Hadassah, Mcgovern Ask Activist Be Freed Judy and Gavriel Shapiro Married by Proxy in Washington
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Hadassah, Mcgovern Ask Activist Be Freed Judy and Gavriel Shapiro Married by Proxy in Washington

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Judy Silver Shapiro, the 27-year-old Cincinnati social worker, and Gavriel Shapiro, the jailed 27-year-old Moscow activist, were married today by proxy in a civil ceremony by Chief Judge Harold Greene of District of Columbia Civil Court. Judge Greene married the couple after hearing testimony on the religious ceremony they underwent in Moscow June 8. Mrs. Shapiro’s visa expired and she was unable to remain in Russia for a civil ceremony.

“This doesn’t seem to be very civilized to me,” Judge Greene said of the Russian authorities’ refusal to extend the bride’s visa. “On the basis of legal principles,” he continued, “I am convinced this court has the authority to perform a proxy marriage. On the basis of the testimony, a proxy marriage is appropriate under these circumstances.” The testimony heard by him included the report that Shapiro has been burred from seeing family, friends or legal counsel since his arrest June 12 on charges of draft evasion.

Mrs. Shapiro, asked by Judge Greene if she accepted the activist as her husband, replied, “I do.” Rabbi Harry Kranz of Silver Spring, Md., who conducted the Moscow service, said the proxy ceremony “will hopefully be accepted by the Soviet authorities as a valid marriage.” Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum, Interreligious Affairs director of the American Jewish Committee, voiced “appreciation” for the “humanitarian interest and role of President Nixon’s administration, the State Department, numerous members of the Senate and House and hundreds of Americans, Christian and Jewish alike, who have taken an active part in the effort to assure justice and the realization of the fundamental human right of Gavriel Shapiro to leave his country, aright established by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.”

A protest was made by letter today by Sen. George McGovern to Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin over Shapiro’s arrest and imprisonment. The Senator urged that the Soviet government free Shapiro immediately and allow him to emigrate, calling Shapiro’s forthcoming trial “a source of profound concern” to him and to many other Americans. He wrote that Shapiro’s release and permission to emigrate would be “universally welcomed as a vital contribution” to improving US Soviet relations.

(In New York, Mrs. Max Schenk, president of Hadassah, sent telegram appeals to Communist Party Chairman Leonid Brezhnev and to President Nixon, for intervention on Shapiro’s behalf. She said, in both telegrams, that Shapiro and other Jewish activities were called for military service as a political maneuver on the eve of President Nixon’s visit to Moscow. She added Shapiro had not previously been scheduled for a military call-up. She asked Brezhnev to recommend dismissal of charges against Shapiro on “moral grounds” and allow him to emigrate on “humanitarian grounds.”

Some 50 supporters of Judy Silver Shapiro conducted today in front of the Soviet Intourist Office in Manhattan, a symbolic wedding ceremony for the couple. The demonstrators, mostly women, had planned to enter the Intourist Office to plead for Shapiro but found the office doors shut when they arrived:)

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