Shazar to Be Honored Today at U.n.; Cheered by Thousands of Hassidim
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Shazar to Be Honored Today at U.n.; Cheered by Thousands of Hassidim

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Israel President S. Z. Shazar, who is now visiting the United States, will be the guest tomorrow of United Nations Secretary-General U Thant at a luncheon tendered in his honor to which more than 40 top diplomatic representatives of various countries have been invited.

The most enthusiastic welcome since he arrived in New York was given to President Shazar late last night when he called on Rabbi Menachem Schneersohn, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, at the latter’s study in Brooklyn. More than 4,000 religious Jews and other spectators jammed the broad boulevard in front of the Lubavitcher Yeshiva where the President and the leader of the Lubavitcher movement met. They included many young adults as well as aged and children–all anxious to take a glance at the Israel President.

Despite the fact that it was a surprise visit which started at midnight, word spread in the late evening hours that President Shazar would visit the Rebbe after a long evening rest at the Plaza Hotel, where he is staying. Until 11 PM, no one was certain that such a visit would take place, although it was known that the Israel President expressed his wish to visit the Hassidic leader. The visit was originally taken off the official schedule of the President’s itinerary. It lasted into the early hours of this morning.

Although the prospects of the visit were in doubt until the last minute, residents of the populous Jewish Crown Heights section of Brooklyn began congregating in front of the Yeshiva during the evening as police set up extensive security barricades around the area. About 2,000 Hassidim broke out into song and dance and wildly cheered as the Presidential motorcade drove up in front of the Yeshiva shortly before midnight. The smiling President waved to the crowd and was escorted into the building by a large delegation of rabbis.

Israel Ambassador Avraham Harman and Consul-General Michael Arnon, who accompanied the President into the Rebbe’s chamber, then left the room where Mr. Shazar and the Hassidic leader held their meeting alone until 2 o’clock this morning. President Shazar presented to the Rebbe a collection of Hassidic writings, while Rabbi Schneersohn gave the President a copy of a rabbinic dissertation published by the Rebbe’s great grandfather 100 years ago.


Today, President Shazar received leaders of a number of Jewish organizations who called on him at the Plaza Hotel. The delegations represented the Conference of Major Jewish Organizations and the American Zionist Council. Addressing the delegation of the Zionist Council, which was composed of about 50 leaders of all groups in the American Zionist movement, President Shazar called for unity in the American Zionist ranks and appealed to them to strengthen Hebrew education in this country.

Accompanied by Mr. Harman and Mr. Arnon, President Shazar attended yesterday sabbath services at the Fifth Avenue Synagogue. He and his party left the Plaza Hotel at 10 o’clock in the morning and walked the few blocks to the synagogue, where he was greeted by a cheering crowd of several hundred persons. During the service, Mr. Shazar was honored with the special maftir “Nachamu,” (Isaiah, Ch. 40) which is read at the sabbath service following Tisha B’Av.

After the service, Mr. Shazar attended a kiddush reception tendered by the Fifth Avenue Synagogue congregation. He thanked the congregation for its warm reception and then delivered a short commentary on the maftir “Nachamu,” which he had read earlier.

New York City officially welcomed President Shazar on Friday at a luncheon given in his honor by Mayor John V. Lindsay at Lincoln Center, the City’s showplace of the performing arts. The affair was attended by more than 100 prominent personalities in all fields of public life.

In his address at the kosher luncheon, President Shazar hailed New York City as “one of the most luminous” among the centers “where large Jewish populations lived and made notable contributions to culture, education, community life–for themselves and their neighbors” He recalled the visit to Israel of Mayor Lindsay, when the latter was a member of the United States House of Representatives, and expressed the hope that Mr. Lindsay would visit Israel again as New York’s Mayor.

In welcoming the Israeli President to the city, Mayor Lindsay lauded Mr. Shazar’s achievements, particularly in the fields of culture and education, and for his concern and interest in Jewish affairs throughout the world. The mayor presented President Shazar with a first edition of a volume, “The History of New York,” by William Smith, which was published in 1757. Mr. Shazar presented the Mayor with a Medallion of Jerusalem, encased in Israeli olive wood.

Before the luncheon, President Shazar was taken on a private tour of the new building which will house the Metropolitan Opera, where he was one of the first to be shown two large paintings by Marc Chagall which have not yet been unveiled for the public.

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