Soviet Union Rabbis Foresee Lack of Matzoth in Moscow, Kiev, Odessa

There will not be enough matzoth for Jews needing the unleavened bread for Passover this year in the four leading Jewish centers of the USSR–Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and Odessa–dispatches received here from Moscow indicated today. Despite certain announced relaxation of rules by Soviet authorities, rabbis in major Soviet cities were reported as saying that the matzoh situation in their communities this year will not differ much from the condition last year, when few matzoth were available for Passover.

Moscow Chief Rabbi Yehuda Leib Levine was reported saying in the Central Synagogue of the Soviet capital yesterday that, although permission was received this year to bake matzoth in rented quarters in a Moscow suburb, the permission came too late since the location needs “considerable repairs” before it can be used as a matzoth bakery.

Rabbi George Joseph Lieb, spiritual leader of the suburban Moscow Marina Roschcha Synagogue, was quoted as saying that the problem surrounding matzoth this year “is flour.” He said his synagogue had already baked five tons of matzoth, “then we ran out of flour.” Another rabbi, Israel Schwartzblad, of Odessa, was quoted as saying “the situation is the same as last year.” The situation was reportedly just as grave in Leningrad and Kiev. Only the Jews in Soviet Georgia are expected to have sufficient matzoth this year, the Jewish leaders said.

The Moscow report said that Orthodox Jews in Moscow were expecting 10, 000 pounds of matzoth to be shipped into the USSR, from Denmark, by Dr. Isaac Lewin, of the American section of Agudath Israel, while 1, 500 pounds would be sent by Britain’s Chief Rabbi Israel Brodie.

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