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Jewish Campus Leaders Hold Strategy Conference on Issue of Soviet Jews

About 200 Jewish campus leaders from 75 colleges and universities all over the country opened a three-day “strategy conference” here on the issue of Soviet Jews. The gathering at the Hillel House on the University of Maryland campus was organized by the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation and the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry. Its purpose, according to a spokesman, was to accelerate student involvement in the issue and to spur the activities of the adult Jewish community on behalf of Russian Jews.

According to Prof. Dan Jacobs of Miami University in Ohio, it was Jewish youth “who maintained interest when the adult community’s attention was elsewhere.” He called the recent acceleration of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union “essentially a victory for the efforts of young people.” Dr. Jacobs cautioned, however, that the exodus of Jews must be regarded as a tentative development that could be reversed with adverse effects on the Jews remaining in the USSR. He said the large scale departure of Jews actually weakened dissent in the Soviet Union because it is “the most vocal Jewish protestors who were being allowed to depart.”

Another speaker, Glenn Richter, national coordinator of the SSSJ, said student activists had to move the adult community “off its apathy.” He urged students to “push the Jewish organizations from within where you can and where you cannot, do enough yourselves to embarrass them into action.” The Conference has asked for a White House audience to ask President Nixon to bring up the issue of Soviet Jews when he meets Soviet leaders in Moscow next May.

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