House Gets Resolution Asking Johnson to Speed Matzoh to Soviet Jewry
Menu JTA Search

House Gets Resolution Asking Johnson to Speed Matzoh to Soviet Jewry

Download PDF for this date

A resolution for adoption jointly by both Houses of Congress, calling upon President Johnson “to use the full facilities of our Government, on an emergency basis” to assure United States delivery of an adequate supply of matzoth for the use of Soviet Jews during this year’s Passover, was introduced in the House of Representatives today. Urgent action on the resolution is expected.

The resolution, presented by Rep. Michael Feighan, Ohio Democrat, “authorizes and requests” the President to help the Jews of the USSR “meet the requirements of Passover.” It calls upon the President to use the Washington-Moscow “hot linc” for contacting the Soviet authorities on this issue, and to employ an emergency U. S. airlift for getting the matzoth to Russia in time for Passover use.

Pointing out that the United States was recently called upon by the Soviet authorities “to open its surplus grain bins to prevent famine in the Soviet Union, ” Rep. Feighan told the House that members of the Moscow Jewish community had just furnished flour from their “own limited rations in order that matzoth might be made for them” in special bakery facilities. “But the Russian authorities, ” he continued, “trade those sacrifices meaningless by closing down the bakery at a critical time under a worn-out ruse used many times before to prevent the observance of Passover” by religious Soviet Jews.


The Ohioan noted that a recent issue of “USSR, ” the Soviet propaganda organ distributed in this country under a special US-USSR agreement, boasts about alleged religious liberty given to Soviet Jews. “It is time,” he said, “that we took action to determine the validity of the claim that religious liberty, as guaranteed by the USSR constitution, being enforced by the present Soviet Government.”

The action called for by the joint resolution, be said, is “within the productive capability of our free economy.”

Copies of the resolution were sent by messengers this afternoon to President Johnson; to Adlai E. Stevenson, chief United States delegate to the United Nations; and to Carl Rowan, director of the United States Information Agency which, among other facilities, conducts the radio broadcasts over the Voice of America.

The proposed joint resolution also calls on Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and on the Soviet Parliament to order an immediate cessation of all governmental measures which deny to Jewish believers the opportunity to prepare for and to observe the Passover. The resolution states that, through the recent Soviet persecutions against Jews and the wave of Soviet anti-Semitism, the Soviet Union has actually been violating its own laws.


Meanwhile, another Congressman, Rep. James G. O’Hara. (D. Mich.,) warned in the House today that “cultural genocide is now a matter of official policy in the USSR, and the consequences for world Jewry may indeed be more lasting and destructive than outright murder.”

Reviewing the recent death sentences against Soviet Jews for alleged “economic crimes,” and the interference in baking matzoth, Rep. O’Hara stressed that it is not a question involving a few individuals who suffered “punishment that defies Moscow,” nor a few thousand Moscow Jews who will have to go without matzoth, but rather a question involving the future of the 3 000, 000 Jews in the Soviet Union.

The Congressman listed the special forms of cultural, national and religious discriminations to which Soviet Jews are subjected. He concluded by stressing that “these revolting facts demonstrate beyond any doubt that Jews are not just another victim of a regime committed to the atrophy or destruction of religion. Rather, the Jews have again been singled out for special persecution.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund