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Personnel in the British Isles, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Libya, Berlin and Wiesbaden, Germany. For his distinguished service as a Jewish Chaplain, Rabbi Elovitz was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal. As a Chaplain, the Rabbi served as a faculty member on the U.S. Army/Air Force Torah Convocation Staff and received special commendation for his exemplary pedagogic skill.

Rabbi Elovitz is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and has achieved numerous other academic distinctions. included among which are: The N.Y.U. Jane Fischel Memorial Prize, N.Y.L'. Founders Day Award. University of Pittsburgh Scholars Day Award; he was also an awardee designate of the coveted National Defense Graduate Title VI Fellowship.

Since 1966 Rabbi Elovitz has published more than forty critical essays, book reviews and articles in numerous national scholarly and popular periodicals among which are: Judaism, Christian Century, Reconstructionist, Conservative Judaism, Jewish Spectator, Tradition, Congress Weekly, National Jewish Monthly, Jewish Digest, Jewish Heritage, Torch, Your Child. Hadassah Magazine, Woman's League Outlook, United Synagogue Review, Southern Israelite and others. He is currently a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Your Child magazine and is a book review columnist for the National Jewish Book Council's “In Jewish Bookland."

Rabbi Elovitz is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly of America, the Verr York Board of Rabbis, the Academy of Religion and Mental Health and the Association of Jewish Chaplains of the Armed Forces. The Rabbi, who is also a member of the National Rabbinic ORT Cabinet, has lectured widely and is recommended by the National Jewish Welfare Board Lecture Bureau.

From 1967-1969 Rabbi Elovitz served as Associate Rabbi to Dr. E. T. Sandrow of Temple Beth El, Cedarhurst, one of the leading Conservative congregations in the United States. The Rabbi has also served ('ongregation Beth El of Fairfield, Connecticut and is currently spiritual leader of Temple Beth F\, Birmingham, Alabama.

Rabbi Elovitz is married and has two children.

Mr. ROSENTHAL. Rabbi, let me say this: First, you are accompanied by a very distinglished Member of Congrses, and of this subcommittee. He is a man for whom we have a great respect and admiration. He brings great spiritual balance to this committee and to the Congress. He is in my judgment one of the most outstanding Members of Congress. So to be in his company is a great credit to you and brings credit to the city of Birmingham.

I do want to say we welcome you to Washington.

Rabbi Elovitz. Thank you very much. I am appreciative both to yourself and to Mr. Buchanan for having me. Of course we in Birmingham recognize the excellence and superior contributions to this Congress by Mr. Buchanan. We continue to hope to return him to this august body for many years to come.

My initial gut response to the invitation to appear before you was simply to offer a plaintive plea and to cry out, “Let my people go.' That would be simplistic. While repatriation is something important, we recognize that the vast majority of Jews in Russia never will leave. So, too, it would be naive for me to assume that the floodgates will simply open. It would be equally naive for me to assume that the members of your distinguished committee have not done their homework and don't know all the facts of the obvious deprivations and degradations that the Jewish community of Russia has undergone. So, rather than focus upon those points I thought it might be worthwhile if we could place these tribulations in a proper perspective. It is very easy to cite facts, but to understand and interpret the facts is indeed something else.



We rather expect Jews of the Metropolitan Now York area with their proximity to the mass media, to the Soviet Consulate, to all that is going on, to be rather aware and concerned with these problems. Yet I would ask, and we might all well query what do Jews deep in the heart of Dixie think? Are these people so removed from the socalled eastern establishment that they are unaware, or are they equally attuned? How do they respond to this issue ? Even perhaps more significant than asking are Southern Jews in general interested, how do our teenagers react? You know teenagers in America are a source of significant concern. If we could put our finger on how they relate to this problem we might have some beginning to an answer.

Obviously, youth is rebellious. I think if you look at the youth you find that their rebellion is essentially in the request of the core humanitarian principles that we in the U.S.A. know as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. More than anything else, our youth are able to see behind facade, behind propaganda, behind sham and behind hypocrisy. While teenagers and youth are rebellious they more often than adults see that the so-called democratic freedoms of the Russian constitution are not really thus at all.

The Jews of Birmingham, particularly our youth, are very much aware not as specifics, we don't educate them in the facts, for example, that no Jewish bible has been published in the Soviet Union since 1917. But they are very much aware when Moscow has a demonstration at Simhath Torah, the celebration after the Jewish New Year, when thousands upon thousands of Jewish youth appear in the streets, that this is not because they have all their freedoms.

