Ajcongress Opens Soviet Jewry ‘hot Line’; to Give Information on Their Plight

The American Jewish Congress today announced the opening of a Soviet Jewry “hot line” to disseminate current information on the plight of the Russian Jewish community. Callers dialing (212) TRafalgar 9-4554–a special phone set up in Stephen Wise Congress House here–will hear a recorded message with up-to-date news of developments affecting the lives of the 3 million Jews in the USSR. Among these will be reports on arrests, trials and other acts of harassment against Russian Jews and efforts by American Jews to publicize and protest the conditions of Russian Jewish life. The recorded message will be up-dated periodically. In announcing the “hot line,” Eleazar Lipsky chairman of the Congress’ Commission on International Affairs, said its installation was “further expression of our long-standing belief that the plight of Soviet Jews can be improved once the facts are brought to greater public notice.”

Mr. Lipsky said that Jews in the USSR were facing “increased repression” at the hands of Soviet authorities. At the same time, he added, “a miracle of courage is taking place, with Soviet Jews publicly demanding the right of migration to Israel and the right of cultural and religious expression.” The first “hot line” message, recorded by Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld, president of the Congress discussed the letter received last month by Will Maslow, AJCongress’ executive director. The letter was signed by seven Moscow Jews who charged forced detention in the Soviet Union. In his recorded message. Rabbi Lelyveld declared that the Moscow seven had shown “splended defiance” in signing their full names and addresses and that the letter–the first sent directly to an American Jewish organization–demonstrated “incredible persistence after decades of the repression of Jewish identity.”

NEXT STORY