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15,000 Jews Celebrate Simhat Torah in Moscow; Largest Number in Recent Years

About 15,000 Jews gathered in front of Moscow’s Choral Synagogue Thursday night in celebration of Simhat Torah–the largest number of celebrants to do so in recent years. According to eye-witness reports, Soviet police did not interfere as thousands of young people sang and danced in the streets, watched by thousands more elderly persons. But according to one source, the neighborhood was “dotted with secret agents.” An estimated 1500 young British Jews attended services at Marble Arch Synagogue here last night to demonstrate their solidarity with Soviet Jewry. Many of the group carried torches and placards. They stood in silence as letters were read from Russian Jews protesting the refusal of Soviet authorities to let them emigrate to Israel. There were also readings of poetry by Russian-Jewish poets.