These specific instances of the facts that, for example, 10 years ago there were approximately 500 synagogues in Russia and now there is only a pitiful handful to remind students that what they have in Birmingham is not at all similar to what they have in the Soviet Union.


Let me perhaps contrast and compare what we have in a small southern Jewish community of America with what we have in one of the largest Jewish communities in the world in Russia. Our 3,500 Jews of Birmingham have four rabbis. Yet for the 3 million Jews in all of Russia there are rarely more than several times that. Our Jewish teenagers of Birmingham have so many textbooks that they can't even begin to study all the courses. Yet the Jews of Russia do not even have a single Hebrew or Yiddish publishing house.

The Jewish community of my sister synagogue in Birmingham recently had the need for an additional rabbi. So they very easily contacted one of our seminaries in the United States and said we need a young, vibrant, dynamic rabbi. The young rabbi was sent and he now ministers.

This is in stark contrast to the fact that there is only one seminary in the entirety of Russia for Jews, and there is certainly no such thing as a young rabbi. If you look at them they rather mirror the stereotype of a rabbi being old and having a beard. People look at me and say, “Are you a rabbi?” Of course, rabbis begin at all ages. They hopefully outgrow their youth. In Russia they don't let young ones even begin. Our teenagers are very much aware of this type of preordained strangulation of rabbinic life in Russia.

The past high holidays I somewhat chastised our Jewish teenagers and adults for having too many Jewish organizations in Birmingham. In Russia they are not even allowed to organize. Again, that is a rather stark contrast. In Birmingham, we have the ability to have a synagogue federation, youth federation, to meet, to go out to different cities. Yet in Russia the exact opposite is true, they are expressly forbidden to engage in these religious activities.

One of the things that is perhaps most obvious to us in Birmingham is the fact that we have three Jewish cemeteries. When someone of our community dies we take them with the proper dignity to be accorded the dead, who obviously can cause no trouble to anyone, and bury them in a cemetery. Yet in Russia the exact opposite is true. Russia continues to close its Jewish cemeteries and has refused to grant licenses for new cemeteries. Our youth become very aware of the question, “What manner of government refuses to grant dignity even in death ? How can a dead person cause difficulty to a government which is supposedly very much alive and dynamic ?”


Then finally more than a score of our Jewish teenagers in Birmingham, depart our great country of America each year and visit Israel to study, to grow, to mature, and to develop as just and as human beings. Yet precisely the opposite again is true in Russia. No youth, nor adult, for that matter is permitted purely for the sake of visitation, study, growth and maturity, to leave Russia, be it to Israel or any other non-Russian satellite country, for the purpose of developing as a human being.

Mr. F. Lee Bailey made reference to the fact that Jews, given the situation as existing, would soon disappear. I respectfully must disagree with him. Jews have existed for 3,500 years or more in the face of persecution, perhaps sometimes in spite of persecution. Yet they have refused to conform, refused to give up their individuality and independence. I think this is something that the Soviet Union might well contemplate. Although they obviously are able to think sometimes they are simply unable to see the forest for the trees.

Xo given group, especially not the Jews, can assimilate under conditions which are intolerable. It is worth noting that assimilation can happen only under conditions of tolerance. The Jews particularly have refused to assimilate at any time in history when there has been a question of pain, deprivation, and despair. Russia might well note that the exact opposite has traditionally happened in Jewish circles. When Jews have been deprived and denigrated their natural reaction is to develop feelings of revulsion and hostility. Those dormant values and subsurface dormant attitudes which had not caused any difliculties then begin to rise up and flare up in the minds of those who are now oppressed.

Instead of achieving their aims the Russian Government is achieving exactly the opposite. The Jewish community is now up in arms not only in Russia but across the four corners of the world.

There is a notable scenario entitled "Trialogue on the Destruction of the Jews." It tells about the three antisemites of history, Balaam, prophet of the Bible who cursed the Jews: Pharaoh who enslaved the Jews, and Hitler who attempted to destroy the Jews. They are having a discussion in hell and are overheard saying: How is it we all failed to destroy the Jews?

Balaam tried to curse them and failed; Pharaoh made them build pyramids and they managed to survive them. Hitler attempted to destroy them and yet the Jews are back and very much alive, not only in Germany but all over Europe and the world.

