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All Jews at Work on Yom Kippur: Fierce Soviet Onslaught on Jewish Observance: Even Non-workers Will

The campaign against the observance of the Jewish High Holy Days in the Soviet countries is to be much more aggressive this year than it has been in the last few years, in accordance with the plans drawn up by the All-Soviet Jewish Anti-Religious Conference which was held in Moscow in March. The anti-religious Jewish organisation are called upon to vie with each other in order to show which has been accomplishing most work in putting down Jewish religious observance among the Jewish masses. Instructions have been sent out to them by the headquarters of the Atheists’ League to intensify the anti-religious work, to overhaul the anti-religious machinery in their localities to discover any defects in the work, and to prove to the Jewish masses that the Jewish clericals are their enemies, that they are engaged in a poisonous agitation against the bread-campaign in the Soviet Union, that they are sabotaging the State loan, the Socialist construction work and the Bolshevist development, and are generally fighting all measures that are taken by the Soviet regime for the improvement of the condition of the Jewish workers. The Rabbis in Russia are united with the Rabbis in the capitalistic States in organising the interventionist movement against Soviet Russia, the Jewish masses are to be told.

The anti-religious brigades have been instructed to investigate all the Soviet and collective farms in their areas, all the artisan co-operatives, schools and factories, in order to discover whether they have an anti-religious cell there, how long it has existed, the number of its members, its activity for the past two years, whether it is conducting a ceaseless anti-religious propaganda, and what measure of success has attended its campaign against the Jewish religious customs like Shechita, Circumcision, Blessing of the Candles, Eating of Matzoth, Kaporoth, Chanucah Candles, etc.

The five best anti-religious Jewish cells and the five best anti-religious correspondents reporting on the anti-religious work in their areas, revealing either success or failure, will be given prizes.

A large number of new anti-religious leaflets and pamphlets have been issued in Yiddish and are flooding the Jewish towns and colonies. Important school text books have been held over for months, because of the scarcity of paper and printing facilities, but the anti-religious publications have been issued within four days only.

In every Moscow enterprise employing Jewish workers, (and there are Jewish workers in practically every enterprise in Moscow) we must hold anti-religious gatherings, says a decision adopted by the Moscow District Atheists’ Brigade.

In factories and stores employing a large number of Jewish workers, like the Moscow machine-clothing and shoe factories, where the greatest proportion of the workers are Jews, there are also to be special anti-religious evenings arranged. Similar gatherings are to be arranged for the unorganised Jewish workers and artisans, even for those who work in their own homes.

Yom Kippur, it has been decided, will be converted into a great Labour festival, on which all working Jews and Jewish artisans must be at their work, and all other Jews who do not usually engage in such work must go out to help in unloading carts of potatoes, vegetables, timber, etc.

A big army of anti-religious workers and cultural workers is being mobilised in order to see that the anti-religious programme is fully carried out.

In 1929, after considerable discussion among the Jewish Communists whether Jewish “Industrialisation Day”, on which all Jewish workers were to be at their work and all Jewish colonists in their fields in order to contribute their earnings for the day for the promotion of the Jewish industrialisation movement, should be on Yom Kippur or on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, it was decided that the Jewish “Industrialisation Day” should be on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.

Collectivisation Day, which was proclaimed throughout the Soviet Union that year, for October 14th., also coincided with Yom Kippur. Shortly before, however, this fact was brought to the attention of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets and instructions were telegraphed by M. Smidovitch, the Vice-President of the Soviet Union, to the authorities in the Crimea and the Ukraine to postpone “Collectivisation Day” and to fix another day in its place. The message, addressed to the Crimean Executive Committee and the Ukrainian Comzet (Government Commission for Jewish Land Settlement) said that if the carrying out of Collectivisation Day for the Jewish colonies met with any difficulties, the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets had no objection to transferring Collectivisation Day for the Jewish colonists to one of the following days. Take measures accordingly, the instructions concluded.

M. Smidovitch, the J.T.A. representative in Moscow was given to understand, was interested in having the Jewish colonists participate in Collectivisation Day willingly and without compulsion, since the Day was proclaimed for the purpose of improving farming methods and propagating the idea of “Collectivisation” to increase the harvest. The exceptional order was therefore issued against the will of the Jewish Communists for the purpose of securing such voluntary participation of the Jews and demonstrating that the Soviet Government in fixing Collectivisation Day for October 14th. was not animated by anti-religious bias.

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