Page 54 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 40

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
G eorgian families. By clearly a ffix in g their names and add re s se s ,
the signatories hoped to en courage others to overcome their fea r
and to identify as Jew s .7
Acknow ledging the important in form ational role that sam izdat
should play in the aliya strugg le , the All-Union Coord in a t ing
Committee (form ed in August 1969) decided to cooperate on an
intercity basis and publish their own jo u rn a l called I ton (Hebrew
for new spaper) .Iton alef app ea red in February 1970 a n d Iton bet in
May o f that year. A third issue was confiscated before publication .
T rial p roceed ings against Jew ish activists in various cities su gge st
that the jou rn a l was distributed widely. T ran s la ted articles were
in the majority; they concentrated more on modern Israe l than
on Soviet Jew ish life. Original ones were unsigned , perh ap s from
fear o f reprisals. Th e se stressed Jew ish nationhood ; one elevates
Pesah above Purim because it commemorates the fact that the
Jew s, led by Moses, directed their own strugg le fo r freedom .
Another, which quotes from B. Marks’ book The Uprising in the
Warsaw Ghetto, emphasizes not the tragedy o f the destruction but
the lesson derived from it: Jew s must live in their own country.
Iton bet included a selection o f petitions and appea ls which had
been circulating separately. T h e anonymous introduction d e ­
clares emphatically that passive discontent is no longer sufficient.
“Th e time has come to speak and dem and . T o dem and what
Moses in the name o f God dem anded o f Pharaoh, ‘Let my peop le
go . ’ ”*
Other documen tary collections o f Jew ish sam izdat, p rep a red in
Moscow, included fou r issues o f Exodus (Iskhod) in 1970-71 , three
issues o f Herald of Exodus (Vestnik ishkoda) in 1971-72, and two o f
White Paper of Exodus (Belaia kniga ishkoda) in 1972. T h e se collec­
tions deal exclusively with the strugg le to leave the U S SR for
Israel. Th e influence o f the Russian democratic dissident move­
ment, in which many Jew s had originally participated, was re ­
7 Several volumes o f these documents have been published by the Center for the
Documentation o f East European Jewry o f the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Some letters in English translation are collected in Redemption! Redemption!
Redemption! Jewish Freedom Lettersfrom Russia, New York, 1970. See also: A Hero
for Our Time: The Trial and Fate ofBoris Kochubiyevsky, ed. M. Decter, New York,
1970.
8 Iton alef and bet appear in the series Evreiskii samizdat, vol. 1, 1974, published by
the Center for the Documentation o f East European Jewry o f the Hebrew
University. Excerpts appeared in English translation in the journal Jews in
Eastern Europe, November, 1971.