WASHINGTON (Jan. 7)
Three new incidents of official Soviet pressures to discourage the practice of Judaism and hamper Jewish religious life and leadership in Russia were disclosed today by B’nai B’rith president, Label A. Katz. He said his organization has now learned that during the June-July period last year, Russian authorities had:
1. Quadrupled a special tax assessed against clergymen and made it retroactive for two years.
2. Dismissed Rabbi Judah Lichterov as director of the Moscow Yeshiva–the only Jewish seminary in the USSR–replacing him with a new director.
3. Placed the prerogatives of the Vaad Yeshiva, governing council of the seminary, under Rabbi Yehuda Leib Levine, Chief Rabbi of Moscow, after disbanding, the council.
B’nai B’rith had reported the disbanding of the council last November, but this the first indication it took place during the June-July period, coincident with the arrest of six Jewish lay religious leaders in Leningrad and Moscow and the removal from their posts of the lay chairmen of synagogues in Kiev, Riga, Minsk, Vilna, and Tashkent the capital cities of five Soviet republics.
Mr. Katz reported that while the increased tax applies to clergymen of all religious faiths, it imposes a “special hardship” on religious Soviet Jews since Jews are