NEW YORK (Jun. 22)
Richard Maass, chairman of the American Jewish Committee’s Foreign Affairs Commission, has been elected chairman of the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry, succeeding Rabbi Herschel Schacter, it was announced today. At the same time, the Conference has been reconstituted, for an initial emergency period of two years, to provide a focal point through which all segments of the American Jewish community can maintain “a continuing, dynamic and activist program for Soviet Jewry as a priority concern.” Describing the significance of the reorganization, Maass explained that, while the Conference would continue to draw on the talents of its member agencies, which include all major American Jewish organizations, it would now operate on an independent budget that would enable it to initiate and carry out specific nationwide programs and projects. He added:
“We hope to conduct an intensive operation both here and abroad. On the domestic side, our aim will be massive education” to provide the American public with an understanding of the strivings of Russian Jewry “especially in terms of our recently increased sensitivity to the strivings of ethnic groups in our own country.” In the international area, he continued, “we plan to work closely with Jewish and non-Jewish organizations throughout the world, especially in Latin America and Western Europe. We believe this will mark an historic turn in the commitment of Jews throughout the world to assist, in all legal ways and with firmness and militancy, their beleaguered brothers in the Soviet Union. We also hope to enlist the help of all people who believe that the denial of equal rights to more than three million Jews in the Soviet Union, including the right to leave for other countries where they could live as Jews, is a denial of basic human rights that all men of good will must oppose.” Maass, who is also a member of the Board of Governors of the American Jewish Committee, has participated in many overseas missions, most of them under the auspices of the AJCommittee.