MIAMI BEACH (Apr. 1)
Dr. Israel Miller, president of the American Zionist Federation, said tonight that Soviet authorities allowed more Russian Jews to leave for Israel last month than were permitted emigration in any single month in the last four years. “If this marks a turning point in their policy, it will be welcomed by humanitarians throughout the world,” Rabbi Miller said. He added, however, “If it is only a gesture to insure a peaceful Soviet Communist Party Congress, the Soviet authorities are deluding themselves. Jews in all of the free nations of the world will continue to voice their just demand for the basic rights of their brethren in the Soviet Union.” Rabbi Miller delivered the major address at the Florida Friends of Yeshiva University Heritage Dinner. The event, which drew some 400 civic, business and community leaders, was held to honor Chester Devenow, president and chief executive officer of the Sheller-Globe Corp., and a member of the board of the Mercantile Bank of Miami Beach. Devenow received Yeshiva University’s highest award for volunteer leadership in recognition of his achievements on behalf of educational, cultural and humanitarian endeavors.
Rabbi Miller, also serving as vice-president for student affairs at Yeshiva University, commented on the contrast between the festivities at Miami Beach tonight for the University, and those in Moscow for the Congress convening there. He said “It points up the very real differences in values, ideology and philosophy between our country and the Soviet Union. Here free people are gathered as a symbol of hope to aid an institution of higher learning established by the Jewish community. In the Kremlin, Communist leaders are gathered to aid a country which has shut down the institutions of the Jewish community.” The Congress has the opportunity to “make history by taking steps to affirm the rights of Soviet Jewry to their identity and destiny as Jews,” Rabbi Miller stated. The Heritage Dinner was held to benefit the ongoing programs of Yeshiva University, celebrating its 85th anniversary this year as America’s oldest university established under Jewish auspices.