building fund of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem, the Jewish National Fund, and Hadassah’s vocational educational services.

Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, Minnesota Republican, reviewed the general world scene and advances toward peace by the major powers. He commended Israel for its assistance to the free world through Israeli aid programs to underdeveloped countries, now under way in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Stressing the importance of South America at this time, the Senator said Israel had already undertaken to train 200 Latin Americans in agriculture. He added that no one was more competent than the Israelis to do such training because of Israel’s “miracle in the desert.” He noted that Israel in the last five years has extended its help to almost 80 nations.

Emphasizing the need for world peace, the Senator, a leading advocate of controlling armaments, cited the traditional Jewish devotion to peace.

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