A tree was planted in Central Park today at a convocation for peace called by nine national Jewish organizations. Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, president of the American Jewish Congress, who led the ceremony, explained to some 500 participants that on Tu B’Shevat–the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat–Jews have traditionally gathered to plant young saplings signifying commitment to life and fresh hope for mankind.
“Now, as an end nears to the devastation of the land and the people of Vietnam,” he said, “it is time for contrition and for planting. Our role in the destruction of life and land in Indo-China has compromised each of us, not only in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of our children, but more crucially, in the depths of our conscience.” Continuing, Rabbi Hertzberg declared: “As we plant, we demand a final halt to the killing, a final end to the ghastly bombing, no matter how difficult the path toward peace. As we plant, we call on our government after the ravages of an abhorrent war, to turn to the urgent task of healing and building,”
Speakers included Rep. Benjamin S. Rosenthal of Flushing, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Consumer Affairs Commissioner Bess Myerson; and David Livingston, president of District 65 of the Distributive Workers of America.
The tree-planting and religious services were sponsored by: American Jewish Congress/AJ Congress Women’s Division; Americans for Progressive Israel; B’nai B’rith Women; Central Conference of American Rabbis; National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods; National Council of Jewish Women; National Women’s League of the United Synagogue; Rabbinical Assembly; and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.