Jewish, Non-jewish Leaders Stress Mideast Peace, Social Justice As New Year’s Goals
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Jewish, Non-jewish Leaders Stress Mideast Peace, Social Justice As New Year’s Goals

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American Jews assembled in their homes and synagogues all over the country today to usher in the New Year, 5731, according to the Hebrew calendar, which begins at sundown. American Jewry, generally more prosperous and genuinely united on major issues affecting them as Jews than ever before, were greeted by Jewish and non-Jewish national and local leaders and by the leaders of the many Jewish fraternal, service and religious organizations that comprise the spectrum of Jewish society in this country. President Richard M. Nixon, in a message from the White House, greeted his Jewish fellow countrymen with wishes for “a New Year of peace and happiness.” “Jewish tradition teaches that the power to do good or evil is in our own hands, and the season of the Jewish High Holy Days holds a meaningful message for men of all faith.” the President said. “These days of atonement prod us to an awareness of man’s own worth and dignity and of the divine and human potentialities within each of us. They are days of great hope, for the driving force of man’s freedom is his ability to look forward, appraise his limitations and seek means to widen his horizons,” President Nixon said.

Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York, In a New Year greeting from Albany, hailed Jewish leadership “in science, in industry, in the arts, in our spiritual life and our civic and public enterprises–in every field of human endeavor” where “members of the Jewish faith have helped to enrich and advance our nation…On these holy days, I know those of Jewish faith will rededicate themselves to carrying forward the noble traditions of their forefathers,” Gov. Rockefeller said. Mayor John V. Lindsay, of New York City, noted that the safe return of the hijacked airline passengers held hostage by Arab terrorists for three weeks occurred in time for them to celebrate Rosh Hashana with their families and friends. “I hope and pray that the happy return of the hostages will signify for mankind a year of peace among nations and reconciliation among the people of the world.” In an earlier holiday greeting issued at City Hall, Mayor Lindsay expressed hope that the new Jewish year would bring peace in the Middle East and alleviation of the plight of Jews in the Soviet Union. Lawrence F. O’Brian, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, extended his party’s greetings to American Jews with the hope that “the people of Israel will some day soon overcome the perils they now face as a nation.”


Max M. Fisher, chairman of the United Israel Appeal, said in his annual Rosh Hashana message that “If these are anxious days, they are also days in which we should allow ourselves a certain measure of confidence and hope. More than three years of a Near East peace have shown the people of Israel to be as determined and resolute a nation as any in modern history. In the face of adversity they are holding firm and strong. Under the strain of heavy sacrifice for security, they also continue to press forward in building their democracy and their future. Meanwhile, the Jews outside of Israel have demonstrated that they too understand their responsibilities–another good reason for confidence.” Philip E. Hoffman, president of the American Jewish Committee, observed that “Rosh Hashana reminds us that man is partner with God in creation, and therefore is morally obligated not to rest as long as there remains a single injustice or inequity in all his human relationships. Its spirit is therefore a lift to the despairing and resigned as well as an injunction to convert the crises and challenges of the coming year into opportunities and achievements for the betterment of the Jewish people in the United States, in Israel and for all members of the human family.” Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, declared in a Rosh Hashana message: “As we pray for peace and good will in the New Year, we also must vow to cry out against injustice, to offer succor and dignity to the disinherited, to stand forthrightly against the forces of misused power. And as we ask for atonement of our sins we must recognize that apathy toward despotism, aggression, bigotry, poverty and corruption is no less sinful than is the slaying of one’s own brother.”

Jacob Stein, president of the United Synagogue of America, called on its member congregations to devote themselves to meeting the needs of American Jewry and to concern themselves with the problems besetting Israel and the Jews in the Soviet Union. “We recognize that to answer this call may increase budgets, may cause inconvenience but the state of our society calls upon us to maximize our efforts, to educate our members and to provide an ongoing forum for discussion and social action.” Mrs. Sol Henkind, president of the National Women’s League of the United Synagogue, called for world peace that will “reunite fathers, husbands and sons with their families the world over.” Dr. Nelson Glueck, president of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, warned in a New Year’s message that “world peace cannot be achieved by doctrinaire Ideas or unyielding institutions.” “Peace will not come merely with the cessation of warfare and abstinence from military slaughter,” he said. “It will arrive only when men turn their hearts and minds to the solution of problems of overpopulation, environmental decay and social discrimination.” Dr. Emanuel Neuman, chairman of the American section of the Jewish Agency for Israel, expressed the hope that “Israel’s sacrifices of the past years, and its faith in the acceptance of American promises, will not have been in vain.”

