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April 22, 1966 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1966-04-22

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Six-Point Declaration Pleads for USSR Jewry

(Continued from Page 1)
in a statement to The Jewish News,
that opinions expressed in the
Western world in protest against
anti-Jewish acts are assuring
ameliorative measures. He pointed
to the concessions made on matzo-
baking for this year's Passover as
proof of Russia's positive response
to appeals in behalf of Russian
Rabbi Miller, who headed a dele-
gation of rabbis to Russia last year,
said that Russian Jewry is indicat-
ing a desire to identify them-
selves with Jews and Judaism, as
evidenced by their desire to have
the matzo supplies for Passover,
and in other demonstrative actions
that have shown that they are not
separating themselves from the
Jewish people and from Jewish
U.S. Jewry's Declaration
on Rights of Soviet Brethren
six-point Declaration of Rights for
Russian Jewry, adopted here
today at the concluding session of
the two-day meeting of the Ameri-
can Jewish Conference on Soviet
Jewry, was signed by the presi-
dents and chairmen of 25 national
Jewish religious and secular organ-
izations in historic Congress Hall
where, in 1791, the American Bill
of Rights was formally adopted.
Declaring that American Jewry
does "solemnly pledge that, so
long as Soviet Jews are cut off
from the Jewish people, proscribed
from living their lives as Jews, so
long will our voices be lifted in
protest and indignation," the Dec-
laration called upon the Govern-
ment of the USSR to:

1. Restore its Jewish citizens to a
position of • equality with all other
2. Permit its Jewish citizens freely
to practice, enhance and perpetuate
their culture and religion by remov-
ing all discriminatory measures de-
signed to restrict this freedom;
3. Make available all the institu-
tions, the schools, the text books and
the materials necessary to teach
Jewish children the languages, the
history, the beliefs, the practices and
the aspirations of the Jewish peo-
5. Use all the means at its disposal
to eradicate anti-Semitism; and
-6. Permit Soviet Jewish families,
separated as a result of the Nazi
holocaust, to be reunited with their
relatives abroad.

In presenting the Declaration to
delegates for formal adoption,
Mrs. Mortimer Jacobson, national
president of Hadassah, said: "This
conference on behalf of Jews in the
USSR is a demonstration of Ameri-
can democracy in action. The
American ideal of a Great Society,
projected by 'President Johnson,
is not a literary exercise. It is a
working blueprint for the pursuit
of universal freedom, --equality and
justice for the human rights of
human beings everywhere. Nor is
the cultural and religious heritage
of the Jewish people a museum
piece. It is a way of life for the
Jewish people. We will not rest
until the Jews of the USSR are
free to make it their way of life."
Dr. Joachim Prinz, president of
the American Jewish Congress,
presided at the meeting inside Con-
gress Hall. Explaining the peculiar
nature of the Soviet discrimina-
tions against its Jews, Dr. Prinz
said: "The attack upon Soviet Jew-
ish institutions represents a spe-
cial form of the tragedy of Euro-
pean Jewry in this century. It is
not an attack upon the physical
safety of Russian Jews. It is not
to be analogized to the monstrous
and unspeakable crimes of Nazi
Germany. There does not exist in
the Soviet Union anything like the
relentless racism which pursued
Jews down the generations for the
purpose of bringing about their im-
prisonment in camps and their de-
struction in crematoria. This in-
comparable barbarism at least
has not returned.
"But there are values in addi-
tion to physical life which we
cherish and treasure and whose
support is a common human re-
sponsibility. Our anguish cannot
be mitigated by the consoling fact
that this vital part of the surviving

