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Major Groups Invite Moscow Chief Rabbi to Study Jewish Life Here, Meet Leaders

April 9, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Assurances were cabled today to Rabbi Yehuda Leib Levin of Moscow, that the major American Jewish organizations were ready to introduce him “to all the varied manifestations and institutions of American Jewish life and to the leadership of the American Jewish community” during his forthcoming visit here. Rabbi Levin is expected to arrive in this country within the next few weeks with a Soviet Jewish religious delegation, on the invitation of the American Council for Judaism, an anti-Zionist organization.

The cable, signed by Rabbi Jacob P. Rudin, chairman of the synagogue Council of America; Rabbi Herschel Schacter, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Jordan C. Band, chairman of the National Community Relations Advisory Council, was dispatched in the name of 25 national Jewish organizations, it reminded the Moscow rabbi that in the past several leading American Jewish organizations had invited him to come here. It pointed out that the three signatories were the coordinating agencies “for virtually every single Jewish organization.”

The three signatories to the cable said today that American Jews have repeatedly expressed the desire to have contact with Soviet Jewry hoping to establish “a genuine communication between the two largest Jewish populations in the world.” They voiced the hope that Rabbi Levin’s scheduled visit “may initiate a process that will lead to this kind of genuine and meaningful dialogue and relationships with Soviet Jews.”

They pointed out, however, that “there cannot be today any official representative of Soviet Jewry, since no religious or communal institutions exist in the Soviet Union whereby the Jews of that country could authorize such a visit.” They noted that all the recognized denominations in the Soviet Union, except the Jews, “are permitted some form of central structural organization for congregations and clergy.” The last semblance of a central coordinating structure, they said, was in 1926 when a conference of rabbis of the Soviet Union met for the last time. The three spokesmen for the Jewish community said that “we hope that the anticipated arrival of Rabbi Levin may signal a change in the Soviet Government’s policy of gradual attrition of Jewish life in the Soviet Union.”

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