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Special to JTA

December 14, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Looking happy but rather frightened at the size of the welcome accorded her, a shy Ruth Aleksandrovich Averbuch arrived last night at Kennedy International Airport to be engulfed by cheers and freedom chants from more than 100 well-wishers. They included rabbis, leaders and members of activist groups, teen-agers and two small girls bearing bouquets.

Mrs. Averbuch, the 24-year-old Riga nurse who recently migrated to Israel after serving a year in prison for alleged anti-Soviet activities, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that she had felt “anguish” and “sorrow” about leaving the Soviet Union, but that Israel was “wonderful.” She said that if free emigration were allowed, there would be a “chain reaction” and a “majority” of Jews would leave. Mrs. Averbuch accompanied by her mother, Mrs. Rivka Aleksandrovich, and her husband, Isaiah Averbuch, told a press conference at the airport that “being anti-Semitic is a state policy of Russia.”

The party then went to the International Synagogue on the airport grounds, operated by the New York Board of Rabbis. The chairman of the synagogue, Rabbi Saul Teplitz, called the trio “modern Maccabees” who “have given all of us strength and courage.” Rabbi Gilbert Klaperman, Chairman of the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry said: “We greet you with brotherly affection.” Rabbi Charles Sheer of Columbia University remarked: “I think it would be an understatement to say that this is a joyful occasion.” Rabbi Avraham Weiss read from a letter he had sent Mrs. Aleksandrovich in Israel two weeks ago but which had not yet arrived: “Our dream has come true, dear Rivka, Ruthie and Isay are free…Your happiness and exhilaration are our happiness and exhilaration… We shall not forget; we shall tell it all.”

Mrs. Aleksandrovich thanked those Americans who had worked for her daughter’s release: “I remember you not with my brain but with my heart,” adding: “But it is not yet enough. Our hearts are still broken. We simply cannot stop. Without exaggeration. Silva (Zalmanson) is dying in prison.” Averbuch joined in a rousing Russian dance with Rabbi Weiss as a hundred men, women and children-led by the band of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry-played “Am Yisroel Chai.” “Kachol Velavan,” the Soviet Jewry anthem, and Hatikvah.

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