World Conference of Jewish Organizations Appeals to Russia on Matzohs

Delegates from five continents to the World Conference of Jewish Organizations issued a “most earnest appeal” today to the Soviet Union to reverse a reported ban on the baking of matzohs for Russian Jews this year. The appeal was issued following the opening session of the two-day biennial parley of the world Jewish body. (See Washington report on Soviet matzoh ban on page 3.)

The statement said the organizations represented at the meeting were “deeply disturbed and saddened by the recently reported denial to Jews in the Soviet Union of facilities hitherto accorded for the baking of matzohs which are indispensable for the observance of Passover.”

The statement called the reported ban an administrative act which was not only “a violation of the rights of religious freedom” embodied in United Nations instruments and policies but that it was also “in contradiction with the oft-repeated claims of Soviet authorities that religious groups enjoy the right to the free practice of religion under the Soviet Constitution.”

The delegates added that in a country where all production facilities “are state operated.” the denial of such facilities for purposes of religious observance “amounts to restriction of religious freedom.” The delegates expressed “the earnest hope that Soviet authorities will enable Jews abroad to send matzohs for distribution to their co-religionists in the Soviet Union for the coming Passover.”

The World Conference of Jewish Organizations (COJO) includes among its constituent organizations: The American Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith, Board of Deputies of British Jews, Canadian Jewish Congress, CRIF, the representative body of French Jewry; DAIA, the representative body of Argentine Jewry; Jewish Labor Committee; Executive Council of Australian Jewry; South African Jewish Board of Deputies, and the World Jewish Congress. The Jewish Agency for Israel participates as an observer.

ADOPTS PROGRAM FOR WORLD JEWISH ASSEMBLY ON EDUCATION

The biennial meeting also adopted a program to be presented for discussion and action at the forthcoming first World Jewish Assembly to be held in Jerusalem in August under the sponsorship of COJO. The Assembly has been convened to discuss problems of Jewish education in the diaspora, with particular emphasis on a program for “counteracting the trends of assimilation and cultural disintegration which are making serious inroads in Jewish life in all countries outside of Israel.”

The program was prepared by the Educators’ Consultative Committee of COJO, a group of prominent educators. It deals with such problems as the responsibility of Jewish communities for Jewish education, the place of Israel in diaspora education, teacher education and welfare, elementary and secondary education as well as adult and higher education.

The original call for the convening of the first World Jewish Assembly on Education to be held in Jerusalem was made in New York in a joint announcement by Dr. Nahum Goldmann and Label A. Katz, chairman and co-chairman of COJO. The Jerusalem Assembly will be attended by some 200 elected delegates from all parts of the globe, including some 60 delegates from this country and many guests who are expected to attend the deliberations as observers.

The topics in the agenda adopted by the biennial meeting of COJO will be thoroughly studied in seven workshops of the World Jewish Assembly on Education in Jerusalem which will meet concurrently for three days. The concensus of each workshop will be presented at four subsequent plenary sessions of the Assembly for full consideration by all the delegates.

A special study of the pertinent facts of Jewish education in the diaspora has been undertaken by COJO in cooperation with the American Association for Jewish Education which was invited to coordinate the preliminary work of the delegation from the United States.

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