East European Communities Send Greetings to Jews in Israel, West

European Jewry, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, was still divided by the “Iron Curtain” which, though not as formidable a barrier as it was in former times still effectively separated Jews of the Communist bloc from their brethren in the free world. But on the occasion of the High Holy Days, messages of greeting filtered through from Eastern Europe.

The chief rabbi of Moscow’s Central Synagogue, Yehudah Leib Levin, sent New Year wishes to friends abroad. He expressed hope for “peace, tranquility and harmony among all the nations and all the peoples of the world.” Rabbi Levin also sent greetings to Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim of Israel for the first time in two years. He expressed hope for world peace.

The first Rosh Hashanah greetings from Hungarian Jewry since the June, 1967, Six-Day War also reached the Jerusalem office of the World Hebrew Union. They were signed by Dr. Geza Seifert, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary.

British Jews had greetings from Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovitz and from Michael Fidler, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Rabbi Jakobovitz said the past year “will go down in history as the year of spectacular success on the moon and dismal failure on earth.” He observed that “all the major conflicts which troubled the world a year ago continue unabated to wreak death, misery and hatred.” He referred to the wars in Vietnam and Biafra, the invasion of Czechoslovakia and the numerous racial, industrial and academic tensions in many parts of the world that remain unresolved. Rabbi Jakobovitz also regretted that “the past year, far from having brought stable peace any nearer to the Holy Land, has witnessed a tragic escalation of terror and retaliation, aggravated by the Arabs’ unyielding determination to destroy the state of Israel and their bitter harvest of hate……”

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