Pitzer College student David Straus will be honored on Nov. 11 at a special service for helping to secure the release from the Soviet Union of Benjamin Charny, a well-known mathematician and refusenik.
Straus will be guest speaker at the 8 p.m. service in the Valley Outreach Synagogue, 15339 Saticoy St., Van Nuys, where Rabbi Richard Schachet has written an original service for Soviet Jewry. There will be Hebrew, Yiddish and Russian music. Straus lives in Encino.
Last year Straus led a student movement at the Claremont Colleges to press for the release of Charny, who had been denied an exit visa from the Soviet Union since 1979. At the students' urging, Pitzer College offered a teaching position to Charny, who is now undergoing treatment for a heart condition and cancer in Boston. Charny has accepted the offer but has said he isn't sure when he can begin because of his health.
When he and his wife, Yadviga, arrived in the United States on July 16, their daughter, Anna Charny Blank, said Straus' efforts and the offer of a position at Pitzer helped get the Charnys' release and raised their morale.