Not a Kopek for Matzoth and Not an Hour off for Jewish Workers: Anti-passover Slogans in First Issue

“Not a single kopek for matzoth or other religious observances connected with Passover”; “Not a single kopek for renovating synagogues, supporting Yeshiboth, or the Jewish clergy”; “Not a single hour to be taken off by Jewish workmen in the factories during Passover week”.

These slogans for the anti-Passover campaign are the outstanding feature of the first issue of the Yiddish atheist Journal, “Apikoires”, which has just come off the press here.

Despite these militant slogans, however, interest in the anti-religious campaign is very slight now, and the “Apikoires” has had a great deal of difficulty to get together about a quarter of a column of items from all parts of the country relatins to the antireligious activity. In Kaidanov, it reports, the synagogue has been turned into an artisans’ club. In Linetz, the synagogue has been converted into a school. In Monastritchni, the synagogue has been given up for use as a culture house. The Jewish village “Roite Feld”(“Red Field”), in the Jewish autonomous region Stalindorf, has seized the costly ornaments which autonomous region Stalindorf, has seized the costly ornaments which adorned the Scrolls of the Law and has made a present of them to the local Defence Fund. The Jewish settlement Bragin has on a vote decided to give up the Beth Midrash for cultural purposes. Homel reports that an antireligious University has been organised there with an attendance of 20 students. Lochwitz reports that it has broken the record, with 40 active members of the “Apikoires” atheist organisation.

The well known Jewish woman Communist “Esther”(Esther Frumkin) has an article in the first issue of the “Apikoires”, addressed to women, headed “Down with pots and pans, and on to the factory”.

Unperturbed by the anti-Passover campaign of the “Apikoires”and the “Emess”, the Jews of Moscow and throughout the Soviet Union generally are calmly continuing to make their preparations for the usual celebration of Passover.

“Dos Sozialistiche Dorf” (Socialist village) of Harkov, the capital of the Ukraine, sounds the alarm in view of the approach of the Passover, complaining that in spite of all the cultural work among the Jewish colonists, Jews in the collectives continue to observe the Jewish customs, and even the younger men who have discarded religion and “believe in nothing” cease work on Saturday as a matter of course, dress up in their best clothes and make it a day of rest and enjoyment.

All Jewish colonists, it says, must be “behind the plough during the Passover days”. It frankly confesses, however, that it doubts whether this slogan will be realised. During last Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, it says, many members of the Collectives, who are otherwise reliable and dependable workmen, refused to leave their homes on those days and to put on their working clothes.

The paper urges that an anti-religious nucleus should be formed in every Jewish region to keep up a continuous anti-religious agitation among the Jewish colonists, and that at least one collective in every Jewish region should openly avow itself a hundred per cent. anti-religious body.

The Ark of the Law in the Lubavitch Synagogue at Polotsk was recently converted into a store room for keeping there the paraphernalia used for making wines and spirits for use during Passover week, the “Young Worker” (“Der Yunger Arbeter”), of Minsk, asserts. Another synagogue in Polotsk, it alleges, has been used as a store room for hoarding goods stolen from co-operatives.

Because of this, it states, the Lubavitch Synagogue has been converted into a Workers’ Club, and a decision with regard to the disposal of the second synagogue is pending.

The Jewish clerical elements in Polotsk, it complains, are busy building up stores for the surreptitious sale and distribution of matzoth, fat, sugar and meat among the religious people of the town. In addition, two bakeries are being run by the orthodox Jews of the city for baking matzoth. A Government investigation, the paper reports, has disclosed that the goods used by the religious elements were clandestinely sold to them by the heads of the local co-operative warehouse.

The Jewish Atheist Federation, “Apikorsim Ferband”, is calling a convention next Thursday, the 26th. inst., a week before Passover, to discuss means of extending the anti-Passover campaign and of putting the anti-religious work among the Jewish workmen on a practical and permanent basis.

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