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National Lawyers Committee Being Formed to Represent Soviet Jews Facing Trial

Leaders of the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry, at a meeting yesterday with officials of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, decided to go ahead with plans for a national lawyer’s committee which would attempt to represent Soviet Jews facing trial. Rabbi Herschel Schacter, chairman of the American Jewish Conference, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the committee will be headed by the Conference vice-chairman Stanley Lowell. The lawyers would seek to appear in the Soviet court. Conceding that there was not much chance of success in that effort, Rabbi Schacter added that the lawyers could gain publicity for the plight of Soviet Jews through press conferences. He said his group, with its “limited, almost nonexistent staff” aided by personnel from constituent organizations, had set a budget of $100,000. which he was “quite confident” of raising. He said he was buoyed by the “genuine enthusiasm and complete support” expressed at this week’s convention in Kansas City of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds.

Meanwhile, Albert D. Chernin, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia, will leave that city Friday for Brussels to help organize next February’s World Conference on Soviet Jewry, it was announced today by the JCRC. He will be the only American Jewish communal representative on the secretariat. There are expected to be 150 Americans among the 400 delegates to the conference. Mr. Chernin’s representation on the secretariat was recommended by Rabbi Schacter, who asked the JCRC of Greater Philadelphia to let him go to Brussels because “His knowledge of the problem, as well as his profound commitment to Soviet Jewry and singular professional competence, make him eminently qualified for this task.” Mr. Chernin, who has frequently visited the USSR, was national coordinator of the American Jewish Conference during 1965-68. The secretariat begins its two weeks of planning next Monday.

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