NEW YORK (Jun. 2)
Prayer vigils for Soviet Jewry will be held in several cities in the United States from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, it was announced today by Rabbi Solomon J. Sharfman, president of the Synagogue Council of America. Major attention will be focussed on a prayer vigil in the nation’s capital, which will be attended by leading religious personalities of the Jewish, Protestant and Catholic faiths. The official call for the prayer vigil was issued by the Synagogue Council of America. in cooperation with the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry. In issuing the call, Rabbi Sharfman said that it is the purpose of the vigils “to generate a mighty chorus by decent men everywhere demanding of the Soviet authorities ‘stop the trials, release the prisoners.’” The vigils will also serve to tell the Soviet authorities “that we will not rest nor will we be silent while their ruthless policy of repression continues,” Rabbi Sharfman stated. “It is also the purpose of these vigils to ask of our own government to raise the issue of the cultural and religious genocide taking place in the Soviet Union on a far more serious level than it has been raised thus far.” Among the participants in the Washington vigil will be representatives of the National Council of Churches of Christ, the Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical Affairs of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in the U.S., the National Committee of Black Churchmen and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Professor of Jewish Ethics and Mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary and Rabbi Sharfman. In addition, a major speaker at the Washington vigil will be Rivka Aleksandrovich, who will bring a dramatic message from the Soviet Union about her daughter, Ruth.