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Jews Start Passover Observance Tonight; New Meaning Given to “Next Year in Jerusalem”

April 13, 1949
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Passover prayer "Next year in Jerusalem," which has been for centuries the climax of the Seder service, will assume a new meaning to-morrow evening when Jews throughout the world usher in the eight-day holiday in the knowledge that Jerusalem has this year been liberated by the Israeli Army and is now practically an integral part of the Jewish state.

In the United States the holiday will be marked by special drives in behalf of the United Jewish Appeal campaign in 3,495 Jewish communities. More than 1,200 rabbis plan to preach special sermons devoted to the U.J.A. during the holiday.

Continuing a tradition of more than three decades, the Jewish Welfare Board has made arrangements for the observance of Passover by Jewish personal serving with the American armed services in .Europe, Asia, Alaska and the West Indies. Complete Seders will be held aboard 15 Army transports on the high seas tomorrow night. In addition, J.W.B. chaplains, field workers and directors of USO-J.W.B. centers at some 400 camps, naval bases and Veterans Administration hospitals throughout the continent-al United States will assist military personnel in the observance of Passover.

The Army will fly rabbis assigned by J.W.B to Bermuda and Alaska to conduct Passover services for Jewish personnel there. The Caribbean Command furnished transportation which enabled Rabbi Mathan Witkin, USO-J.W.B. director in the Canal Zone, to make a 4,000 mile trip to survey the Passover needs of Jewish men stationed at various places in the West Indies. The local J.W.B. Armed Services Committees are engaged in setting up community Seders or on-post Seders for men unable to obtain leave.


The United Service for Now Americans will hold a mass Seder for some 400 new-comers awaiting resettlement in this country. HIAS will hold its 64th annual Seders the first and second evening of the holiday for some 200 newly-arrived Immigrants at its New York shelter. Similar services will be held on Ellis Island for those waiting hearings on entrance applications.

The Joint Distribution Committee reported today that Passover will be marked by the greatest exodus of Israel-bound Jews since Biblical days. Special Seders will be held tonight for Jewish emigrants in J.D.C. transient centers in Marseille, France; in Germany, Austria and Italy; and in North Africa, agency officials said. To enable Europe’s Jews to mark the holiday in traditional style, the Committee shipped 3,000,000 pounds of matzoth and matzoth meal to Europe plus 85,000 quarts of Passover wine.

Henry Morgenthau, Jr., chairman of the U.J.A, emphasizing the need for se-curing the largest possible total of cash contributions, pointed out that more than 45,000 newcomers would be forced to spend Passover in primitive, transit camps or tents because of the acute housing shortage in Israel. Reporting plans for the erection ten "tent cities" in Israel to expand the transient housing facilities, Morgenthau said that the Jewish Agency desires to expand its housing program but is hampered by a shortage of funds.

"Our generosity must prevent the transfer of the atmosphere of the D.P. camps to the soil of Israel," he appealed. "We must provide adequate food and clothing and shelter for the newcomers."


In a Passover message cabled from Jerusalem today three of the leading officials of the American Jewish Committee described the prodigious efforts being made In Israel to absorb tens of thousands of new immigrants and reconstruct the land. They urged continued aid to Israel through foreign loans, private contributions, support of the United Jewish Appeal and the "Skill, initiative and resources of private enterprise for the absorption of the "mass of immigrants who desire or need to come to Israel."

Jacob Blaustein, president; Irving M. Engel and Dr. John Slawson, executive committee chairman and executive vice-president, respectively, who are in Israel on a ?urvey tour, declared that "the ancient Seder tale of liberation is now being reported by tens of thousands of Jews, from the DP camps in Germany, from distant Aden from North Africa and other countries, who, after many wanderings, are now reaching the shores of Israel."

"Israel is teeming with life and hope. Everywhere we vent we found multitudes of people building roads and houses, working in factories, tilling the soil and re-constructing the country," the message said, "We urge that continuous efforts be made to strengthen the foundations of the new-born state so that it shall be an outpost of democracy and a bastion of peace and progress,"


A joint statement by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis asserted that "American democracy is based upon the ##als of freedom and liberty first proclaimed by the Jews’ successful revolt against slavery and oppression. Our founding fathers relived the same atmosphere of tension ### fear in their flight to the Hew World and it is a testament to their endurance and freedom that we in America enjoy the rights and liberties they won."

Extending holiday greetings to American Jewry, the Rabbinical Council of American stated: "We in America who are conscious of the enormous task to rehabilitate the 2?0,000 of our brethren, who will return home thi3 year after a decade of unprecedented suffering, will gain the courage necessary for the sacrifices we mast make in support of the United Jewish Appeal, by reciting the time-honored story of our redemption as related in the Hagadah."


Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett, its U.N. representative Aubrey S. Eban, and Ambassador Eliahu Elath, will be guests of honor at the 17th annual Passover Third Seder Celebration of the National Committee for Labor Israel next Saturday, evening. More than 5,000 persons are expected to attend the Histadrut event. Principal speakers at the Third Seder will be Barnett Janner, British Laborite M.P.; Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the American Section of the Jewish Agency; Jacob Potofsky, president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America; and Hayim Greenberg, member of the Jewish Agency executive.

Coincident with the approach of the Passover holidays, the Zionist Organization of America has launched a nationwide registration of American Zionists in a "Book Remembrance," signifying the American Zionist role in the efforts leading to the ##ation of the Jewish state of Israel. In his Passover message, Dr. Emanuel Neumann, president of the Z.O.A., said that "the state of Israel is the child of the Zionist president" and "its welfare will continue to be a Zionist responsibility" for years to ###e.Leon Gellman, president of the Mizrachi Organization of America, issued a statement declaring that "all mankind might justly join in celebrating Passover 1949," because it stands today "as a symbol of man’s eternal striving to be free and unfettered in a land that is his own, in a world that recognizes the dignity of the individual."

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