NEW YORK (Oct. 30)
Morris Abram, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, told a synagogue audience that he was confident that negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union would eventually “win freedom for vast numbers of Soviet Jews who want to emigrate.”
Abram, who is also vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, addressed some 400 people in Temple Israel Center in White Plains in Westchester last Sunday at a program preceding groundbreaking cermonies for a $2 million expansion and renovation of the Temple. The audience included Westchester religious leaders and government officials.
Abram described the present century as the “most fateful period of Jewish history,” citing the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel and the flowering of the diaspora, particularly in the United States.
“This generation, ” he said, “is witnessing the imprisonment of more than two million Jews who could now live Jewishly if they were permitted to leave the Soviet Union. Having failed to save the millions who perished in the Holocaust, will we be able to rescue those Soviet Jews, who make up one-fifth of our people?”
Abram answered his own question by declaring: “We will win, because our country has made the freeing of Soviet Jewry a major cause, and in future negotiations the Soviet leadership will come to realize it is in their best interest to allow the Jews to leave.” Rabbi Joel Geffen, consultant on field activities and community education to the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, paid tribute to the 1,000-member congregation and its leaders for their “long history of outstanding achievements” within Judaism’s Conservative movement and the Temple’s “pioneering contributions” in the field of Jewish education.
The expansion of Temple Israel Center, built on its present site in 1948 as the congregation’s second home — its first building was dedicated in 1911 — is expected to begin in January, it was announced by Michael Rozen, president of the Temple. Rabbi Arnold Turetsky is the spiritual leader of the congregation, which was founded in 1907. Irving Schaffer was the chariman of the two-year, $2 million fund drive that was conducted among the congregants.