Moscow Jews Celebrate Simchat Torah; Thousands Dance Outside Synagogue

Tens of thousands of Moscow Jews of all ages danced and sang for hours last night outside the Central Synagogue of Moscow in celebration of Simchat Torah, it was reported here today from Moscow. The synagogue itself was packed with 3,000 persons attending the three-hour services with many more unable to enter.

The assembly was about the same size as that of last year’s Moscow celebration but the percentage of young Jews was higher, the reports stated. Some youths brought guitars and one brought a tape recorder on which he had recorded Yiddish melodies.

Two spotlights on the synagogue portico picked out light snow falling on the crowd which filled almost the entire block of the Arkhipova Street in downtown Moscow. Traffic stopped at both ends of the street. A few policemen wandered through the crowd but no one seemed to pay them any attention.

The high proportion of young people in the crowd was interpreted by foreign observers in Moscow as confirming the reports that a feeling of Jewish identity is growing among young Jews born under the Soviet regime despite the fact the Jewish cultural life is being suppressed in the Soviet Union.

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