The Pittsburgh Youth Council for Soviet Jewry was an ad-hoc student organization created to raise awareness of the persecution of Jews living in the Soviet Union.
Jewish youth groups in Pittsburgh were protesting the treatment of Soviet Jews as early as January 1967. The Pittsburgh Youth Council for Soviet Jewry emerged in late 1967 or early 1968 to better coordinate the work of these groups, including students from B’nei Akiva, Masada, United Synagogue Youth, Pennsylvania Federation of Temple Youth, B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, Young Judaea, Hillel Academy, and the Hebrew Institute. Each group submitted representatives to the larger council. The Jewish Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation sponsored the organization.
The first action of the Pittsburgh Youth Council for Soviet Jewry was a protest march on March 3, 1968. The march went from Congregation Beth Shalom to Rodef Shalom Congregation, culminating in a speech by Dr. Allan Pollock of the University of Pittsburgh. The council also collected several hundred signatures on a petition to be sent to “prominent Pennsylvania, United States, International, and Soviet leaders.”
The council also organized a “Youth Rally for Soviet Jewry” at the Irene Kaufmann Center in Squirrel Hill on Oct. 5, 1969, coinciding with the Simchat Torah holiday.