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Some 200 Jewish, Non-jewish Youths in 8-hour Overnight Rally for Soviet Jewry

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More than 200 Jewish and non-Jewish youths, most of them students from area universities staged an all-night vigil at the reflecting pool directly opposing the Lincoln Memorial that began at 10 p.m. last night and ended at 6 a.m. this morning. Dr. Isaac Franck, executive vice-president of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington which sponsored the peaceful vigil, described it as a “continuing solidarity with the Jews in the Soviet Union.” Seymour Wolf, Council president, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that this “is only one more protest in the ongoing campaign for Soviet Jewry.” He said that Jewry will survive and that “Russian Jews will participate in that survival.” Wolf also stated that according to reports the Council has, some 80,000 Jewish families have applied for exit permits.

Despite the light rain and cold, participants, including 42 survivors of Nazi concentration camps, maintained their ranks throughout the eight hours singing Hebrew songs, dancing and conducting evening and morning prayer services. They watched a film “Let My People Go,” which depicted the response of Jews in the Soviet Union, Israel and the United States to the plight of Soviet Jewry. One of the participants, John Sigmund, 21, a senior at the American University in Washington, wore a large cross on his chest. He told the JTA that he was participating because “I’m a Christian and I’m for Zion. I am fully committed to the struggle by the Soviet Jews and firmly believe that all should be allowed to emigrate.” Ken Bradley, 20, a sophomore at Georgetown University who is from Palmetto, Ga., where his father is the mayor, said: “I’m a Jew by association. There are no Jews in Palmetto and I didn’t know any Jews until I came to Washington.” The 42 concentration camp survivors conducted yiskor services later in the day at Congregation Tifereth Israel in Washington.

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