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March 28, 1980     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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March 28, 1980
 

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Page 20. HERITAGE. Florida Jewish News. March 28. 1980 By David C. Gross The Jewish Week-American Examiner Next week Jews throughout the free world will observe the beautiful, joyous holiday of Passover. Over and above the family togetherness that characterizes the holiday, the traditional special foods and new spring attire, there will also be some recollection that Passover is the holiday of freedom-- and since the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, where they had suffered the tribula- tions of slavery, Jews have been anxious to achieve and defend their freedom. On the eve of Passover 1980, freedom is a sometimes rare commodity. True, Jews in Israel and in the Western countries enjoy full political and social equality. But. there is never, it seems, an end to worries: the number of synagogues vandalized in the past year in the US. seems to have grown: cemetery desecrations and swastika daubings are reported in Germany and France: in the midst of a primary campaign, in an election year, the President of the United States issues a public apology for a mistaken vote by the American delegate at the United Nations which had sharply attacked Israel--and Jews. on the one hand glad that the mistaken vote was corrected, feel uneasy that the leader of the greatest democracy in the world saw fit to apologize, in effect to Israel and to the Jews of America. An uncomfortable feeling settles down on the community. The total economic situation in Israel appears -to be no better than it was, before the currency was changed to the Shekel and the heightening inflation in the U.S. is deeply troubling to American Jews --first. as Americans, for they do not want to see their country weakened by this economically debilitating scourge, and secondly, as Jews, A Look at Jews Today ... And 37Years Ago for many remember that poor economic conditions, depressions, unemployment seem to be followed by the emergence of militant anti-Semitism, in one form or another. The upcoming Passover season is a time for remembering, and Jews have a long memory. The rise of Hitlerism and the Holocaust that stemmed from it came on the heels of a horrible inflation and economic distress in Germany. Here at home, in the early 1930s, when the first Jewish refugees tried to enter the haven of America, after the Nazi rise to power in Germany, the doors were virtually barred because American labor groups (sad to say, including some Jews) were fearful of competition in the job market. And the news of economic dislocations in Israel--unem- ployment, a mob protesting government cutbacks in agricultural subsidies by pelting Knesset members with eggs and tomatges--tends to increase our sense of concern. No comparison to 1940 But for those who wring their hands in anguish, one must truly remember, and not that far back too: no matter how profound some of the problems now confronting the Jewish people, they are not to be compared with what Jews experienced less than forty years ago. In 1940, the Nazi military machine had smashed through one European country after another. The world had not yet learned of the diabolical plans for the Jews, but even/Jew knew that terrible troubles lay ahead. While the Yishuv in Palestine begged the Jews of Europe who could leave to do so at once, and join them, the gates of escape gradually closed, and the British Mandatory Power, having issued its infamous White Paper a year earlier, fought to ban any additional Jewish immigration to the Promised Land. The situation in the United States was tense. Until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December ]94], the United States was neutral, although it was supplying the British (and later, after mid- 1941, the Russians) with huge arsenals of military material. There were also two separate schools of thought in America: one, the so-called interventionists, said that America had no right to stay out of the European conflict and should join with England, the Free French and other Allies and defeat Nazism. The other faction, the America First Committee, wanted America to isolate herself from the war, and indeed from all overseas entanglements, and become self-sustaining and removed from all foreign influence. Event 37 Years Ago Although there are many unsettled and disturbing situations for Jews today, one can make a comparison with an event that is 37 years old, and one quickly realizes that things are better today. The event in question took place on February 24, 1943. A group of 770 Romanian Jews--persecuted loving Antonescu re port of Constanz,  on the destination--Haifa. The ship and sailed on should have long time ago, but alternatives: Hitler's armies overrun Poland, and were, spreading out in Romania meant certain reach the shores of Palestine, face of the British emigration there was a chance. The S.S. bad ship, but she had the abilil fleeing Jews to haven. Soon after they left headed south toward th, ,$/ruma passengers storm. The old vessel and appeared to be ready to open sea. Nearing Turkish Struma  captain radioed for come into a nearby dock, medicines (there were children on board) and for re reply was negative. The entered the treacherous Bos way to the open sea, but the were too much for her: on! February 24, 1943, in the Bosporus, every man, woman board--except one perished when the apart. All but one drowned. The lone survivor lived for many years. A names of the Struma martyrs: today in a Jewish cemetery day or two after the incident world's press, it was fore group of elderly Jews Bucharest cemetery to • mg f.urniture ... We will help design and e e e e coordinate to your personal taste. Excellent • are having the Grandest of GRAND OPENINGS • service and immediate delivery ... Let's get • together to provide you with a perfect dining • .grouping or accent piece to compliment your • • home. ; Friday, March 28 - 7:00 P.M. 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