Convention of Reform Jews Asks U.S. Congress to Act on Soviet Jewry

The Union of American Hebrew Congregations called today upon the Congress to adopt a resolution “urging the Soviet Union to cease discrimination of any kind against its 3,000,000 Jews.”

At the same time, the plenary session of the 48th biennial assembly asked its 664 member congregations to “pledge their energies to an intensified educational campaign, in concert with all other Jewish organizations associated in the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry to inform and mobilize public opinion in our country and throughout the world.”

Irwin Fane, chairman of the UAHC board of trustees, expressed “dismay” at the “empty promises” made by the Soviet authorities in recent months in which they indicated that conditions of the Jews in their country were improving. He charged that “instead of improvements, we have witnessed the shocking performance of the Soviet delegation to the United Nations which last month flung an outrageous insult at the Jewish people by linking Zionism with Nazism under the rubric of hatred and inhumanity. Even Communists in various parts of the Western world have labeled this as monstrous.

“The Soviet Government must be put on notice,” he continued, “that it cannot hope to misguide the world Jewish community of public opinion generally with empty promises, or even with token concessions. It can expect nothing less than the ceaseless and persistent demands by liberal humanitarians all over the world for a full restoration of rights to Soviet Jewry.”

(From London, it was reported today that a Society of Friends of Russian Jewry, including long-standing friends of the Soviet Union among its members, was formed there. The members include the famous philosopher Lord Bertrand Russell, Philip Goodhart, Member of Parliament, and Joseph Hermann, the painter. The Society plans to publish a monthly bulletin called “Focus on Soviet Jewry.”)

At last night’s session, the UAHC launched a $2,000,000 campaign for establishment of a religious art center in New York for the creation of various artistic projects dealing with Jewish religious and cultural themes. The center will encourage member congregations to utilize newly created works, including music and drama, “to deepen and enrich religious worship and experience.”

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