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Three-day ‘speak-out for Soviet Jewry’ Started at Isaiah Wall

A three-day “Speak-out for Soviet Jewry” got under way today at the Isaiah Wall, opposite United Nations headquarters, under the auspices of the Center for Russian Jewry and its youth affiliate, the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry. Seventy persons attended. The four speakers this afternoon condemned the treatment of Soviet Jews, the refusal of the Voice of America to broadcast to Russian Jews in Yiddish and Hebrew, and the alleged apathy of Britain, France, Pope Paul VI and Secretary General Thant. The speakers were Mrs. Rivka Aleksandrovich, whose daughter, Ruth, is serving time in Riga for alleged “anti-Soviet activities”; Robert F. Leonard, the District Attorney of Genesee County, Mich., who recently visited Russia; Rabbi Avraham Weiss of Congregation B’nai Jeshrun, Monsey, N.Y., and Aleksander Gittelsohn, a recent Soviet emigre now resident in Israel. The three-day length of the “Speak-out” was decided on because it is the average length of the trials of Soviet Jews, explained organizer Stanley Gruen. “If these Jews’ ‘guilt’ can be ‘proven’ to a Soviet court in three days,” he said, “then surely we can prove their innocence in the same amount of time.”

(In Washington, it was reported that sentiment among delegates to the annual plenary meeting of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, which ended Sunday night in Atlanta, was overwhelmingly opposed to the Koch bill for 30,000 emergency visas to Soviet Jews to enter the United States. NJCRAC officials in Washington said it was felt that any Soviet Jews who wanted to be admitted to the United States could be without that legislation and that the bill was irrelevant because most Soviet Jews seeking to leave Russia want to go to Israel. However, the officials said, the plenary decided not to record any official opposition to the Koch bill nor to work against its adoption by Congress out of fear that defeat of the measure could be misinterpreted.)

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