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Moscow Jews Seek Knowledge on U.S. Jewry; Many Want to Emigrate

The young Harvard law student who spoke 10 to 12 hours a day to the Russian crowds in the street during the recent Moscow World Youth Festival has returned with a report that “almost every Jew I spoke to over the age of 25 expressed the desire to leave Russia and go to Israel.”

George S. Abrams of Newton, Mass, told the Jewish Advocate of Boston that the Jews in the crowds he talked to in Moscow besieged him with questions about Jewish life in America. He said they wanted to know what Reform Judaism was whether every American Jewish family attended synagogue services and about many other aspects of American Jewish life.

Mr. Abrams said that the three synagogues in Moscow were well attended and that at the central one, where he went for worship, many Jews told him of the horrors experienced under Stalin and of their fear that, while conditions had improved under the post-Stalin leadership, life would return to what it had been under Stalin.

The law student said that Moscow jews were “intensely curious” about Israel and that the older Jews wanted “desperately to leave Russia and go to Israel, but had no hope that they would ever be allowed this privilege.” Citing Prime Minister David Ben Gurion’s speculation that 1,500,000 Russian Jews would emigrate to Israel if they had the opportunity, Mr. Abrams said he felt the number would be even greater.

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