Moscow (Sep. 22)
The demand that the Moscow Great Synagogue should be seized and converted into a Jewish labour club has been made again in a resolution carried unanimously at the anti-religious mass meeting held here on Kol Nidre night. A Jewish worker who proposed the resolution, said that when a delegation of workers went last year to put the same demand to the Chairman of the Moscow Soviet, M. Uchagov, he had replied that so long as the Moscow Cathedral “Chros Spositelia” was not confiscated, there could be no question of confiscating the Great Synagogue. Now, when the “Chros Spositelia” has been pulled down, he proceeded, we demand that the Great Synagogue, too, should be given up to us for a club.
A second Jewish worker who supported the resolution said that it was not the first time that the Jewish workers were demanding that the synagogue should be given over to them for the purposes of a club, or that it should just be closed down. But every time that the demand was put to the Moscow Soviet, they were told that there were 40 times 40 churches in Moscow, so that if a few were taken over for cultural purposes, or were pulled down, because they were impeding traffic, there were still plenty left for use by the faithful. Synagogues were in a different case, they were told, because there were only a few, and they could therefore not be close down without violating the feelings of the believers. We workers refuse to accept such an explanation, he declared, and we demand of our representatives in the Moscow Soviet that they should carry out the wishes of their electors.
There was an attendance of over 2,000, mostly young people, at the anti-religious mass meeting which was held in the Collonade Hall of the Moscow Trade Union building Ex-Cantor Shulman, once a famous Cantor, who recently renounced Judaism, sang anti-religious songs, and delivered a speech. For nearly 40 years he had been a cantor, he said, and had conducted services in the chief cities of Europe and America. Only last year, he had conducted the services on the Jewish High Holy Days in the Odessa Great Synagogue. He had now realised, however, how foolish that was, and he had broken with religion and with synagogue.
Another speaker was the Secretary of the International League of Militant Atheists, a German named May, who dealt with the anti-Jewish excesses which had occurred in Berlin on Rosh Hashanah.