NEW YORK (Oct. 12)
The executive head of Conservative Judaism in the United States and Canada, and 5,000 boys and girls who are students at more than 700 Jewish schools in the New York metropolitan area, issued separate appeals today, on the eve of Yom Kippur for the alleviation of the plight of Jews in Arab lands and in the Soviet Union.
Rabbi Bernard Segal, executive director of the United Synagogue of America, representing 820 Conservative congregations, addressed his Yom Kippur message to the suffering of Jews in Egypt, Syria and Iraq who have been imprisoned, thrown into concentration camps or placed under house arrest since the Arab-Israel war broke out last June, He urged Jews and non-Jews alike to offer special prayers on Yom Kippur for these victims and called upon those of the Moslem faith to “recognize this brutal behavior” and to note that such actions “will not contribute toward the reduction of tension in the Middle East.”
The plea by the school children to end the cultural, religious and educational discriminations to which Soviet Jewry is subjected was contained in an open letter to Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin. The letter was part of a full-page advertisement that appeared today in The New York Times. According to the Jewish Education Committee which sponsored the ad, each child contributed $1 toward its publication.
The letter, which urged the Soviet Government to let Russian Jewry live “physically and spiritually” or “let them leave,” protested against Soviet bans against Jewish schools, the barring of Hebrew and Yiddish teaching, the closing of 400 synagogues in the USSR, the Moscow Government’s failure to permit printing of the Bible in Hebrew, the unleashing of a hate campaign against Jews in the Soviet press, and equating Jews with the Nazis who had destroyed 6 million Jews. The letter expressed the hope that Premier Kosygin would read the appeal and answer it “in good deeds as well as in words.”