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August 19, 1966 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1966-08-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Grim Propects in Rabbi's Report on Status of Jed ism in USSR

NEW YORK (JTA) — Grim
prospects for the survival of Jew-
ish cultural and religious life in
the Soviet Union were expressed
by spokesmen for a delegation of
22 members of the Central Con-
ference of American Rabbis who
returned last week from a visit
to Russia, Poland, Hungary and
Czechoslovakia.
The report on the study mission
of the Reform rabbinical group
was made at a press conference

here by Rabbi George V. Lieber-
man of Rockville Center, Rabbi
Ely E. Pilchik of Newark and
Rabbi Sidney L. Regner, executive
vice-president of the CCAR. Rabbi
Jacob J. Weinstein, CCAR presi-
dent who addressed the press con,
ference by phone from Chicago,

stressed that the report was a con-
sensus of the delegation and did

not represent the official views of
the organization.
Asserting that the Soviet au-
thorities "have almost triumphed
in their battle against organized
religion," Rabbi Lieberman, the
only Russian-speaking member
of the group, said that the Soviet
Jewish community particularly
was beset with "fear, loneli-
ness and isolation, inequality,
ignorance and decline."
Noting that individual Russian
Jews displayed fear and tension
when speaking with members of
the delegation, Rabbi Lieberman
said that Russian Jews were suf-

The spokesmen reported that
an official of the Soviet Ministry
of Cults had told them that 5,000
of the 10,000 Jewish prayerbooks
which the government promised
would be printed, would be ready
momentarily with the remainder
due to be pririted by the end of
this month.


"We gained the strong impres-
sion," the delegation spokesman
added, "that anti-Semitism in the
USSR has not been uprooted. On

the contrary, it is now on the
increase. The official policy of
the government is that anti-
Semitism is a crime against the
state. We strongly urge the
USSR to implement this official
policy as a matter of highest

ence between the difficulties which
the Jews and other communities
were suffering in the area of
religion.


In the cultural field, however,
it was the consensus of the dele-
gation members that "strictures
priority."
and limitations were placed on
While the Christian communi- the development of Jewish culture
ties seemed to show less tension which were not true of other na-
and self consciousness than Rus- tionality groups such as the
sian Jews, Rabbi Pilchik said that Ukrainian or the Lithuanian or the
he thought there was little differ- Georgian."

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Friday, August 19, 1966-11

Israeli Arabs at Parley
Calling for Equal Rights

HALF' (JTA) — The first con-
vention of the Israeli Arab Com-

mittee for Israel opened here Mon-
day night with 600 Israeli Arab
delegates from all parts of Israel
in attendance. Speakers at the
convention asked for equal rights
for Israeli Arabs with the Jewish
populaion while pledging their
loyalty to Israel.

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fering of isolation from their co-

religionists and were the victims
of discrimination especially in the
field of Jewish culture.
The delegation spokesmen said
that the synagogues in Russia
"were the gathering places for the
old, the halt and the retired pen-
sioners." While, in addition to the
"synagogue Jews," there were
small numbers of "cultural Jews,"
Rabbi Pilchik said that the vast
majority were "invisible Jews"
who had little or no contact with
Jewish life.
During their visit to Vilna, the
delegation members were shown
several rooms full of Tora scrolls,
numerous volumes of the Talmud
and other rabbinic and scholarly
Jewish books which had been res-
cued from the Nazis by a Lithu-
anian priest and deposited in a
syngagogue after the war where
they are still being, stored. The
delegation spokesmen said that
local Jews had sought to find out
if the books could be removed so
that they could be preserved and
used by Jewish communities else-
where.

Yugoslavia to Open
, Rebuilt Jewish Center

L

,_.

BELGRADE (JTA) — The ren-
ovated Jewish Community Center
at Skopje, which was badly dam-
aged during the 1963 earthquake
-, there, will be inaugurated Oct. 11
and renamed in memory of Dr. Al-
, bert Vajs, late president of the
Federation of Jewish Communities
in Yugoslavia, it was announced
here,
The Center is located on Eleventh
of March Street, a thoroughfare
named in memory of the date, in
1943, when 7,000 Macedonian Jews
were deported to Treblinka. None
of the deportees survived. Prior
to World War II, Skopje had sev-
eral thousand Jews. Now there
are 60 Jews there; those who sur-
vived the Nazi holocaust have em-
igrated, mainly to Israel. Partici-
pants in the Center inauguration
ceremonies will include officials
of the Yugoslav Government and
leaders of the Jewish community.
It was also announced that from
Oct. 15 to Oct. 17, a special cele-
bration will be held at Sarajevo to
mark the 400th anniversary of the
settlement of Jews in Bosnia and
Herzegovina. Sarajevo — where
the assassination of a duke trig-
gered World War I in 1914 — had,
prior to World War II, one of the
oldest and largest Jewish com-
munities in Yugoslavia, with more
than 10,000 Jews. Now there are
1,300 Jews in Sarajevo, which is
still one of the largest of Jewish
Communities in the country.

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