WASHINGTON (May. 19)
The Soviet Embassy this weekend issued a Novosti press agency release here providing details on the members of the Jewish religious delegation soon to visit the United States in fulfillment of a Soviet arrangement with an anti-Zionist organization, the American Council for Judaism. The release was written by Samuel Rozin, Novosti correspondent, and entitled “Visiting Co-Religionists.” It included an interview with Rabbi Yehuda Leib Levin, 74 spiritual leader of the Moscow Choral Synagogue. Rozin quoted the rabbi as saying that he was previously invited abroad on a number of occasions “and not only to the United States. Unfortunately, the state of my health made it impossible to accept these kind invitations. Recently, I underwent an intricate operation…my health has Improved and I have consented to accept this invitation of the American Council for Judaism.” He said that “in his letter inviting me, Mr. Bill Gottlieb, American Council public relations director asked me to make a report on a number of questions concerning the situation of the Jewish religion in the Soviet Union,”
The release sought to give the impression that Jews enjoy adequate religious facilities in the USSR. It stated that Rabbi Levin “simultaneously heads the Kol Yakov Yeshiva and many of his pupils are now working as rabbis and ritual slaughterers, in various cities of the Soviet Union.” Reference was made to supplies of matzoh, prayer books, and other religious needs provided allegedly to Russian Jewry.
Another member of the delegation. Rabbi Israel Shvartsblat, 55, of Odessa, was identified as a native of Lithuania who completed yeshiva studies in 1935. Rabbi Israel Bronfman, of Derbent, Daghestan, was also identified as a delegation member. The fourth delegate is David Stiskin, cantor of the Leningrad Synagogue.