Monday, February 18, 2008

Betar Youth Deliver....

In 1964 (?) we organized a peulah for Soviet Jewry. We assembled at the Isiah Wall and delivered "Freedom Packages" to Missions of the United Nations. To quote the newspaper article...

"100 Passover 'Freedom' packages containing matzah, wine, and hagadas were delivered on April 14th to missions of the United Nations by the members of Betar Brit Trumpeldor Jewish Youth Movement. The contents of the 'Freedom' packages were symbolic of Passover, the holiday of Freedom, Matzah - the unleavened bread of affliction, wine - the sacramental wine used at the seder (Passover meals), and the hagadot - story of the deliverance from slavery. Contained in each package was also a copy of a letter to the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of the United nations - calling upon him to attempt to bring equal rights to the three and a half million Jews in the Soviet Union.

....The letter also emphasized that Jewish Youth were not given the natural right to pursue their own spiritual and intellectual commitment, and have also been deprived of the right to participate, with their counterparts the world over, in matters of common national interest. The Betar urged the Commission to implement Article 13 paragraph 2 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that: 'Everyone has the right to leave any country and to return to his country.'

Copies of the letter were carried by special Betar delegations to the missions of the United Nations....."

If I remember correctly, Reuven Genn was the driving force behind this peulah. The picture in the paper includes the following Betarim: Aaron Kinsberg, Chuck Waxman, Danny Epstein, Tzvi Briks (?), Risa Rich (?), George Feldman and some others I do not remember (I definitely need a scanner!!)

Every mission we went to received us cordially. Does anyone else remember this action?


Anonymous said...

Unless this is a different time, I remember it. It couldn't have been 1964 because I was not yet in Betar. It had to be 1965 or more likely Pesach 1966.

Yes! You need a scanner!

YMedad said...

But there was a similar activity which maybe some Betarim were involved in two years earlier led by Bernie Keback. Dumping boxes of Matzot at the Russian Delegation offices.

YMedad said...

I now found this:

April 13, 1962

New York Students Demonstrate Against Soviet Ban on Matzoh

NEW YORK, Apr. 12 (JTA) –
Several hundred students from a majority of New York City college campuses marched silently in front of the Soviet Mission in the United Nations in protest against the ban on matzoh baking by Soviet authorities for this Passover.

The marchers carried a variety of banners protesting the ban. They were under instructions not to speak or demonstrate in any way and the schedule called for them to march back and forth in front of the mission for two hours.

In a statement issued prior to the march, the sponsors asserted that the ban was "the culmination of five years of gradual encroachment on this key aspect of Judaism" and that the ban was "part of a larger official attempt to destroy the bond between Soviet Jewry and the traditional roots of Judaism which have a national historical significance."

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