NEW YORK (Jan. 15)
The National Conference on Soviet Jewry today expressed its gratification that Elya Essas, a long-term refusenik and religious activist, was officially notified to report to appropriate authorities to begin processing for departure to Israel. According to the NCSJ, “rumors have circulated for months about such a possibility and considerable concern had developed. While a campaign for the Essas family has been underway for years, it is believed that the final decision to allow the Essas family to leave reflects the intervention of Edgar Bronfman,” the president of the World Jewish Congress. He and his associates had intervened on behalf of Essas and others when in the Soviet Union. Essas was involved in teaching Hebrew and Judaic studies during his years as a refusenik. His parents emigrated to Israel in February 1976.