Hadassah Urges U.s.a. to Intervene to Halt Persecution of Russian Jews
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Hadassah Urges U.s.a. to Intervene to Halt Persecution of Russian Jews

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Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America–and largest single Zionist organization in the world today–is resolved to demand that the United States Government use its influence to halt anti-Jewish discriminations in the Soviet Union, Mrs. Siegfried Kramarsky, president of Hadassah, pledged here today.

Addressing the 2,000 delegates to Hadassah’s 50th annual convention, which opened here today, Mrs. Kramarsky said: “Despite the tragic lessons of history, anti-Semitism is still one of the world’s problems. Today in Soviet Russia, Jews are denied the natural and inalienable right of all people to practice their religion and to teach it to their children.”

Mrs. Kramarsky said that Hadassah refuses to remain silent “before the crime of cultural and spiritual genocide being attempted by the Soviet Union” and that Hadassah is “united in our resolve to inform the American Government and people of the facts, and to arouse them to exert their influence with the Soviet Government to halt its discriminatory actions against its Jewish citizens.”

Mrs. Max Schenk, of New York, Hadassah’s national convention chairman, asserted: “The fact that, as a people, Jews have for thousands of years survived the blackest of history’s aspects–man’s inhumanity to man–is no guarantee that we shall survive similar threats in the future. We have learned in our time that spiritual genocide may be just as ruinous to Jewish survival as physical genocide; that cultural obliteration awaits all Jews falling under the yoke of Communism.”


In a special message to the convention, President Johnson hailed the work of Hadassah in Israel. He deplored the existence of “too much disease and too little education through out the world” and predicted that the next 50 years “will offer new challenges, new opportunities, and new demands” for those seeking to eliminate this situation. He expressed confidence that with the help of Hadassah, Jews can make “substantial inroads toward solving these problems.”

(In Jerusalem, a message of congratulations from President Johnson on the occasion of last week’s dedication of the new Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Dentistry was made public today.

(In his message President Johnson stated: “For the nation of Israel the establishment of this school promises new advances in dental research, education and services. And for our two countries the Hadassah School of Dentistry represents another bond of international cooperation and good will.”)


Mrs. Kramarsky, in her presidential address, also condemned “extremism” in the United States, and urged Americans to “look behind appealing slogans and ask what a candidate is sincere about, what a party is unified for.” “Hadassah,” she stated, “has never been isolated from contemporary problems. On the contrary, its whole problem is in the mainstream of current realities. Judaism provides us with standards for thinking about persistent questions of good and evil, tradition and change, loyalty and truth, order and freedom, which face every generation. For too long have too many deluded themselves that such issues are for ivory tower philosophers. They concern us all.

“We are proud that the Jewish values we cherish equip us with reliable guidelines for thinking and acting. We are determined that our children shall also be armed with a knowledge of these values and find in them the guidance and hope which has sustained the Jewish people throughout its history.”

In another address to the convention, Dr. Kalman J. Mann, director-general of the Hadassah Medical Organization, announced that the organization he heads and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem have established a special division of health and social medicine. The division, he said, will provide courses not only for Israeli physicians but also for Africans seeking to specialize in public health. He returned recently from a special mission to Africa, undertaken at the request of the Israel Government, to evaluate the public health needs in a number of African areas.

Mrs. Herman Shulman, national chairman of the Hadassah Medical Organization, informed the convention that, in the last three years, Hadassah scientists have received research grants totaling more than $2,000,000. Of that total, she said, $1,000,000 had come from the United States National Institutes of Health, and that $960,000 was derived from other sources, including the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations.

Membership figures released to the convention showed that Hadassah now has 300,000 members in 1,320 chapters and groups in the United States and Puerto Rico.

The convention is to continue through Wednesday. Among major issues still on the agenda for discussion here are: Arab-supported anti-Semitism in Latin America; preservation of Jewishness in this country; Israel versus Arab intransigence; Israel-American relations; prayer in the U.S. public schools; and revision of existing U.S. immigration laws.

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