NY Area UJA Opens 1971 Drive; Soviet Jewish Emigre Talks of Jewish Plight in USSR

A young Russian Jewish woman who recently emigrated to Israel described today how she grew up in an atmosphere of anti-Semitism and how she felt “unwanted” living in the Soviet Union. Mrs. Alla Rusinek, 21, an Israeli citizen since November, told of her personal struggle and deliverance to 1000 United Jewish Appeal women volunteers at the luncheon session of a day-long seminar held in the New York Hilton by the New York Women’s Division of UJA. Mrs. Rusinek, whose husband was forced to remain in the Soviet Union because authorities would not give him an exit visa, expressed thanks to the UJA volunteer workers for the role they and the UJA of Greater New York played in helping her and hundreds of thousands of immigrants from all parts of the world to build new lives for themselves in Israel. The seminar marked the official beginning of the 1971 drive in New York City. Westchester and Long Island for the contributions women make in addition to their husbands’ giving to the UJA. The UJA of Greater New York has accepted a quota of $150 million in this year’s nationwide effort to raise $500 million through UJA’s Israel Emergency Fund and general campaign.

Speakers at the luncheon included Dr. Aryeh Nesher, executive director of UJA’s Israel Education Fund, and Mrs. Harry Etra and Mrs. Alexander Sack, chairmen of the New York UJA Women’s Division. Mrs. Rusinek moved some of her listeners to tears when she said that until she was 18 years old she did not know that Israel was a Jewish state. “The Soviet propaganda never mentioned that fact,” she said. The Six-Day War taught thousands of Russian Jews that Israel was a land where they could live in freedom. The wave of requests for visas to Israel resulted in permission for her, but not her husband, to emigrate last autumn. Together they decided that she was to go ahead, in the belief that eventually he would follow. When she left, they had been married for 12 days. Mrs. Rusinek, currently visiting the United States under the auspices of the American Conference on Soviet Jewry, was introduced as an “example of the reasons why such vast amounts are needed to carry on UJA-supported humanitarian programs in a most critical year in the struggle for Jewish survival.” Dr. Nesher’s talk focused on the needs that must be met by UJA, including the New York UJA Women’s Division’s special project for 1971-the building of a comprehensive high school and a number of pre-kindergartens for the children of Bet Yerach, a Jordan valley town in Israel.

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