NEW YORK (Apr. 18)
More than 2,500 persons participated in demonstrations today on behalf of Soviet Jewry in Brooklyn and Manhattan. More than 1,000 persons attended a community-wide freedom rally for Soviet Jews sponsored by the Washington Heights Committee for Soviet Jewry which includes virtually all synagogues and Jewish organizations in the Washington Heights-Inwood sections of New York City. Ronald Wachtel, assistant director of admissions at Yeshiva University, who with Rabbi Joseph Singer of the Mt. Sinai Jewish Center, was co-chairman of the rally, described the gathering as an unprecedented one in the area. “We hope this broad-based community-wide rally will be the beginning of a really grass-roots neighborhood effort by Jews and non-Jews on behalf of the suffering Russian Jewish community,” he said. The rally focused on the fate of Jews imprisoned since last June’s alleged hijack plot in Leningrad. Giant blow-ups of some of the imprisoned Jews were hung from the podium and a 30-foot wide “Free Soviet Jews” banner led the 10-block line of the march following the rally where the participants went to Congregation Shaare Hatikvah to recite psalms read in times of crisis to the Jewish community.
The demonstrators sang Hebrew songs in solidarity with the young Soviet Jews who in defiance of Soviet authorities dance before Russian synagogues. Rally participants were given specially printed postcards with the photo of Ruth Aleksandrovich of Riga whose trial is expected shortly. Each participant was asked to send those cards to Soviet Prosecutor General Roman Radenko. At the Shaare Tikvah, Silim Goldberger, a young Jewish emigre from Riga, described the plight of Jews imprisoned in the Soviet Union. A 450-car motorcade, organized by the Kings County (Brooklyn) Council of the Jewish War Veterans, brought some 1,200 persons to the steps of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall for a rally with the theme of “Let My People Go.” William Posner, Kings County JWV Commander, vowed that the veteran’s organization “will not rest until every Jew who wants to leave the Soviet Union can do so.” Posner said that the 10-mile motorcade demonstration was to “assure that the plight of Soviet Jewry is kept before the conscience of the world, until the justice of their cause prevails.”