NEW YORK (Apr. 17)
A resolution calling on Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin to make good on his pledge to allow Soviet Jews to join relatives in other countries and criticizing the continued lack of Jewish religious and cultural facilities in Russia was adopted today by delegates from 101 Reform temples of the New York Federation of Reform Synagogues.
Calling on Premier Kosygin to make good his promise with "deeds, not words," the resolution also criticized the continued absence of the institutional tools which would provide the Soviet Jews with adequate facilities for religious and cultural rights now granted other groups under the Soviet constitution.
The resolution acknowledged some "minor concessions" which the authorities have granted Jews during the past number of years. "We are heartened at the greater availability of matzoh last year in many large Jewish communities in the principal cities and what appeared to be similar conditions this year so that our brethren in the USSR can observe the festival of Passover."
Delegates pledged to "continue an intensified campaign not to rest until the current Soviet program of attrition against its Jews has been abated." In that connection the Reform temples were asked to participate in a twenty-four hour vigil taking place on April 29th in front of the United Nations as part of a nationwide demonstration in 18 cities.
The resolution was adopted after a report on the plight of Soviet Jewry was presented by Alfred Ronald, cochairman of the Federation’s Community Relations Committee, in which he described a press campaign being carried out in the Soviet Union to discourage Jews in that country from emigrating to rejoin members of their families from whom they have been separated since the Second World War.
"During the past few months," Mr. Ronald said, "stories have appeared in the Soviet press calling upon Jews not to leave the country to rejoin their relatives from whom they have been separated since the last war." Mr. Ronald reported that these stories have particularly repeated themselves in the cities of Riga, Vilna and Talin. In addition to dissuading Jews from leaving the country, other stories have appeared discrediting life in the State of Israel for a new immigrant.