8—Friday, April 22, 1966

Jewish remnant faces only spir-
itual and cultural strangulation,
and not outright physical destruc-
tion. We reject all efforts forcibly
to destroy Jewish life whether it
be by the brutality and bestiality
of the Hitler era or by the subtler,
more benign methods of cultural
and religious deprivation."
Prior to the formal signing of
the Declaration inside the hal-
lowed halls of Congress Hall, the
delegates held an open air meet-
ing on Independence Mall, where
the speakers were Senator Hugh
Scott of Pennsylvania; Roy Wil-
kins, executive director of the
National Association for the Ad-
vancement of Colored People;
and Morris B. Abram, president
of the American Jewish Commit-
tee, who presided.
Abram, who is the U.S. repre-
sentative to the United Nations
Human Rights Commission, denied
the Soviet contention that the Jews
in Russia "don't want to be Jews
any more." At the same time he
said that the outlook for a change
of Soviet policy on Jews is not all
black. "I choose to believe that
the situation of the Jews in the
Soviet Union is not futile so long
as the Russian sensitivity to pub-
lic opinion—just as is our own—
is as enormous as it is," he stated.
Sen. Scott hailed the conference,
saying that public protestations
against Soviet anti-Semitism con-
stitute "life insurance" for the
3,000,000 Soviet Jews. "I feel a
deep sense of personal obligation
in joining with you today in pro-
testing Soviet anti-Semitism," he
stated. Speakers at the conference
included also Aaron Goldman,
chairman of the National Com-
munity Relations Advisory Coun-
cil; Dr. William A. Wexler, inter-
national president of Bnai Brith;
and Dr. Aaron Glanz-Leyeless,
president of the Yiddish P.E.N.
A united front of all people—the
left as well as the right—to protest
Soviet discrimination against Rus-
sian Jewry, was urged by Rt. Rev.
James A. Pike, Episcopal Bishop
of California, in an address Sunday
evening opening the conference.
The noted churchman said that
"rightwingers should not empha-
size Soviet behavior towards its
Jews because it is Soviet; left-
wingers should not minimize it be-
cause it is Soviet. The restrictions
on Jewish religion and culture in
the Soviet Union, and the anti-
Semitic manifestations there," he
said, "are not made worse or bet-
ter because the Government is
Communist. When it comes to
human rights, rights of persons to
be what they want to be, to group
as they want to group—religiously,
ethnically, or whatever—and value
what they want to value, our con-
cern should know no national
Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman
of the sponsoring group, and Pro-
fessor Erich Goldhagen, director
of the Institute of East European
Affairs at Brandeis University,
also addressed the opening session.
Rabbi Miller said that the basic
demand of the American Jewish

10 'Rat Finks' to Be
'Tried' for Expulsion

SALEM, N.J. (JTA) — A five-
man committee of the New Jersey
Young Republican State Commit-
tee voted here last weekend to put
10 members of the New Jersey
Young Republicans "on trial" for
expulsion. They were charged with
bigotry arising from the activities
of the "Rat Fink" faction of the
The 10 were found guilty of
singing or encouraging anti-Se-
mitic and anti-Negro songs at
public rallies of the Young Repub-
licans.- The committee declined to
name publicly the 10 accused.
Republican leaders in this state,
and in the National Committee,
had urged the expulsion of the
"Rat Finks," asserting that the
group had "blackened" the name
of the Republican Party by indulg-
ing in racist activities.

