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Jews Throughout World to Usher in New Year 5709 Amid Prayers for Peace, End of Bigotry


Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year 5709, will be ushered in at sundown today throughout the world with Jewish communities in the United States, Israel, Europe and elsewhere praying for a lasting peace, for the final liquidation of the DP problem and for an end to bigotry.

Uppermost in the minds of most Jews will be the fervent hope that the state of Israel, in the year 5709, will be firmly entrenched and will see the arrival of tens of thousands of displaced Jews who will be enabled to establish for themselves a new life after more than a decade of homelessness and persecution.

In a message of New Year greetings “to all our fellow Jews and our friends of other faiths,” the Synagogue Council of America said that the “newly-established state of Israel–created by the heroism and self-sacrifice of our brothers–gives promise that the tortured and frustrated survivors of European Jewry may at last find security and peace. We fervently pray that the spirit of the High Holy Days may enter the hearts of God’s children everywhere and all men and nations form a single hand to perform His will with a perfect heart.”

A New Year’s message issued by the United Synagogue of America emphasized the need “to demonstrate anew that the ideals of justice, truth and brotherhood are just as valid guides to Jewish living today as they ever were.” A message issued by the Rabbinical Council of America stated: “The traditional blowing of the Shofar will serve as a clarion call to all Jews to dedicate themselves in the coming year to the reestablishment of the high moral and spiritual principles of the Jewish faith in everyday life.”


Frank L. Woil, president of the Jewish Welfare Board, in a Rosh Hashanah message, pointed out that although bigotry and discrimination are still to be overcome, “we are more aware than ever of the great mass of goodwill and understanding in the hearts of the American people.” Noting that the theme of self-regeneration runs through the prayers of the High Holy Days season, the J.W.B. president called on Jews–applying the idea of those prayers–to “break the bonds of pessimism and dejection which have for more than a decade held us enthralled.”

Faith in the “ultimate victory” of Israel in its present struggle and determination “to do everything in our power to aid” the new state were the high points of the Rosh Hashanah greetings extended by Frank Goldman, president of B’nai B’rith. “The fate of our people in Israel hangs in the balance between war and peace and upon the outcome depends the destiny Jews in Europe and in the Moslem countries,” his message said.


Mrs. Samuel W. Halprin, president of Hadassah, in a Rosh Hashanah message sent to 977 chapters throughout the country, declared that “Hadassah has begun the year 5709 by inaugurating a program of rehabilitation for war wounded in Israel. We have established a rehabilitation center in Jerusalem, staffed by orthopedic specialists and occupational therapists, who are using all their skills to retrain amputees and other disabled Israeli veterans so that they may resume normal lives and take their places in the social and economic development of the Jewish state. In the same way as we set ourselves to clearing the blight of disease from the Holy Land 36 years ago, we are today embarking on a program of health reconstruction to safeguard the well-being of the children and adults of Israel.”

Pointing out that “for the first time since Titus destroyed the Temple in the year 70, the Jews once again have a homeland in Israel,” Justice Meier Steinbrink, chairman of the Anti-Defamation League, noted that “the youthful state finds itself in a strife-torn world teetering on the brink of a cosmic cataclysm.”

Judge Morris Rothenberg, president of the Jewish National Fund of America, said in a New Year’s message: “While the new state must stand guard over its liberty and frontiers and defend itself against any renewal of warfare by the Arabs, great developments are taking place in Israel. American Jews will have the privilege in 5709 to extend their maximum support in securing the resources needed to meet the existing and future settlement needs of Israel.”

George Backer, president of the American ORT, revealed in a Rosh Hashanah message that ORT is planning to extend its vocational training reconstruction program for Jewish refugees and DP’s to Israel as part of its worldwide program during the coming year. “ORT is now mobilizing all its resources in order to contribute skilled labor toward the building of a prosperous state of Israel. ORT has also started a training program in the Moslem countries, where about 900,000 forgotten Jews – the most oppressed and depressed people in the world – are solely in need of vocational training and guidance,” his message said.

Henry Wallace, Progressive Party candidate for President, issued a New Year’s message asserting that “I and my colleagues have pledged our foremost efforts towards the eradication of discrimination against the Jewish people in whatever form it takes. We believe that those who disseminate anti-Semitic propaganda are criminals and demand their prosecution as criminals. On this High Holiday I great the courageous, industrious and patriotic Jewish people and wish them a New year of peace, hope and abundance.”

Fraternal greetings, as well as expressions of deep sympathy and pledges of support to the Jewish people of the United States and other countries, were issued by William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, Philip Murray, president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, and Maurice J. Tobin, U.S. Secretary of Labor, through the Jewish Labor Committee. The messages expressed encouragement to the Jewish people in the New Year’s holiday season and pledged support for the Jewish National Hero in Palestine and to the eradication of racial and religious prejudice “which has no justification in a free land like ours.”

The American Council for Judaism, in a message signed by Rabbi Elmer Berger, executive director, said: “We pray that the displaced persons of all faiths may this year be given new opportunities to rehabilitate themselves in free lands. May the ensuing year bring peace to Palestine and may the political strife in that Holy Land come to an end, so that all its inhabitants, of whatever race and faith, may build their homes in peace.”

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