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100,000 Signatures for Soviet Jewry Sent to Communist Party Congress

A hundred thousand signatures for Soviet Jewry have been gathered on petitions by the Center for Russian Jewry and dispatched to delegates to the 24th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party in Moscow. The Center was aided in its effort by its youth wing, the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry; the American Jewish Congress, the Workmen’s Circle, the Jewish Labor Committee, the Farband and other interested groups and individuals. The scheduled two-week signature-seeking campaign officially ended March 28, but petitions are still coming in from around the country. Three-quarters of the petitions, weighing 60 pounds, have been flown to Moscow from here; the remainder will be sent by various synagogues and Jewish Community Councils. Added to the main text of the petition was a paragraph recalling the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s endorsement of equal rights for Soviet Jews. It was signed by 19 civil rights leaders and activists including Reps. Bella S. Abzug and Herman Badillo, New York Democrats; former Attorney General Ramsey Clark; former Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg; theologian Dr. Abraham J. Heschel; Roy Innis, director of the Congress of Racial Equality; Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Dr. King’s widow; Ida Kaminska, the actress; Kivie Kaplan, president of the NAACP; Roy Wilkins, executive director of the NAACP and the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, junior chaplain at Yale University.

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