WASHINGTON (Jul. 21)
Chief Rabbi Yehuda Leib Levin of Moscow has been quoted by Novosti, the Soviet overseas propaganda agency, as admitting on his return to Moscow from visiting American Jewry that there were some deficiencies in Jewish education in Russia and stating that U.S. Jewish leaders admitted a decline in religious education in the U.S.
The rabbi conceded that a yeshiva in Moscow “failed to enroll a sufficient number of students” but attributed this to atheism in the Soviet Union and “a general decline in religious feeling,” Novosti reported. He said that “young Jews readily come to the synagogue to have a good time on Simhat Torah or Passover” but “prefer to study in secular educational establishments,” according to Novosti.
Rabbi Levin claimed American rabbis told him there was a similar decline in religious interest among American Jewish youth. He said he hoped his visit contributed to American-Soviet relations. He said the greatest impression came from meetings “with my brethren in faith.” Rabbi Levin was quoted by Novosti as saying, “a shocking impression was made on me by the complete ignorance or distorted picture and widespread prejudice on the question of the status of Judaism and the life of Jews in the USSR.”