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Jews Throughout the U.S. Mourn Kennedy; Memorial Prayers Recited

November 26, 1963
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Jews throughout the United States today joined the national Day of Mourning for the assassinated President John F. Kennedy. Synagogues and temples throughout the country were open today for prayers for the repose of Mr. Kennedy’s soul and for God’s guidance to the country’s new Chief Executive, President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Throughout the weekend, Sabbath services were conducted in memoriam and, in many Jewish houses of worship, entire congregations, swelled by unusually large attendance, recited the kaddish in tribute to the late Mr. Kennedy.

The Synagogue Council of America, central organ of Orthodox, Reform and Conservative rabbinical and lay Jewish religious organizations in the country, had called on all Jews to join in the prayers in their houses of worship. At the same time, the New York Board of Rabbis, an organization that includes more than 800 New York rabbis of all denominations, had also called on all synagogues and temples to conduct special memorial services.

Statements expressing the Jewish community’s grief, all laudatory of Mr. Kennedy’s leadership toward peace and brotherly understanding, were issued by all major Jewish organizations on the national and local levels. Many important events scheduled by various Jewish organizations were either canceled or postponed.


Two outstanding events involving the appearances of both Mr. Kennedy or former Vice President Johnson changed their programs. Mr. Kennedy had been scheduled to deliver the principal address, on the evening of December 5, before the annual dinner, in New York, of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science.

President Johnson had been scheduled to appear for opening remarks tonight at the annual “Night of Stars” conducted for the benefit of the United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York. That event altered its program into a memorial tribute to Mr. Kennedy. Instead of the 10,000 scheduled to have attended that event, at Madison Square Garden, the huge auditorium was jammed to capacity by 18,000 Jews paying tribute to the memory of their late, fallen President. Eulogies were delivered by Rabbi Israel Mowshowitz, president of the New York Board of Rabbis; the Rev. Dr. Ralph W. Sockman, pastor of Christ Methodist Church; and Msgr. George H. Guilfoyle, representing the Catholic Charities of New York.

A dinner in honor of Dr. Emanuel Neumann scheduled for tomorrow night was postponed, to a date still to be announced, at Dr. Neumann’s request because “this is no time for celebration.” There were 1,000 reservations for the dinner at which Dr. Neumann’s 70th birthday was to be celebrated. The affair was sponsored by the Zionist Organization of America. Speakers included Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, Dr, Nahum Goldmann, David Lillienthal, Ambassador Harman, Governor Scranton of Pennsylvania, Dr. Max Nussbaum, ZOA president and Abraham Goodman, chairman of the Neumann Jubilee Committee.


Several Jewish organizations announced the establishment of memorials honoring the name of the martyred President. Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, announced today that a “fitting memorial” will be inaugurated in memory of Mr. Kennedy at the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem. The Jewish National Fund of America announced that a “John F. Kennedy Forest” will be planted in the heart of the American Freedom Forest near Jerusalem, “linking the name of our martyred President forever with the Holy Land.”

Messages of grief and condolence to the country and to Mrs. J. F. Kennedy, as well as pledges of utmost support to President Lyndon B. Johnson, were issued by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Zionist Organization and the World Jewish Congress; A.M. Sonnabend, president of the American Jewish Committee; Rabbi Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress; Label A. Katz, national president of B’nai B’rith.

Also Dr. Emanuel Neumann, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel-American Section; Dr. Max Nussbaum, president of the Zionist Organization of America; Monroe Goldwater, president of the United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York; Murray I. Gurfein, president of United Hias Service; Lewis H. Weinstein, chairman of the National Community Relations Advisory Council; Solomon Litt, president of the National Jewish Welfare Board.

Also Rabbi Mordecai Kirshblum, president of the Religious Zionists of America; Agudath Israel of America, national Jewish Orthodox Movement; Mrs. Siegfried Kramarsky, president of Hadassah; Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein, chairman of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee; Meyer L. Brown and Louis Segal, president and secretary of the Farband-Labor Zionist Order; Moses I. Feurstein, president of the Union of Orthodox Congregations of America; Dr. Nelson Glueck, president of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion; and many other leading Jewish organizations and personalities throughout the country.

Among events scheduled for today but canceled or postponed in observance of the national Day of Mourning were groundbreaking ceremonies for a new $3,900,000 medical research center to have been held at Montefiore Hospital, in The Bronx, rescheduled for December 2; the American Israel Song Festival, to have been launched here today; and all concert performances at the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, known as the “92nd Street Y.”

The B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, which was to have begun a national celebration of the group’s 40th anniversary, in Milwaukee, canceled that event.

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