Thousands of black balloons bearing the message “Free Soviet Jewry” and a night-time candlelight vigil greeted the Moscow Circus as it opened here tonight at the Spectrum. For the next three days, until the circus closes Sunday night, vigils, education campaigns and pleas for boycotting the Soviet show will be part of a joint venture by local Jewish high school and college groups comprising the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, the Jewish Community Relations Council’s Youth Council and the Philadelphia Union of Jewish Students.
Sanford Solomon, JCRC Youth Council president, and Mike Masch, PUJS chairman. stated jointly, “We are not opposed to the visit of the Moscow Circus, and we are not opposed to cultural exchanges between the Soviet Union and this country. But we do oppose the continued oppression of Jewish culture in the Soviet Union, the denial of Jews to the right to emigrate, and their being imprisoned and harassed for attempting to exercise basic human rights.
Mark Levitt, SSSJ coordinator, stated that the Jews of this city “cannot keep faith with their brethren in the Soviet Union if they attend the circus. We have a more important job to do: protesting the ransom tax levied on Jews seeking to leave Russia and seeking amnesty for Jewish prisoners of conscience.
The objective of the week-end demonstrations, according to the youth leaders, is to convince Congress to deny most favored nation status to the USSR until the ransom tax is repealed, and to call attention to the plight of some 40 Jewish prisoners of conscience.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.