Say Rabbis’ Appeal Echoes Sentiment of Soviet Jewry; Press Plays Appeal Down
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Say Rabbis’ Appeal Echoes Sentiment of Soviet Jewry; Press Plays Appeal Down

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Many people abroad probably interpret the appeal of the Minsk rabbis as having been issued under pressure, but Rabbi Menachem Gluskin, the first signatory, is known here as the kind of rabbi who, rather than sign such an appeal under compulsion, would sacrifice himself.

A prominent Jewish leader of Moscow today told the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Rabbi Gluskin is the leading orthodox figure in Jewish life, even though he lives in Minsk and not in Moscow. He is looked upon by all Soviet Jewry as a Jewish saint.

While most Jewish leaders are not anxious to comment on the appeal of the Minsk rabbis, many agree with its contents and say that it echoes the sentiments of Soviet Jewry. The general opinion among Jewish leaders here is that the American rabbis are greatly exaggerating conditions. They advise American Jews to play down the anti-Soviet campaign, which is not in the interests of Russian Jewry, particularly now when the Soviet government is in the process of reinstating the Jewish ex-traders in their rights.

Today’s Soviet press does not feature the appeal of the Minsk rabbis, an indication that it was meant for foreign consumption. The “Isvestzia,” the government’s organ, publishes the appeal in full, but as a letter to the editor. The “Pravda,” the Communist party mouthpiece, and the “Emes,” organ of the Jewish Communists, publish it as an appeal, but in shortened form. Other Moscow papers don’t carry it ###.

The shortened texts in the “Emes” and Pravda” omit the paragraphs where the appeal speaks of cases where Jewish clergymen were punished for violating Soviet laws but that religious rites, such as circumcision, are still openly observed. Both papers also omit the phrase reading “we are against the anti-religious and Godless propaganda of the Communist Party,” and the entire section about Soviet justice toward those arrested at Minsk, and their attitude toward the Communist Party is also excluded with the exception of that part beginning “the Soviet government, unlike other governments, has a just attitude,” etc., up to “tools in government hands.”

These omissions by the “Pravda” indicate that in Communist party circles there is no great satisfaction with the appeal as composed.

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