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Shcharansky Solidarity Fast Ends

A fast in solidarity with Soviet Jewish Prisoner of Conscience Anatoly Shcharansky ended here last Friday after six days. The fast was held in front of the Soviet Mission to the United Nations by students and faculty members from Yeshiva University and Stern College. Hundreds of students from both institutions demonstrated each day of the fast and participated in “sidewalk classes.”

The fast ended with Rabbi Avraham Weiss, of Stern College and the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale (N.Y.), reading Psalm 27, which Shcharansky has indicated he recites often in Chistipol Prison where he began a hunger strike on the eve of Yom Kippur. The Psalm says, in part: “The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? … When evildoers drew near to eat my flesh, they stumbled and fell … Deliver me not over to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me.”

Weiss, who conducted classes daily in front of the Soviet Mission, said he undertook the fast as a personal gesture “to feel some of Shcharansky’s pain. We must all carry some of his burden.” The six-day solidarity fast was organized by the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (SSSJ) as part of a daily vigil in front of the Mission for Shcharansky which began October I. A spokesman for the SSSJ said that although the solidarity fast has ended, the vigil will continue.

Meanwhile, the SSSJ reported that the Canadian Parliament passed a resolution in support of Shcharansky last Thursday. The measure was sponsored by former Foreign Minister Flora MacDonald. Two months ago, members of a delegation she headed to the Soviet Union were beaten by K GB agents as they attempted to visit a Leningrad refusenik, the SSSJ reported.

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