GARDEN CITY, NEW YORK (Jan. 3)
With the theme “Freedom Now for All Jews” reverberating today through Roosevelt Field here, and facing a 20-foot float on which 11 young men dressed in black and white prison garb depicted the convicted Leningrad 11, more than 6,000 Jews and Christians participated in a mass interfaith protest rally against the recent Leningrad trial and the new trials of Soviet Jews scheduled to begin this week. Philip Kates, chairman pro-tem of the sponsoring Long Island Committee for Soviet Jewry, reported that as prominent religious, civic and political leaders addressed the crowd, a chartered plane circled the rally overhead carrying an 80-foot sign reading “Let Our People Gol” Following the speeches and prayers, the throng reassembled into a 2,000 vehicle motorcade which proceeded on a 10-mile drive to the Glen Cove estate used by the Soviet Mission to the United Nations. Nassau County police officers, accompanying the motorcade, said it was the largest and longest in Long Island history. At the same time, the Rockland County Committee for Soviet Jewry sponsored a 250-car motorcade from Spring Valley, N.Y. to New York City past the Soviet Mission to the UN and from there to the Isaiah Wall opposite the UN where a 45 minute rally was held.
Rabbi Abraham Weiss, spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun of Monsey, N.Y. and an instructor at the Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University, told the 600 protestors that although the Soviet Union commuted the death sentences. Soviet Jews are still condemned to a slow death. A delegation then drove to the Soviet Mission where they attempted to present petitions to Mission officials demanding the release of Soviet Jews. The petitions were refused. When the Long Island motorcade reached the Glen Cove village line, escort duty was turned over to the local village police department whose 85-man police force were all on duty for the day. The motorcade proceeded to the gates of the Russian Compound where there were further prayers and supplications, and addresses by religious leaders and Glen Cove’s mayor, following which 1000 red and white balloons bearing the legend “Let Our People Go” were released, Irving I. Silverman, coordinator of the LICSJ said “We hope all our Russian brethren will see and sense our solidarity with them. We will not rest until every Russian Jew is allowed to live with decency and honor or is permitted to emigrate.” American Jewish leaders expressed gratification over the commutation of the death sentences and the reduction of prison terms but also expressed the view that it would be a grave error to halt protests now and that the struggle must continue against the inhumanity persisting in the Soviet Union.