Rabbi Schneier, in Moscow, Calls for Greater Jewish Contact

Two New York rabbis and an American Jesuit priest were the only American spiritual leaders in Moscow yesterday to pay tribute to Rabbi Yehuda Leib Levin of the Central Synagogue on the occasion of his 75th birthday. Rabbi Arthur Schneier, of the Park East Synagogue, spoke to the congregation. Rev. C. J. McNaspy, editor of the Jesuit weekly America, joined a crowd of 2,000 Moscow Jews who jammed the synagogue at special birthday services. Rabbi David Hollander, of the Mount Eden Jewish Center in The Bronx was delayed in London and arrived in the Soviet capital too late for the services. The New Yorkers, close friends of Rabbi Levin, were the only American rabbis who managed to obtain Soviet visas. Visas were denied the others although all had been invited by the head of the Moscow Jewish community with the apparent approval of Soviet authorities.

Rabbi Schneier brought Rabbi Levin a book about New York from Mayor John V. Lindsay, a silver cup from the Rabbinical Council of America and a curtain for the synagogue ark. Addressing the throng in the synagogue, he called for greater contacts between Jews in Russia and those in the West in order to help bring Soviet Jews “into the mainstream of Jewish life.” Grigory Manevich, a member of Rabbi Levin’s congregation, said that many American Jews had “very strange ideas” about the life of Soviet Jews. He said. “Many of them think that all our rabbis have died out and that our communities are run by officials of the State security service.”

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