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American Jewish Tercentenary Plans Announced by Samuel

September 1, 1954
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

With 250 cities and many of the leading states in this country participating formally, and with virtually every local and national Jewish organization cooperating, complete plans for celebration of the American Jewish Tercentenary, whose observance will continue for eight and a half months, were announced here today by Ralph E. Samuel, chairman of the National Tercentenary Committee of Three Hundred.

Officially, the Tercentenary celebrations will open Sunday, September 12, at Congregation Shearith Israel, the Spanish Portuguese Synagogue in this city, which was founded in 1654 by the first band of Jewish immigrants in North America. The group consisted of 23 Spanish-Portuguese Jews who had first emigrated from The Netherlands to Brazil, then sought refuge in Nieuw Amsterdam, now New York.

Included among the plans, which were two-and-a-half years in the making, are many formal meetings of state legislatures and city councils, 20 national network television programs, 14 network radio programs, and many other events of scholarly and artistic nature.

Among the scholarly and academic events will be special conferences and meetings, all geared to the Tercentenary’s theme: “Man’s Opportunities and Responsibilities Under Freedom.” Among the conferences will be meetings by the American Jewish Historical Society, Columbia University’s New York School of Social Work, Conference on Jewish Relations, National Council of Jewish Women, many Jewish centers, YMHA’s, and similar organizations.

There will be special art and historical exhibits – in New York, in many other cities around the country, and at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. Special symphonic concerts have been scheduled, with works by Leonard Bernstein and David Diamond; the latter has written a special symphonic work for the Tercentenary. Among scholarly works, there will be a 10-volume history of the Jews in the United States, and histories of local Jewish communities in many centers in the United States.

Civic celebrations will include observances in many state capitals, including the capitals of New York, Colorado, Rhode Island, Missouri, Connecticut, Michigan and Wisconsin.

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