Rabbis to Conduct Special Services to Call Attention to Plight of Soviet Jews

Southland rabbis will call attention to the plight of Jews in the Soviet Union during religious services on the weekend of August 7 at the urging of the Southern California Board of Rabbis and the Commission on Soviet Jewry of the Jewish Federation-Council of Los Angeles. All congregants will be asked to participate in the special services. The groups said that ominous developments In Russia, such as the recent wave of arrests of Jews in Riga and Leningrad, are responsible for the action. Among those arrested have been Jews who petitioned to leave the USSR for Israel. Rabbi Max Nussbaum. president of the Board of Rabbis, explained that Aug. 7 was chosen because it precedes by four days the Jewish fast day of Tisha B’av, mourning the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. “We cannot afford a new Tisha B’av of the cultural genocide of a fifth of world Jewry.” Dr. Nussbaum said. “We must let the world know about the oppression and persecution going on within Soviet borders.” He said that many persons have indicated they will extend the Tisha B’av Fast–a hunger strike–to demonstrate their alliance with fellow Jews in Russia.

Cyrus Levinthal, chairman of the Commission on Soviet Jewry of JFC’s Committee on Community Relations, also pointed out that the Moiseyev Dance Ensemble of the Soviet Union will open an engagement at the Shrine Auditorium on August 7. “While this group epitomizes cultural freedom.” Levinthal said, “the Jews in Russia are experiencing genocidal cultural repression. It is anticipated that a number of people will indicate their concern for Soviet Jewry on opening night of the Moiseyev Dancers.” However, Mr. Levinthal said, the Commission on Soviet Jewry concurs with the national policy of the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry opposing any activity inside the theater or any disruptive actions outside the theater. “Such actions are considered counter-productive to the goals of the Jewish community in helping Soviet Jewry,” Mr. Levinthal said.

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