THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 43
Chapter 1: Soviet Jewry: I Am My Brother’s Keeper
 
 
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Soviet Jewry 43

bhave been for Soviet Jewry to know that Hyman was alive band well and cared about them. But until that moment in btime, January 25, 1971—some fifty-four years after the bSoviet Jewish ordeal began—no Russian Jew had known of bMr. Hyman because the Hymans of the world were dead band buried in the mausoleums known as Temple Sinai.

bIt was not Mr. Hyman’s weight that had been felt, but the b“wild” weight of the militants who were the ones responsible bfor making Mr. Hyman weight conscious, the ones to get the bChicago area synagogues to suddenly remember their bJewishness (after more than half a century, signs suddenly bsprouted in front of all Chicago synagogues, reading “Let bMy People Go”) and who got the B’nai B’rith to put up a blarge sign. on its Madison Avenue headquarters that read b“Save Soviet Jewry.” Indeed, JDL achievements appeared bdaily to be more and more supernatural, for as all over bAmerica groups, synagogues, and individuals began par- bticipating in the Soviet struggle, how many mortals could bboast of awakening the dead? We could only hope that Mr. bHyman would appreciate the fact of his ressurection and at bKennilworth loudly emphasize that passage in the daily bservice that reads “Blessed art thou, O L-rd, who revivest the bdead . . . ” That aspect of the Soviet Jewish question was bundoubtedly the greatest success of the JDL.

bIn any event, my own definitive statement on the attacks bof the frightened Respectables was given on January 13 bwhen I spoke to the press, which had sought my feelings babout the attacks by Jewish leaders (whom they consistently bequated with the “Jewish community”). I said:

b“They are not relevant; they don’t count. They are wor- bried about how it will affect them personally, not about the bJews of the Soviet Union. The heads of some Jewish organi- bzations will attack us but they don’t speak for Jews.”

bOn January 19, with the thunder booming and lightning bcrackling about us, with the world in an uproar over the bSoviet Jewish issue and Washington making frantic efforts bto convince the Russians to ease their emigration policy, we bannounced an “indefinite moratorium” on the harassment bcampaign. The Soviets jeered at the statement as TASS, in a b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 43
Chapter 1: Soviet Jewry: I Am My Brother’s Keeper