Finally the wise Balaam says to Hitler and to Pharaoh :

You know, we used the wrong tactics. If we want the Jews to disappear or at least to let us alone we ought to let them alone, the only way we can come to grips with the Jewish problem is to allow them to be Jews, then they will be good citizens of whatever country in which they exist.


We have a phrase in Judaism to the effect that when a Jew lives in any nation he is bound and obligated by Jewish law to observe the law of the country in which he is a citizen. Jews have always been good citizens of their country so long as they have been permitted to live freely as human beings in that country.

So in short, I would say Russian policy toward the Jews has been eminently myopic. They don't wish to see that the best way to deal with the Jews is to give the Jews the proper liberties which they are now being denied.

It would seem very obvious that if Russia would have granted to those Jews who wanted to leave the ability to leave and to all others their rights to live and to practice their religion, then there would be no demonstrations in the United States by the growing number of groups, Jewish and gentile, opposed to what is happening, there would have been no protestations as transpired recently in Canada and France when the Russian heads of state visited there.

There would be no resolution before this committee if Russia would simply let Jews be Jews. This is not a new policy that Russia has developed. Back in 1881 Czar Alexander III, activated by his tutor, Pobiedonastzev, developed a program in which one-third of the Jews of that community were asked to leave, a third to assimilate and a third were to be destroyed. Strangely, 3 million Jews still abound in Russia but Alexander is dead. The Jews managed to continue to exist; they will continue to do so.


So, having told you this, having attempted to focus on the contrast of Jewish life in one southern city as opposed to Russia, let me suggest several other considerations. The first of these being that public demonstrations do affect the Soviet Government. Mr. Bailey cited one with the cancellation of continued trials against Jews in Russia. There was a rather significantly ugly booklet published in the Soviet Union called “Judaism Without Embellishment,” which appeared on the scene, was met by massive protests of the entire Jewish community of

the world and which was recalled by the Soviet press. We have seen over the course of the years that Russia is very much concerned and sensitive to world opinion. Something else of note has developed in the world which deserves our attention: Communist parties in other nations of the world such as France, Italy, and elsewhere, are now striving to develop a sort of sociohumanitarian appeal in an attempt to regain an aura of having something to say about social justice. They

now very much are prepared to differ with the Soviet Union. This is I one area wherein they might be encouraged to express their differences with the Soviet Union. It is good to be for justice.

It is very easy to ask for justice for the Jews who comprise only 1 percent of the Russian community. It would be very good public relations for Russia not to eat crow but, exactly the opposite, to demonstrate that they are really democratic by simply saying: “Yes, we are going to grant justice to our Jewish population.”

Now that sounds naive. On the other hand, Russia is more obviously motivated not by moral considerations. We can't say do this because it is right or just, but rather because it is in their interest regarding practical political considerations. If we present it in this manner, that it would be good politics on the world scene to grant Jewish rights, then the means would justify the ends which would be the freedom for those Jews.


I have several proposals which I would like to present before your body today. The first does not deal with the question of repatriation of Jews to Israel simply because I believe of the 3 million the vast majority cannot leave. Just as so many Jews under Hitler found it difficult to leave for psychological, emotional reasons, that is very probably true of many Jews in Russia. What I would propose is the establishment of a Russo-Jewish, American-Jewish cultural exchange program, without any problems of saving face, it could be established in a program of the United States through the Government of our country with the cooperation of our Jewish organizations and seminaries which would be prepared to send teachers, rabbis, individuals who could lend to the spiritual and cultural growth of the Soviet Union. Russia could accept these people as emissaries from the United States as in any good cultural exchange program.

In return we would be prepared in the United States, I am certain, both our seminaries and our organizations, to accept numbers of Russian Jews here for training, culturally and spiritually, not in any realm of politics. This in its details could be planned and developed without any great deal of difficulty.

There are those who might respond and say the Russians already allow certain numbers of Jews to leave Russia proper and go to Hungary or Rumania to a seminary to study. We obviously know that ends up in a Hebraically trained KGB agent. That is not what we are interested in. We want individuals trained in Judaism and Jewish culture, who are able to foster the entire spectrum of Jewish civilization and way of life.

As a second aspect of the proposal I would suggest that we in the form of a resolution urge the development of the synagogue in Russia.

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