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Solidarity Vigil Against Wave of Anti-semitism in France

October 15, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

With adherents of various political strains within Washington area Jewry participating, about 150 mostly young Jews joined late yesterday in a “vigil of solidarity” against the wave at anti-Semitism in France and called on the French government to suppress attacks on Jews.

The demonstration took place, under city law, 500 feet from the French Embassy. It was organized by an ad hoc group named “Committee of Concern” which presented a statement to the Embassy. The statement said: “We express our support of the Jews of France and ail those who stand with them …. The leaders of France must speak out against terrorism and act now to destroy the climate which allows those acts to take place.”

Prayers, including the Kaddish were recited. The shofar was blown and songs were sung in Hebrew, Yiddish, French and English. A sprinkling of non-Jews joined in the demonstration and some held lighted candles along with the Jews. Placards carried such statements as “Jewish solidarity has no borders” and “We are all French Jews.” One showed a swastika over the letters PLO.

A notice to the media said “The committee and the vigil emerged out of discussions among parents in the Fabrengen Cheder, an independent Jewish school, and community in Washington, D.C. Support also comes from leaders of local synagogues, Hillel Foundations on area campuses and officials of the Jewish Community Council.”

Joanne Yelenik, a member of the Cheder parents and a teacher of American history and literature at a private high school in Georgetown, was the leader of the vigil. Mrs. Yelenik, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who came to Washington seven years ago, drew the biggest applause when she said. “We will not allow the fortunes of history to make us, the Jewish people, its victims. The Jewish people will not be silent. We assert proudly and baldly that the Jewish people live. “

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