NEW YORK (May. 25)
The Soviet Union was accused here of being the world’s leading exponent of anti-Semitism and with carrying out a “policy of massive cultural persecution and spiritual slavery” against its 3,000,000 Jewish citizens. The protest was made at an all-night teach-in in honor of Russian youth beginning Wednesday night. Three hundred high school and college youth from the east coast attended the event. The sit-in. with services, was held in connection with Shavuot and was sponsored by the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry, a body representing the major religious, secular and civil Jewish organizations in the United States.
The students conducted six hours of prayer and discussions on Soviet Jewry at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations. Large placards on the walls appealed to Soviet authorities to restore the cultural and spiritual rights of Jews. Rabbi Saul I. Teplitz of Woodmere, N.Y., vice chairman of the American Jewish Conference, cited the USSR’s “vitriolic anti-Zionist and anti-Israel propaganda, which feeds the prejudices of the anti-Semites both within the Soviet Union and throughout the world.” Rabbi Abraham J. Heschel of the Jewish Theological Seminary said the Jews of Russia “will not be blackmailed into committing suicide.” Author Elie Eiesel said. “I believe with all my soul that despite the suffering, despite the hardship and the fear, the Jews of Russia will withstand the pressure and emerge victorious.”
The meeting called for the immediate release of two young East European Jews. One, Boris L. Kochubiyevsky, of Kiev, was arrested in December, 1968 after communicating with Soviet Communist Party chief Leonid I, Brezhnev demanding the right to live in Israel. Another young man, Ilya Kipps, a Latvian mathematics student, reputedly set himself afire at the foot of a liberty monument in Riga April 13 and was arrested. The act reportedly was in protest against Soviet repression of Jews.
(A Jewish college student group in Philadelphia known as Lapid (Torch) recently bought a $100 Israel Bond to be held in escrow in Israel for Mr. Kochubiyevsky against the possibility that he may emigrate there.)