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250 Christians in Easter Sunday Solidarity Vigil for Soviet Jews

April 16, 1974
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Approximately 250 Christians representing the “Downtown cluster of congregations.” here participated yesterday in the daily vigil for Soviet Jews opposite the Soviet Embassy. The Easter Sunday demonstration of solidarity was described by one of its organizers, the Rev. John Steinbruck of the Luther Place Lutheran Memorial Church, as being a “natural occasion” on Easter Sunday. He noted that the solidarity demonstration contrasted with the usage of the holiday in the past when “Easter was a liturgical launching pad for pogroms and persecutions and as such became a terrible distortion and misrepresentation of what Easter should be about.”

The representation in the demonstration typified Washington’s population which is almost 75 percent Black. Mrs. Eloise Jones, chairperson of the cluster; Dr. Robert Pruitt, pastor of the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church Keith Martin, the urban community relations advisor at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church; and the Rev. Steinbruck sought to present letters protesting Soviet treatment of Jews and palms which the participants carried during the vigil to the Soviet Embassy officials. However, two Embassy representatives rejected the letter and the palms.

A telegram of support for the participation in the vigil was received by the demonstrators from Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D.Wash.). The suggestion for yesterday’s vigil was proposed two months ago by the Rev. Steinbruck as a program to be called “Exodus 1974.”

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