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July 05, 1968 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1968-07-05

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Friday, July 5, 1968-11

Emotional Farewell Given USSR Jewish Guest

NEW YORK (JTA) — Rabbi
Yehuda Leib Levin, of Moscow,
and Cantor David Stiskin, of Lenin-
grad, the first Soviet Jewish re-
ligious leaders to visit the United
States in more than 50 years, were
given an affectionate and emotion-
al farewell here Sunday night
when 180 Jewish leaders attended
a banquet marking the end of
their two-week visit.
The banquet was sponsored by
Rabbi Pinchas Teitz, of Elizabeth,
N. J., a close personal friend of
Rabbi Levin. He described the
gathering as the greatest assem-
blage of American-Jewish leaders
under one roof. The array of Jew-
ish leaders — secular and religious
—was, joined by a representative of
the Soviet Embassy, Ikar I. Zar-
azhnov, who voiced the hope that
Rabbi Levin's visit would "im-
prove certain thoughts of certain
people about the Soviet Union."
But it was the personality of the
Moscow chief rabbi — gentle and
scholarly, yet commanding = the
poignancy of his mission and the
it of historic precedent that it
*,ngendered which drew the un-
sual cross-section of Jewry to his
farewell appearance. Seated at
various tables were patriarchal
Orthodox rabbis, Talmudists and
Yeshiva heads, the presidents and
officers of secular Jewish organi-
zations and representatives of Re-
form and Conservative Judaism.
At one table was Richard
Korn, president of the American
Council for Judaism, the anti-
Zionist organization that orig-
inally sponsored Rabbi Levin's
visit. Nearby sat Jacques Tor-
czyner, president of the Zionist
Organization of America. There
was also Gottfried Neuburger,
who heads the Friends of Jeru-
salem, the American branch of
the Nuturei Karta, religious
zealots of Jerusalem who do not
recognize the State of Israel.
Neuburger's organization took
over sponsorship of Rabbi
Levin's visit a few days after the
Council for Judaism discontinued
its role.
There were many speakers dur-
ing the evening, among them
Rabbi Moses Feinstein, dean of the
Yeshiva Tifereth Jerusalem '.and
head of the Council of Sages of
Agudath Israel, who made a plea
for greater Soviet understanding
of Russian Jewry's desire to live a
religious life. "We are not a people
of revolution. We want peace," he
said. "We are happy to hear that
there are religious, Torah-educated
Jews in Russia and we hope that
our people in Russia can keep their
Judaism." There were virtually no
references to Israel during the
evening and no mention of the con-
dition of Soviet Jewry. Those omis-
sions were in deference to Rabbi
Levin's delicate position and to the
fact that a Soviet representative
was among the invited guests.
Rabbi Levin himself only made
one public reference to Soviet Jews
during his entire visit. It occurred
during his appearance at the
Hunter College auditorium where
his assertion that there is no offi-
cial anti-Semitism on the USSR



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brought jeers and catcalls from a
section of the audience.
Commeting on the meaning of
the visit, Rabbi Zev Segal, of
Young Israel of Newark and the
Rabbinical Council of America,
said "there is no question that we
are happy that he came. We
hope there will be more visits be-
tween both communities. This,
however, does not alleviate the
serious situation of Jews in the
Soviet Union." .
Rabbi Levin, who is 74, said at
the farewell banquet that he ap-
preciated the display of American
friendship from his heart. He spoke
fondly of his meetings here with
Mayor John V. Lindsay, of New
York and Arthur J. Goldberg, for-
mer United States Ambassador to
the United Nations. He said he
had never dreamt "what I saw
with my eyes" — the variety and
strength and prosperity of the
American Jewish community.
Rabbi Levin visited many syna-
gogues, religious schools and insti-
tutions during his brief stay and
maintained a schedule that might
have wearied a much younger

Suspect for Meridian,
Jackson Bombings Caught

MERIDIAN, Miss., (JTA) —
more arrests are expected in con-
nection with the capture of a sus-
pected night-rider who may be
connected with bombing of syna-
gogues and a rabbi's home, Police
Chief Roy Gunn told the Jewish
Telegraphic Agency. The police and
other law enforcement agencies
are seeking possible cohorts of
Thomas Albert Tarrants 3d, 22
years old, who was wounded yes-
terday by police after he fled from
the yard of a prominent Jewish
businessman's home here, leaving
behind a box containing 29 dyna-
mite sticks.
Chief Gunn said that Tarrants
was in fair condition with numer-
ous wounds at a local hospital and
is charged with attempted murder
with a deadly weapon. He wounded
a policeman in an exchange of
fire when police who had staked
out the home of Meyer Davidson,
51, pursued him. His woman com-
panion Mrs. Ralph (Cathy) Ains-
worth, 26, who was in his car was
Gunn said Tarrants had been a
"prime suspect" in the bombing of
Temple Beth El here in May, the
residence and synagogue of
Rabbi Perry Nussbaum in nearby
Jackson, a cottage at predominant-
ly Negro Tougaloo College near
Jackson, and other homes. The
officer said he "now considers 11
recent acts of violence in Meridian
as being solved."
Davidson's home had been under
surveillance after he put up a $75,-
000 reward following the bombing
of the Meridian Reform temple.
Chief Gunn said he found a note-
book in Tarrants' jacket which
contained the following note: Gen-
tlemen: I have committed myself
to defeating the Communist-Jew
conspiracy which threatens our
country — any means necessary
shall be used. Please be advised
that since 23 March, 1968, I . .
have been underground and oper-
ating guerrilla warfare. I have al-
ways believed in military action
against the Communist enemy."
The police chief said he believes
rewards for information leading to
the conviction of the local bomber
had been $85,000. It was unclear
to whom the note Tarrants had
written was addressed, he said.
He declined to answer questions
about whether other Jewish homes
in Meridian and Jackson had been
under police surveillance.
The Meridian synagogue, whose
rabbi is Milton I. Schlager, is plan-
ning to be rebuilt by the High Holy
Days. The cost of the repairs is
not known yet, Rabbi Schlager
said. Its religious school was dam-
aged but the sanctuary of the $400,-
000 building escaped unscathed.

Cantor Stiskin, a simple, quiet
and direct person, rendered sev-
eral selections which implied for
many present the troubled exist-
ence of Jews in Russia. He told the
JTA later that what interested him
most in America was its richness
and its scholarly and educational
bent. He said he had visited many
cantors and was warmly welcomed
by them.
Rabbi Levin and Cantor Stiskin
were scheduled to fly to Canada
today for meetings with Canadian
Jewish leaders today and tomor-
row. They will fly to Moscow
aboard a Soviet airliner on Wednes-
day. The most moving moment of
the farewell, one that brought
tears to many eyes, came at the
end of the banquet. The men joined
hands and danced in a circle
around the hall singing "Siman
Tov, Mazel Tov." Rabbi Levin,
though slow of foot because of his
advanced age, joined them. The
dancers came back to the table
and, when they sang "V'koreiv
Pzureinu" the rabbi looked as if he
were holding back tears. He sat
impassive, staring at the napkins.
When the group snag "Ani Mae-

min" he began to sing, with emo-


Before his departure Monday,
Rabbi Levin received a gift of
mezuzot and tephillin from Charles
J. Tanenbaum, of Scarsdale, N. Y.,
president of the American Council
for Judaism's philanthropic fund.
He had requested the religious ob-
jects, which are in short supply
in the USSR.



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