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Services Will Not Be Disrupted Again

April 8, 1975
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Soviet authorities have given assurances that there will be no repetition of the March 29 incident when police invaded Moscow’s central synagogue and drove out Sabbath-Passover worshippers. It was reported today. Rabbi Arthur Schneier, of the Park East Synagogue here, president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, said he learned of the pledge yesterday in a telephone call from Moshe Tandeitnic, president of the Moscow synagogue, who spoke on behalf of himself and Moscow Chief Rabbi Jacob Fishman.

They stated, Rabbi Schneier reported, that “the Soviet authorities reaffirmed the inviolate status of the synagogue and that police have no right to enter the synagogue at any time now or in the future.” Ephraim Kaplun, past president of the Moscow synagogue, confirmed that statement in a subsequent telephone call to Rabbi Schneier, the rabbi reported.

The police invasion of the synagogue and dispersion of worshippers during services outraged world opinion. The Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an inter-faith organization comprised of Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Greek Orthodox leaders, sent a delegation to lodge a protest with the Soviet Embassy in Washington on March 31.

At the same time, they dispatched a cable to Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin stating that “Freedom of worship is guaranteed by the Soviet Constitution and therefore we appeal to you for assurance that there will be no further incidents of this kind.” The cable was signed by Rev. Donald R. Campion, editor of the Jesuit weekly “America”; Rev. Dr. David H.C. Read, senior minister of the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church; and Rabbi Schneier.

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