Jews in Soviet Georgia Permitted by Authorities to Establish Ulpan in Moscow, Leningrad Ulpans Banne

Jews in Tbilisi, Soviet Georgia, have been permitted by the authorities to establish an ulpan, the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry reported today. There was no immediate explanation of the decision other than that the authorities saw it as a way to undercut the Jewish protest movement there. The Tbilisi ulpan will be run by Gershon and Shalva Tsitsuashvili. In Moscow, however, three Jewish activists were denied the right to establish one.

In Leningrad, Mikhail (Misha) Klich and Samuel Motzkin, who have been teaching Hebrew in weekly two-and-a-half-hour private classes, were told by revenue service inspectors that they were unqualified to teach because they do not have philology degrees. Klich had left the Technical Institute for Mechanics and Optics, where he was a student, to teach the Hebrew classes. He and Motzkin told the authorities that because they have no diplomas they would forego the one-ruble ($1.11) fee they have been charging each student per lesson. The authorities, however, gave them one month to discontinue the classes, the SSSJ said.

In Riga, the SSSJ reported, 95 Jews wrote to the chairman of the Journalists Association of the Latvian Republic and to the editors of Izvestia, the Soviet government newspaper, and Tszina. They protested that recent articles attacking migration to Israel were not objective because they ignored the fact that “tens of thousands” of Soviet Jews have left or want to leave. The writers asked permission to hold a conference to give “our opinions” on Jewish culture, the problems of Jews in the USSR, assimilation, anti-Semitism, Zionism, emigration, trials of Jews for political reasons, and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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