Fear Among Jews in Russia Rampant, Member of U.S. Study Mission Reports

Dr. I. I. Weiss, a member of a group of American businessmen, professionals and clergymen who issued the full text of their talk in the Kremlin with Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev on the situation of the Soviet Jews, made a special study of the Jews in the Soviet Union, it is emphasized in the general report issued by the group. Dr. Weiss, who is a resident of Stockton, included his observations in the general report of the group. They read:

“In Western Russia Jews did not feel free to talk much even in their own homes with me. In Leningrad and Moscow, mostly Leningrad, fear was rampant. They fear the instability and especially the unpredictability of the regimes. One never knows what tomorrow will bring. All agreed that things have eased since Stalin died but tomorrow, who knows what will come then. That’s the trouble. No fear for today’s regime. It’s the tomorrow that is unpredictable that they fear. And they do not want to talk because they know they have informers in their midst, informers who record and say what people talk about. The records are not used today in the easy regime that is in control, but they may be used in any future regime. And that’s why they do not want to talk.

“Bible classes and the internal teaching that comprises an important part of the synagogue life have been forbidden. The 20 rabbis to be, who now attend the seminary for the first time in the 40 years since the 1917 Revolution, will be nothing but leaders in their few congregations. They will cover but a small portion, infinitesimal portion, of the Jewish synagogues needing rabbis. And they will be leaders but not teachers. Rabbi is a Hebrew word that means teacher, but these men will not be real rabbis. They will be religiously trained leaders. “

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