NEW YORK (Apr. 7)
Twelve national Jewish organizations were still awaiting today approval from Soviet Premier Khrushchev to fly a planeload of matzoth to Moscow in time for Passover, which begins at sundown tomorrow.
At a news conference in Stephen Wise Congress House, spokesmen representing the 12 major Jewish secular and religious bodies disclosed they had cabled the Soviet leader offering to ship the matzoth by air and to meet all costs of distribution within the Soviet Union. No answer has as yet been received from the Soviet Premier. The full text of the cable addressed to Mr. Khrushchev as Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR reads as follows:
“Unavailability of matzoth for Passover deprives Jews in USSR of means of observing this important religious holiday in accordance with their faith. The undersigned are prepared to ship planeload of matzoth and to bear costs of distribution in accordance with whatever means are authorized, in order to meet needs of Jews at least in part. We urgently request consent of Soviet Government to this undertaking. In view of imminence of Passover, we ask your early consideration and cabled reply to allow for completion of delivery before beginning of holiday.”
Organizations which signed the cable were: American Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A., Rabbinical Assembly of America, Rabbinical Council of America, Synagogue Council of America, National Community Relations Advisory Council, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, and United Synagogue of America.
AMERICAN FIRMS WILLING TO DONATE MANY PLANELOADS OF MATZOTH
The matzoth was made available without cost by the major matzoth baking companies, who are prepared to make available “as many planeloads of matzoth as the Soviet Government would permit to enter the country,” according to the statement. Funds to charter cargo planes for the flight to Moscow were pledged by individuals from the 12 national Jewish organizations that signed the cable to the Soviet Premier. Copies of the cable were sent to the Soviet Embassy in Washington and the Soviet Mission to the United Nations in New York.
At the news conference, the Jewish spokesmen distributed a memorandum giving details of the ban on the manufacture of matzoth in public bakeries in the USSR and the are st of Jews for baking the unleavened bread in their own homes.
“We can only characterize this vicious policy as cruel, arbitrary and discriminatory harassment and express our deep sorrow for the hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews who will be denied again the right to carry out one of the most important and profoundly significant observances of the Jewish tradition,” the statement declared.
Present at the news conference today were: Adolph Held, chairman, Jewish Labor Committee; Rabbi Philip Hiat, executive vice-president, Synagogue Council of America; Morton London, national commander, Jewish War Veterans; George Maislen, president, United Synagogue of America; and Dr. Joachim Prinz, president, American Jewish Congress.