Special to the JTA Caje Announces Formation of Jewish Teachers’ Chapter in the USSR

The Coalition for Alternatives in Jewish Education (CAJE), a grassroots organization of more than 1500 North American Jewish educators which is holding its fourth annual conference at Rutgers University here, announced the formation of a chapter in the Soviet Union.

The chapter comprises 30 Jewish teachers in Moscow, Leningrad, Minsk, Kiev, Vilna Kishinev, Tbilisi and three other cities. Most of these teachers were visited this summer by Barbara Pomerantz and Kurt Stone, two Cincinnati Hebrew educations and CAJE members who were touring the Soviet Union. Upon their return to this country, Pomerantz and Stone briefed the CAJE board on the state of Jewish education in the USSR. The board then formally invited the 30 teachers to join the organization and attend its fourth conference which ends today.

Although the teachers, many of whom are refusniks, were not permitted to leave the Soviet Union, a hushed CAJE plenum listened to a tape appeal from Lev Ulanovsky, a 29-year-old re-fusnik astrophysicist, who is now one of Moscow’s leading Hebrew teachers. “We have a tremendous shortage of educational material, “Ulanovsky said. He appealed for books, tapes and other resources which, he added, “are a matter of life and death for the future of Jewish life and culture in Russia.

The plenum voted Sunday night to establish a task force on Soviet Jewish education. The primary purpose of this task force will be to provide desperately needed educational material for Soviet Jews. It will also offer such material to Soviet Jews in this country, and will establish educational links between North American Jewish teachers and students, and their Soviet counterparts.

Even before the task force held its first meeting, a response to the educational needs of Soviet Jews was forthcoming. It was announced by Rabbi Daniel Syme, national director of education for the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, that Ktav Publishing Co. president Bernard Scharfstein has agreed to donate material requested by the Moscow Gan (Jewish kindergarten) Scharfstein will visit the USSR next month to attend the Moscow Book Fair.

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