RYE, N.Y. (Jun. 13)
Two Reform Jewish leaders who recently returned from the Soviet Union have assailed as “a vicious lie” the claim by the government-sponsored “Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public” that Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union has stopped because all Jews seeking to leave have already done so.
Albert Vorspan, vice president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said in a report to the semiannual meeting of the board of trustees of the UAHC here that while increased anti-Jewish propaganda in the press and the formation of the Anti-Zionist Committee are ominous developments, it has failed to break the will of the Jewish refuseniks seeking to emigrate.
In their report to 150 board members, Vorspan and Saperstein said the all but complete closing of the gates of emigration has not dampened either the determination or the confidence of Soviet Jewish refuseniks that they will one day live in freedom. Said Vorspan: “The hunger for Jewish learning and Jewish identification has been strengthened under the impact of state-sponsored harassment and attempts to intimidate the Jewish community.”
‘POSITIVE ROLE’ BY U.S. EMBASSY
Saperstein said that U.S. Embassy personnel were playing a “positive role” in publicly identifying with Jews who congregate outside the main synagogue and by otherwise making their presence felt so that Soviet authorities are aware of our government’s concern with the fate of Soviet Jewry.
Following the presentation of the report, the UAHC board of trustees adopted a resolution pledging “intensified efforts” to “keep the spotlight of world attention on every violation by the Soviet Union of its international commitments to respect the basic human right of emigration.” The resolution also called on the Reagan Administration “to include the desperate plight of Soviet Jews on the agenda of any summit meeting with the USSR.”