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Kennedy Urged to Use Sale of Wheat to Russia for Talks on Matzoth

An appeal was addressed to President Kennedy today, asking him to negotiate with the Soviet Union an agreement under which the Moscow authorities would permit Jewish citizens of the USSR “to obtain flour, bake, purchase, or sell matzoth during the annual Passover holidays.”

The appeal was made in a letter to the President from Rep. Leonard Farbstein, New York Democrat, in the context of the Administration’s decision to permit the sale of vast quantities of American wheat to the Soviet Union.

“I believe,” Congressmen Farbstein wrote, “it would be singularly appropriate at this time, in view of the wheat sale, ” that the Soviet Government permit such arrangements to be made regarding matzoth, “As you know, ” the letter stated, “the Soviet Union has banned the sale of matzoth on the grounds that this represents speculation. However, the ordinary Jewish citizen has no means of procuring ritual flour or baking matzoth. Only a large processor can do this.”

(In Chicago, national president Label Katz of B’nai B’rith today told a press conference here that he supports the sale of wheat by the United States to the Soviet Union on a basis of both economic and humanitarian considerations, but hopes the sale would create a new climate in which world public opinion might be more effective in bringing about an alleviation of the plight of Soviet Jewry. He recalled that B’nai B’rith had offered to ship matzoth to Russian Jews but that the Soviet Government had rejected the proposal.)

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