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Involvement in the Soviet Jewry Movement by Louis Rosenblum
Face-to-Face with Visiting Soviet Cultural Groups
 

Face-to-Face with Visiting Soviet Cultural Groups

A membership base gave us the opportunity to consider ambitious new action projects. One such action involved touring Soviet cultural groups, such as ballet companies and orchestras. The idea was to present to the group a petition of concern for Soviet Jews, a petition addressed to the leaders of the Soviet Union.

We saw such an encounter having two major effects. First, a report of the encounter would assuredly get back to the Soviet government, via the KGB minders accompanying the group. Second, reports of the encounter in the local newspapers and on radio news would publicize the Soviet Jewry issue. As it evolved, the project involved a large number of both CCSA members and others. In front of the theater would be a few dozen of our people, who offered to the entering theatergoers printed piece, with a cover resembling a playbill. Inside was a concise summary of the situation of Soviet Jews and a copy of the petition to the Soviet government to be presented to the Soviet group that evening. Then, there was a delegation of six or seven that went backstage after the performance to present the petition. Of course, our public relations committee notified the press ahead of time of our plans. All in all, we received excellent media coverage and supportive editorials.

See the 1968 petition and audience handout. [pdf]

The first of these encounters on May 9, 1965, with the Moiseyev Folk Dancers, was an unqualified success. From then on, for a decade, this action was repeated with each visiting Soviet cultural group. In November 1969, the JCFC Community Relations Committee joined with us in an encounter with the Osipov Balalaika Orchestra and, in later years, the JCFC took on the organization and execution of the encounters. This was a success of another kind helping the Federation move to a greater level of involvement (particularly in those times, when staid organizations eschewed public demonstrations).

next >  Agreement Between the JCFC and the CCSA

 

2007 Louis Rosenblum

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