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6,000 Jews Reported Attended Holiday Services in Moscow Synagogue

Some 6,000 persons attended services at Moscow’s Central synagogue during the High Holy Days according to Jewish tourists who returned here today from the Soviet Union. These tourists report that Rosh Hashanah was celebrated “in a festive atmosphere” and that many young people were among the Jews who filled the synagogue and its surrounding square.

Travelers returning from Moscow also report that the Soviet Government has recently been bringing pressure to bear on tourists in an effort to get them to express favorable impressions of their visits to Russia. According to these visitors, Soviet newspapermen met them and tried to get them to make statements for the press and radio to the effect that there is no censorship imposed on news reporting in the Soviet Union.

The returning visitors also reported that the situation regarding Jewish burials was deteriorating and that it was difficult to obtain a permit to bury Jewish dead in the Jewish cemeteries still existing in suburbs of Moscow. In some instances, the tourists reported, the families of the deceased Jews had been informed that the dead relative would have to be buried in a mixed section, sometimes between two graves with crosses over them. This situation is of great concern to many Jews, the visitors stressed.

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