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September 23, 1960 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1960-09-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

`Whispers,' Stolen Glances' Characterize Jewish Life in Soviet Union

many of them were literally playground one lunch hour. I duced me. We carried on a very
reduced
to tears because of a had been shown, around the general conversation until one
By MICHAEL SHASHAR
Editor's Note: The writer of this article is a student of the song they did not know about school by the headmaster, a 15-year-old blue-eyed-blond girl
Hebrew University in Jerusalem who visited Soviet Russia with a world gone by they had never capable and well-read man who asked, "Why is your skull cap
two other Israeli students. They wore white-blue skull caps seen? Miss Lipshitz sang 'Mein was obviously proud of his large white? My grandfather always
during their trip, attracting attention of many Jews in various Shtetele Belz" with great re- institution attended by over a wore a black one." I had not
straint and beauty to an ac- thousand teenaged pupils. The guessed that there was a Jew-
Soviet cities.
rang and the youngsters ess in the group. After explain-
* * *
some lo cal landmarks," he companiment of sobs, which bell
ing that many people in Israel
Russia is a vast and bewilder- began. "You see .hat church rose from the stalls to the ran to their lunch, some to the wore
white ones, she remarked,
expansive dining hall, others
ing country. During the three spire," and in a hushed voice, gallery.
"Jerusalem
must look very
into
the
playground
to
eat
their
Then
there
was
the
incident
weeks that my two colleagues "don't say too much in front of
lovely
with
all
those white skull
sandwiches.
I
watched
these
in
Kharkow,
a
different
story
and I spent in the USSR, we them . . . It was built by the
with the same moral. We en- boys and girls, the future citi- caps." I smiled and to my sur-
saw many contrasting and often Czar Nicholas."
tered a large music shop in zens of this great country and prise so did the headmaster.
contradictory things which
It was only a matter of time
We bade each other good-by
made it impossible to draw before the third visitor found the center of the town in they looked to me no different and the headmaster took my
from
youngsters
of
a
simliar
search
of
popular
Russian
f i n a l conclusive judgments. his opporthnity to warn us of
hand with the words: "Who
However, certain aspects of the unreliability of his col- records. We stood by the age in any other European knows, I might be there one
life, especially Jewish life, leagues asking at the same time counter listening to the Mos- state. The headmaster called a day."
seemed to stand out so starkly if we could spare a Jewish cow Choir when a man came few of them over and intro-
that it was impossible to dis- calendar. His only proviso was up from behind and whis-
miss them as mere accidents. that the others should not know. pered, "Buy Yiddish records;
they're no good but buy
It was impossible, for in-
In another Jewish home in
them." We turned around and
stance, to ignore the open and
MORRIS, EMMA AND ISAAC
genuine fear displayed by the Moscow, our host was a _saw a nondescript looking
man in his forties who an-
vast majority of Jews with widower, a man in his forties,
swered our smile with a blank
SCHAVER
whom we attempted to make who caught us in Red Square
stare. We asked the salesgirl
contact. Only a very few al- and pushed a note into my
to show us a selection o
lowed themselves to become in- hand: "Please come and visit
Yiddish records and it
volved in discussions, and even me at the above address, I
tend heartiest wishes for a
ather
obvious from .he
then, one could not help per- have nothing left to lose."
one
We accepted the invitation startled look that
ceiving the whispered tone of
r a
voice and the stolen glance over and the man's joy on our ar- made such a r
rival was overwhelming. We long time.
the shoulder.
ople came up
One by on
We were left with the im- were embraced, made to sit
their eyes glued
pression that no one felt secure down, and were then enjoined to the coun
in our presence, not even those to tell him of our lives back to the rev F g disk. I glance
e window and sa
who congregate in the syna- home. He stared hard at the through
th
owd gathered
gogues. The i n f or m e r was Israeli cigarette I gave him small
