Jews in Philadelphia, Washington Stage Peaceful Rallies at Russian Dance Concerts

The Moiseyev Dancers last night were invited to participate in a memorial service for the Jewish victims of the 1941 Babi Yar massacre to be held tomorrow afternoon at the YMHA. Representatives of the Jewish Community, under the sponsorship of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia, met for a half-hour with a spokesman of the dance troup at the Academy of Music shortly before the evening performance to extend the invitation. The spokesman was also asked to transmit to Soviet authorities a petition permitting the Philadelphia Jewish community to erect a memorial at Babi Yar in memory of the Jewish martyrs to Nazi terrorism. The spokesman agreed to transmit the petition to Soviet authorities and promised than an answer to the invitation would be given community representatives some time this afternoon. The meeting was described as cordial by community spokesmen. While the meeting was in progress, brochures welcoming the Moiseyev Dancers, but deploring the denials suffered by Soviet Jews, were distributed in front of the Academy.

Theodore R. Mann, JCRC president, said the protest and brochures were not in opposition to cultural exchange but to protest the “inhumanity suffered by the 3 million Jews of the Soviet Union.” Members of the Jewish community participating in the meeting and protest marched to the center of the city where they lit memorial candles in memory of the 100,000 Jews massacred by the Nazis. A cantor chanted a memorial prayer and Rabbi Joseph Teichman, chairman of the Soviet Jewry Committee of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia, spoke. The activities were part of “Soviet Jewry Month” proclaimed by Mayor James H. J. Tate on Sept. 18. “to show concern for the plight of Russia’s 3 million Jews.”

In Baltimore on Saturday night, some 80 to 100 Jewish college students delayed the opening of the second half of the Moiseyev Dance Company program at the Lyric Theatre for approximately 15 minutes when, as the curtain went up, six students stood in the balcony and sounded shofars. Then another 80 to 100 persons stood up and sang Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem to the applause of many in the audience of 2,100. The students, members of the Baltimore-Washington Committee to Smash Soviet Repression, said they wanted to call attention to “the plight” of three million “oppressed Jews inside the Soviet Union.” Richard Spiegel, a philosophy senior at the University of Maryland said “the demonstration was not aimed at the Dance Company itself but at the repressive side of Soviet culture which is not seen in the cultural exchange program.” Students from the University of Maryland, American University, Johns Hopkins, Goucher C., Loyola of Baltimore and the Talmudical Academy of Baltimore participated in the demonstration. Outside the theatre at both the Friday and Saturday night performances, the Committee distributed leaflets which showed anti-Semitic cartoons published in the Soviet Union and told of Soviet repression of its Jewish citizens.

NEXT STORY