NEW YORK (Sep. 28)
An estimated 3000 students and adults danced, sang and listened to a number of speakers in a Simchat Torah “Festival of Defiance” for Soviet Jews in Manhattan’s Central Park yesterday afternoon. Despite a heavy rain, few participants left, according to a spokesman for the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry.
The SSSJ and the Young Israel Intercollegiate Council, in cooperation with the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry, staged the event as part of a continuing campaign to force the US government to cancel a pending $750 million wheat sale and other planned steps toward American-Soviet trade expansion, unless the USSR cancels its heavy exit fees for university-educated Soviet Jews seeking to emigrate.
Howard Samuels, head of the Off-Track Betting Corporation, electioneering for Sen. George McGovern, said that if 3 1/2 million Soviet Jews could be “sold” for a billion dollars worth of wheat, “who is to say” that the three million Jews of Israel might not someday be sold for a billion dollars worth of oil. Samuels criticized President Nixon’s approach to the issue of Soviet Jewry as he expressed it during a meeting with Jewish leaders here on Tuesday night.
Rabbi Steven Riskin, chairman of the SSSJ called for a march on Washington in support of passage of an amendment proposed by Sen. Henry Jackson (D. Wash.) to the East-West trade relations act in the Senate. The amendment would bar any country from receiving most favored nation status or participation in US credit and investment guarantee programs “unless that country permits its citizens the opportunity to emigrate to the country of their choice.”
The story in Wednesday’s Bulletin on the interfaith ceremony at the International Synagogue at Kennedy Airport launching the American celebration of Israel’s 25th anniversary inadvertently omitted the name of Mrs. Rose Halprin as one of the 25 persons lighting the 25-branch candelabra. She in fact lit the first candle. Mrs. Halprin, honorary vice-president of Hadassah, had the honor of lighting the first candle because she was the only surviving member at this ceremony of the Jewish Agency representatives that presented to the United Nations in 1948 the case for the creation of the State of Israel. At that time, Mrs. Halprin was a member of the American Section of the Jewish Agency Executive.
Hebrew will be among the “ethnic” languages to be taught in public high schools in Greater Toronto. Five high schools in the North York suburb and one school in Toronto will provide modern Hebrew under the new plan. The Board of Jewish Education of Toronto helped arrange for the courses and teachers.