Dr. William Haber, president of the American ORT Federation, declared, “This New Year, American Jewry is challenged to rise to the demands of the times, to demonstrate firmness of purpose and unity in action to meet the manifold needs of our people in Israel and other lands.” Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, said, in a Rosh Hashana message that “despite the burdens it might impose to sacrifice, if necessary, these times demand our financial generosity. We must assure the survival of Israel and maintain the strength of Jewish institutions here.” Rabbi Joseph Karasick, president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, prayed “that the United States and all its citizens may be found worthy of continued divine Bernard L. Berzon, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, called on “synagogues everywhere to devote special prayers for peace throughout the world, whenever the clash of arms is heard.” He said. “The plight of the State of Israel is of particular concern for us. We pray Almighty God to preserve Israel in her present ordeal.” Rabbi Israel Miller, president of the American Zionist Federation, urged understanding of Israel “as the instrument which will help bring to fruition our eternal Jewish verities; the compassion which we must feel for our fellow human beings, the intelligence we must apply to build a better world.”


Dr. Israel Goldstein and Mrs. Rose L. Halprin, co-chairman of the World Confederation of General Zionists urged unity “among free Jews throughout the world.” “Our history teaches us that nothing could undermine or endanger the existence of a united Jewish people. Jewish unity was and is the key to Jewish survival,” they said. Herman L. Weisman, president of the Jewish National Fund of America, called on “the masses of Jewry, rich and poor alike, to continue to provide us with the resources which we need to carry out our work.” Rabbi Harold I. Saperstein, president of the New York Board of Rabbis prayed that “the New Year may be a year of peace for Israel and its neighbors; a year of redemption for the harassed Jews of the Soviet Union; a year of spiritual renewal and deeper loyalty for the Jewish community of America.” Mrs. Leonard H. Weiner, president of the National Council of Jewish Women observed that Rosh Hashana is the day on which God “brings into creation a new being, a new people, a new humanity.” She urged fellow Jews to pray for “a new year in which peace, freedom and enlightenment may come to pass not only for Jews but for all people.” Morris L. Levinson, president of the United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York said the new year “tests to the utmost the courage and endurance of Israel’s people as well as American Jewry’s ability to cope with vast humanitarian needs.” A Rosh Hashana message from Leon H. Keyserling, president of the National Committee for Labor Israel, expressed confidence that American Jewry and “countless others in the United States who value human progress under freedom extend their warm greetings to a pioneering vanguard of Israel, whose leadership, vision and courage have helped the young state to endure all its trials.”

Harold Friedman, president of the United Hias Service, declared that on the eve of Rosh Hashana his organization “renews its assurances to homeless fellow Jews everywhere that they will not be forgotten, that they will be helped to rebuild their lives in freedom and security.” Mrs. David M. Levitt, president of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, expressed “the fervent hope and prayer that the coming year will see a permanent end to strife among nations and the beginning of a just peace and reconciliation among peoples everywhere.” Dr. Sterling W. Brown, president of the National Conference of Christians and Jews said that Rosh Hashana, “like the Christian new year, is a time for reflection and renewal.” In a joint Rosh Hashana message Harold Bernstein, president of B’nai Zion and Edward Sharf, chairman of its America-Israel friendship committee, declared that “the current temptuous Mideast situation has underscored as never before Israel’s dependence on helping hands from the United States.” The Long Island Commission of Rabbis, in a message from its president, Rabbi Moshe Kwalbren, called on all men to “live together with one another as family, as friends, as neighbors, as members of a society and a civilization.” David Zucker, president of the New York Metropolitan Region of the United Synagogue of America, urged the American people not to be complacent with regard to the Middle East conflict and the plight of Soviet Jewry.

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