NEW YORK (Jan. 10)
The Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry in conjunction with the New York Board of Rabbis today offered to provide rabbis from the New York area to the Grand Choral Synagogue in Moscow. The Moscow synagogue has been without a rabbi since the death of Rabbi Yehuda Leib Levin on Nov. 17.
The two groups made the offer in a letter to Menasha Mikhailovich, president of the Moscow congregation. They said that they would send rabbis to fill the vacant post on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is selected. The passing of Rabbi Levin left only three ordained rabbis known to be practicing in the Soviet Union.
The announcement of the offer was made by Rabbi Gilbert Klaperman, chairman of the Greater New York Conference, and a past president of the New York Board of Rabbis; and by Rabbi Harold Saperstein, Board president. They said they hoped that “Soviet authorities will see fit to allow these rabbis to minister to the religious needs of the 500,000 Jews in Moscow who are now left without any rabbinical leadership.”
Rabbi Klaperman said that he was personally prepared to be the first to go to Moscow. Rabbi Saperstein said that “the issue is a humanitarian and not a political one.” Malcolm Hoenlein, director of the Greater New York Conference, said that the Conference is prepared to raise whatever funds are necessary to defray the cost of the project.