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Leningrad Police Dispersed Youth with Truncheons on Simhat Torah, ‘yediot’ Reports

An Israeli newspaper claimed today that Leningrad police armed with clubs dispersed 5,000 Jewish youths attempting to participate in Simhat Torah celebrations outside of the Leningrad synagogue last week. The evening daily Yediot Achronot attributed its information to a tourist who arrived here from Russia and said he witnessed the incident. According to the account, about 5,000 Jewish youths assembled outside the synagogue even though the street was closed by police. The police apparently thought the gathering was too large and moved in to break it up, using their clubs. The tourist said he saw scuffles between youths and police.

Reports in the world press last week said that some 12,000 Jews, mainly youngsters, danced and sang outside the main synagogue in Moscow on Simhat Torah. The street was blocked to traffic but there was no reported interference by police. A Jewish elder was quoted as saying that he doubted that Simhat Torah celebrations on such a scale were permitted in cities other than Moscow.

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