MARCH 3, 1950
NEW YORK, Thursday—Yesterday afternoon I enjoyed taking part in the annual rally that opened the campaign of the Women's Division of the United Jewish Appeal here in New York.
I thought it was one of the best meetings I had ever attended. Harry Greenstein and Hon. Henry Morgenthau Jr. had both recently returned from Palestine and their talks were enlightening. The more you listen to people who have been there, the more you realize that it leaves an indelible impression on everyone who goes there.
But the speaker who really gave the most interesting speech was Max Lerner. He had gone to England, France, Italy, Germany, Yugoslavia and, finally, Israel, while he was abroad last summer. He told how he went back to Dachau because he felt it was so easy to forget history. There he had felt a kinship to the dead and in Israel a kinship to the living.
I think there is a kinship among all brave souls—those who have died bravely and those who are living bravely. That is probably why today no one returns from either Germany or Israel without bringing some deep impressions, if they have the power to feel.
I think the United Jewish Appeal is going to do better this year than ever before in spite of the fact that the same people are being asked to contribute more than they have before. And on each occasion they have been told they were meeting a crisis which must be met and, if necessary, it must be met out of capital. Each time they have responded.
But now they know that the crisis is not going to be over this year or next year. As the population of Israel increases they realize that industries must start, agriculture must be improved and people must be cared for until they have shelter and jobs.
The cost of caring for the few people brought to our shores seems to have been fairly heavy, and I cannot help believing that a little more cooperation on the part of every community in which refugees settle could cut down that cost. We are not always as friendly and helpful as we could be to those who come to us, often both unhappy and lost, trying to build a new life in a strange land.
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Now I must tell you of my gay and frivolous evening. Mrs. William Dana had invited us to dine and go to see her stepdaughter, Leora Dana, in the Rodgers and Hammerstein production, "The Happy Time" last night.
Samuel Taylor has made a delightfully light play out of the novel by Robert Fontaine. But it is the cast that really makes the evening such an enjoyable one. They seemed to act together with pleasure and they do a most finished and charming performance.
There are touches here and there that one remembers afterwards because they carry a bit of truth that is not only applicable to French Canada, but to many other situations in other places. For the most part, you have "a happy time" and I was grateful to my hostess and to the entire cast.
I discovered that once during the war "Uncle Louis" and I had made an appearance together on the stage! My stage career was short, but his role is played delightfully, and Leora Dana and Claude Dauphin and Johnny Stewart made a wonderful combination as a French-Canadian family.