Chicago Area Christian, Jewish Leaders Map Actions on Soviet Jews

More than 50 Chicago-area Jewish and Christian leaders met several days ago in the offices of the National Conference of Christians and Jews here to study and act on the plight of Soviet Jewry. This Midwest Regional Consultation on Soviet Jewry was co-sponsored by the National Interreligious Task Force on Soviet Jewry, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Chicago Conference on Religion and Race, and the American Jewish Committee.

David Geller, European Affairs specialist for the AJ Committee, the keynote speaker, warned that “the present circumstances of Soviet Jews remain, in many respects, quite serious.” Geller noted that despite the fact that “over thirty thousand Jews emigrated from the USSR to Israel in 1973,” there are still “tens of thousands more who are denied exit visas,” thus protests and action on their behalf are still needed.

The Task Force’s executive director, Sister Ann Gillen, reported on the organization’s existence, and expressed her satisfaction with the establishment of local Interreligious Task Forces in other cities throughout the U.S. Sister Margaret Traxler, one of the founding co-chairpersons of the National Interreligious Task Force on Soviet Jewry, closed the conference with a statement calling for “increased and heightened activity in 1974″ on behalf of Soviet Jewry.

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