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Rabbi Yosef Praises U.S. As Staunch Friend of Jewish People, Israel

April 24, 1974
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi, Ovadia Yosef, praised the United States last night “as the staunchest friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.” Rabbi Yosef addressed 700 American Sephardic and Ashkenazic lay and religious leaders at a dinner given in his honor at the Americana Hotel by the American Sephardi Federation and the Sephardi Leadership Council of the United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York.

The dinner was for the benefit of the Israel Emergency Fund and the coordinated campaigns of the UJA and the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York. During the course of the festivities, single contributions of $1 million and $500,000 respectively were pledged to the UJA by anonymous donors.

Rabbi Yosef noted that “Our rabbis of old instruct us to pray for the welfare of the State in which we find ourselves–and I readily obey this injunction here in this free and democratic country where the Jewish people along with all other citizens can live by their faith and by their religion in full equality.”

The Sephardic Chief Rabbi, visiting the U.S. on what was described as a “spiritual tour.” urged his audience to save their children from intermarriage and assimilation. He declared that Jewish education and return to the original sources of the Jewish tradition are the best ways to prevent assimilation. Rabbi Yosef repeated his call to American Reform and Conservative Jews to accept the Orthodox interpretation of halacha (religious law) particularly as it applies to conversion but also to all other aspects of religious practice.

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