all their friends and all Chaverim of the
1 d-
t
e n t arou
- but r e f u s e d to smoke it. pay
everywhere.
ld
abor Zionist Movement throughout the
This was probably our most Eventually he opened a drawer spea r. The wor
ye
profound shock: The realiza- and extracted a bottle hidden Yid sh songs se
world. May the coming year see the con-
tion that Jew informed upon beneath towels and sheets. It str k a familiar c d ithin
w in the
Jew. Many people refrained had a familiar laber, "Carmel the cart of ever
summation of everlasting world-wide peace.
ow recor
from reciting the prayer Wine from Rishon le Zion, vic *ty of the K
who
The
stran
Israel."
"This,"
he
proudly
ex-
sho
"Next year in Jerusalem" for
ds
fear of being accused of plained, "has been in my pos- urge s to buy Yiddish r
very
ct. They wer
treason. We spoke to men session for five years. Now for was c
quality
who had spent 10 and 15 the first time I have found a good
IP
e measured
which was
years in Siberia in payment fitting occasion to open . it."
Many Russian Jews have by the usual criteria.
for the crime of possessing
Detroit, Michigan
If there was need for further
relatives in Israel but few
a Hebrew newspaper.
confirmation
of
this
irrepressi-
This is why Russian Jews correspond with them for ble truth I found it in a school
prefer to keep silent when con- fear of the consequences. We
confronted with strangers, es- returned to Israel with many a
pecially if they happen to come scribbled note, some in Russian,
from Israel. But they stare, oh some in Yiddish and others in
how they stare, in a manner Hebrew, giving names and - ad-
which leaves nothing unsaid. dresses of parents, brothers,
On countless occasions, strang- sisters and children now resid-
ers brush e d past us in the ing in Israel. These notes were
street, in the hotel lobby or never written publicly; they
theater foyer with a whispered were placed into our hands or
"Shalom," or "God bless you," pockets.
* * *
of the
or "Don't forget us," or a
his six-
One
bearded
man
snatched verse from the Bible.
is d
On one occasion in Kiev, we ties swore to me th
Jew.
r
managed to obtain an invitation ter would not •
imed, "so
to the home of a Jewish pro- "What for," he
ildren will
fessional man. We sat down to that my gra
tea and were joined by two curse the day ey were born?"
rcumcision has
other local residents, also Jews. Then agai
e xception rather
After having had our tea, become
of Toronto, Canada
two of the men asked to be ex- than th rule because of the
cused, one to make a phone stigma tached to it, one th
call, the other to post a letter. can n er be eradicated.
The moment they were gone the
Fe of the youth know
ew
third, our host, whispered, "Be to re
from a H
n, a de-
careful of those other two. Have book nd, as on
you got a prayer bOok to give voutl
Orthodox pe on, ex-
to me: f I t ch my
me?"
plain
The others soon returned son
e Shema I can e ac-
and a general conversation en- reste or having indo ct
is
eligious educati
sued during the course of which him."
I was drawn to the window by illegal
Russia until a p son
the man who had made the has reac
his 18th year.
mains that while
phone call. "Let me show you
The fac
S oads have
assimilatory
• 1 to
been made, t
Industrial Growth
the periphery.
core, call it the is Jewish
consciousness, is proving to
be indestructible.
How otherwise can one ex-
plain the scenes I witnessed at
the Yiddish concert in Moscow?
The hall. was packed to the last
seat. Young. and old had turned
out to hear Nehama Lipshitz
sing the old favorites. It was
an exceptional cultural event,
permitted by the authorities in
commemoration of the Shalom
Aleichem centenary celebra-
tions.
The young people did not
understand a word of the Yid-
Toronto, Canada
dish lyrics. Throughout the
singing one could hear a hushed
undertone of voices; the parents
were explaining the words to
immigrant
A young immigrant
fits their children. I could under-
_
why the older people
----
:eyed when "Der Shabbos

(Copyright, 1960, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Inc.)

ppy new ear

Central Overa Supply Co.

The Detroit Center Agency

WN LIFE INSURANCE CO.

Its Officers and Agents

d Their Sincerest Wishes for a Year of

ith and Happiness to the Entire Community

Detroit Center Agency;
CROWN
LIFE INSURANCE CO.

-

1172 FIPATIONAL UILDING

couninsui ;mode

was sung

BAG

rt E .

tha t

so

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