World Council of Synagogues Urges Relief for Jewish Minorities in Poland, USSR

The World Council of Synagogues, representing Conservative Jewish congregations in 22 countries, concluded its biennial convention here today with an appeal to the Polish Government “to reverse the course of anti-Semitism now raging for more than a year.” A resolution adopted by the convention charged that “what began as anti-Israel propaganda quickly degenerated into slanderous and vicious anti-Semitism, supported and abetted by prominent Government and Communist Party leadership.” It said that “terror has descended upon the pitifully small remnant of Jews still remaining in Poland.”

In a related resolution, the Council took note of the situation of the Jews in the Soviet Union and called on the Soviet Government to “give its Jewish citizens complete freedom of religious, educational and cultural expression” and to grant to the Jewish minority the rights granted to other nationality groups.

The director of the Hillel youth movement in Latin America, Rabbi Isidore Aizenberg, of Caracas, Venezuela, speaking in a symposium on Jewish youth today, welcomed student revolt. “Let us not argue whether the means they use are right or wrong,” he declared. “The point is that youth is starting to be concerned with the paths our world is walking on, with the advances and setbacks our present civilization is suffering.” Another rabbi working in Latin America, said the synagogue there had not been able to reach and influence the Jewish youth. Rabbi Marshall Meyer of Buenos Aires, director of the Council’s Latin American office, pointed out that in all of Latin America, with a Jewish population in excess of 850,000, there were no more than 50 rabbis. “The vast majority of these rabbis,” he asserted, “have no secular training and are completely out of touch with the young Latin American university student who is asking questions that the older rabbis cannot even understand.” Conceding that the synagogue was ‘the least important institution In Jewish life in this part of the world,” Rabbi Meyer said that in the cases he had studied, “with few exceptions, the synagogue has made no attempt to communicate with the real spiritual problems of the modern man.”

Morris Speizman, of Charlotte, N.C., was elected president of the Council, succeeding Emanuel G. Scoblionko, of Allentown, Pa., who was named honorary president. Mr. Speizman is vice-president of the United Synagogue of America and a trustee of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

NEXT STORY