community "is for the right of the
historic Russian Jewish commun-
ity to continue its links with the
past, to be given the facilities and
institutions to fulfill itself in its
present, and to be permitted the
opportunity of creating a future by
handing on its traditions, its faith,
its languages and its culture to its
children." He asked that "those
families torn asunder in the Nazi
holocaust, who were separated by
war and its terrors, should be al-
lowed to reunite with their fami-
lie,s in Israel and other countries
of the world, if they so desire."
Prof. Goldhagen told the as-
sembled leaders that the 3,000,-
000 Jews in the Soviet Union had
7,000 Jewish schools and thou-
sands of rabbis and synagogues
in the pre-Soviet era 50 years
ago; today there are no Jewish
schools, and some 40 or 50
rabbis, whose average age is 65,
for a like number of synagogues.
"Russian Jewry is today com-
parable to a man afflicted with a
mortal illness that is destroying
the whole fabric of the Judaic
tradition," he said.
"Jewish tradition," he continu-
ed, "has known a few regimes
that have imposed a total ban on
Jewish cultural life; but none
have succeeded as thoroughly as
the Soviet Government in paralyz-
ing the cultivation and transmis-
sion of the cultural tradition of the
Jewish community under its sway.
The atomization of Soviet Jews is
without precedent in the experi-
ence of the Jewish people. For the
first time in its history, the order-
ly perpetuation of the Jewish peo-
ple will have been broken. In 10
or 15 years, it will be difficult to
find within the Soviet Union a man
capable of performing a Jewish
burial ceremony, a Jewish wed-
ding or a bar mitzvah."
Senator Philip A. Hart of Mich-
igan is one of 69 U.. S. Senators
—forming more than two-thirds
the membership of our highest
legislative body—who registered
their "staunch support of the
American Jewish community's
protests against the and-Semitic
policies of the Soviet Union" in
a statement issued today in con-
nection with a two-day national
leadership conference opening
here Sunday under the auspices
of the American Jewish Confer-
ence on Soviet Jewry.
The statement signed by the 69
U. S. Senators declared that "the
plight of Soviet Jewry has long
been a concern of the United States
Senate. On more than one occasion
the Senate adopted resolutions ex7
pressing sympathy for the Jews
living in the Soviet Union — and

condemning the Soviet policy of
discrimination against Jewish cul-
ture, religion and community.
They expressed our fervent hope
for a reversal of Soviet policy.
"We therefore consider it fit-
ting, as United States Senators, to
register our staunch support of the
American Jewish community's pro-
tests against the anti-Semitic poli-
cies of the Soviet Union." The
statement said: "We must continu-
ally direct the world's attention to
this state of affairs, and put forw-
ard the insistent demand that the
3,000,000 Jews of the Soviet Union
be allowed to live creatively and
in dignity as Jews. The facts are
well known. They have been ably
presented by the American Jew-
ish Conference on Soviet Jewry,
which was founded just two years
ago in our nation's Capital.
"Soviet policy," the statement
stressed, "seems to be aiming at
the obliteration of the Jewish com-
munity and Jewish culture. This
must be vigorously protested—not
only by those who value and rev-
ere the ancient Jewish tradition
and civilization, but also by every
person who respects the funda-
mental human right of a group to
live in peace and security."
Recognizing that "there are tens
of thousands of Jews who desire—
after decades of sorrow and trag-
edy—to be rejoined with their
broken families in the United
States, in Israel and other coun-
tries" -the statement by the Sena-
tors strongly supports "the plea
that the Soviet government trans-
late this principle into practice."
Congregation in Soviet
Reported Persecuted
LONDON (JTA)—Soviet authori-
ties in the Republic of Tadjikistan
have been persecuting the few
Jewish congregations in the area
during the last few months, it was
learned here. The most serious of
the persecutions, according to re-
ports reaching the West, is tak-
ing place in the city of Dushambe,
where the congregation's Ashkena-
zic rabbi and chairman of the Ash-
kenazic Jewish community, Rabbi


Shlomo Shapiro, was dismissed on
explicit orders from the district
officer in charge of religious af-
fairs in the community.
The Jews of Dushambe, who
have no other candidate capable
of filling the post of spiritual lead-
er, have appealed to the district
authorities of the republic, and
have carried their grievance to
Moscow. Authorities in Moscow
have replied that the issue is one
that comes under the jurisdiction
of the Republic of Tadjikistar-
while the latter claim they are ac..
ing under instructions from Mx,
cow. Meanwhile, the rabbinical --
post and the Ashkenazi chairman-
ship are vacant.
Dushambe has a Jewish popula-
tion of about 15,000, out of a total
population of 220,000. The Ashk-
enazi Jews in Dushambe are most-
ly Jews from Poland who escaped
into Russia during the early days
of the Nazi occupation of Poland.



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