NEW YORK (Oct. 3)
Simhat Torah festivals will be held Sunday in nearly 50 cities across the country to focus on Soviet Jewry, specifically, the problems of emigration, harassment and the recent dispersal of Soviet Jews from synagogues on the High Holy Days, it was reported today by Stanley H. Lowell, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry.
Major observances will take place in New York, Chicago, Boston, Essex County (New Jersey), Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas and Washington. In Chicago, Simhat Torah activities will include a mass procession and rally in solidarity with Israel and the persecuted Jews in Syria, Iraq and the USSR.
“Simhat Torah has a very special meaning to Soviet Jews,” Lowell said. “In past years they have gathered in front of synagogues to celebrate. In view of the dispersal of Jews during the High Holy Days and in past years on such occasions by the KGB, Americans will be watching particularly closely at this time to see that Soviet Jews are permitted the freedom to observe Simhat Torah in traditional fashion, without harassment.”