NEW YORK (Oct. 22)
Mrs. Max Schenk, president of Hadassah, criticized the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry today as being intransigent-misguided and immature. In an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the head of the Women’s Zionist Organization of America expressed outrage at the SSSJ’s “storming the building” yesterday to “tell us what to do” about the plight of Soviet Jewry. “They are very young kids with very decent and honorable intentions, but a little misguided.” she declared, adding: “Certainly youth isn’t going to tell us what to do. I don’t have to prove Hadassah’s interests in all matters that concern world Jewry.” Glenn Richter, New York coordinator for the SSSJ, acknowledged to the JTA that a dozen members insisted on meetings without appointments. In separate meetings they presented their case for increased Hadassah activity on Soviet Jewry to Mrs. Rose Matzkin, head of the Zionist Affairs Committee, and to Mrs. Schenk. Mr. Richter said the students presented “suggestions.” not “demands,” similar to those presented June 26 to B’nai B’rith, which called the police to evict the SSSJers. The “suggestions” were for an “internal committee to insure massive attendance at rallies”; the allotment of “meaningful funds” to the American and New York Jewish Conferences on Soviet Jewry, of which Hadassah is a charter member; the regular distribution of “Soviet Jewry action programs” to local Hadassah chapters, and the appointment of a full time administrator for Soviet Jewry problems.
Mr. Richter said that although Hadassah had done “a little bit more” about the problem than other Jewish organizations, it could do much more. He said the meetings were “at times a bit tense.” Mrs. Schenk, noting that her policy is not to call the police in such situations, told the JTA that Hadassah does have an internal committee that deals in part with Soviet Jewry, and that it is headed by a full-time professional, Miriam Taub. The Hadassah president said she resented the students’ demanding of her, “What are you doing? Did you march” She said she replied: “I don’t have to account to you for what Hadassah does. We don’t take direction from you. You as youth have no right to come and see us. You should be involved, but work through the organized channels. There are conventional ways of doing it.” But Mrs. Schenk said she would be willing to meet again with the students on the recommendation of Rabbi Herschel Schacter, chairman of the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry. “We are constantly in touch with Rabbi Schacter.” she added. Mrs. Schenk said the SSSJ members acted as if “Soviet Jewry is going to the gas chamber because of Hadassah.”