100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

June 19, 1964 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1964-06-19

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

Visitor to USSR Recalls Experiences Under Tzar in Pres ent Status Report "" i'm


\-2

By NORMAN S. FOX
Of the 600,000 Jews that live
now in Moscow, only about four
to five hundred attend the syna-
gogue. I was there on a Saturday
and was impressed with the old-
time orthodox services. The syna-
gogue was packed to capacity; the
balcony for women, however, was
practically empty, just a few at-
tended. They had a distinguished
looking rabbi and a good cantor.
They read from the scrolls and
called me to bless the Torah. Each
of the worshipers had a prayer
book in his hands and each wore a
"talith" (prayer shawl). Both, the
books and the taleitim, did not
seem to be very old, certainly not
40 or 50 years, dating back to the
time when such were permitted:
most of them were of recent pur-
chase. Western Jews bring these
as gifts to the congregation, when-
ever they visit the Soviet Union.
Although it is forbidden by the
government to bring into the coun-
try any kind of religious articles,
or religious books, the Soviet
Union seems to tolerate this ac-
tion, as long as these articles are
not used for commercial purposes.
There was something in the
Moscow synagogue which re-
minded me of the Jewish prayer
books of many years back, be-
fore the revolution. Every Jew-
ish prayer book of that time

* *** * *** * *** * *** * *** * **

LEWISTON
LODGE

IS DESIGNED FOR
YOUR VACATION
COMFORT

Rooms in the main lodge,

in individual log cabins

or our new redwood mo-

tel units all with com-

plete bath facilities.

Single, couples, families

or group facilities.

LEWISTON
LODGE

HAS:










A NEW RIVIERA CRUISER
WATER CYCLE
GOLF
SWIMMING
FISHING
TENNIS & VOLLEY BALL
HORSEBACK RIDING
AND MANY OTHERS

Relaxing is fun too and good
food helps. We're just 200
miles north of Detroit in the
healthy, pollen-free North
woods country.

ALL THAT'S LEFT
FOR YOU TO DO
IS THE DRIVING

LEWISTON
LODGE

FOR YOUR VACATION

Call Miss Carol for our reasonable

rates and reservations—EL 7-0761

*** ** ****** ** ****** ** *-k

contained a special prayer for
the Tzar, and it was recited
every Saturday in the synagogue
by the worshipers. Here, in this
synagogue too, I saw something
similar to the prayer for the
Tzar. On the wall, near the
Torah ark, there was an inscrib-
ed placard, printed in Russian, a
prayer for Khrushchev. Reading
this prayer, I laughed and won-
dered what Khrushchev might
say about it. Times never change
for our Orthodox Jews, God
bless them.
The synagogue Is a big structure
and an old one, left from the few
Jews who ever lived in Moscow
under the Tzar. These present
worshipers are not the descendants
of the old Moscow Jewish com-
munity; these orthodox Jews came
here after the revolution, when
the ban on residence for the Jews
was lifted. As in any other syna-
gogue in the various cities of the
Soviet Union, in the Moscow syna-
gogue, too, the ages of the wor-
shipers range from 60 years to
well over 70. The young genera-
tion, those who were educated in
the Soviet schools, have no con-
ception of religion and do not at-
tend the synagogue.
The cities of Kharkov and Kiev
never had many synagogues; they
were closed cities for Jews under
the Tzar and the Jewish popula-
tion there was very small. Now,
they have one synagogue in each
of these cities, each with fewer
worshipers than in Moscow.
When I attended school in
Kharkov, my uncle used to take
me to a synagogue which they
called "Kor-Shuh" It was some-
thing like a reform temple in the
U.S.A. It was a very beautiful
structure, outside and inside, lo-
cated in a very aristocratic sec-
tion of the city. It was very pain-
ful for me to look at this syna-
gogue now, empty and just fall-
ing apart, piece by piece, brick
by brick.
In the same condition was a
synagogue I went to see in Kiev.
The last time I was there, it was
on Yom Kippur in 1919. I re-
member now, that although the
synagogue was packed to capacity
then, the tension among the wor-
shipers was disturbing, too many
had been liquidated, being sus-
pected of counter-revolutionary
activities, by the then Soviet se-
curity police, the "Cheka." Almost
every family in the synagogue had
lost some of its members that way.
In both of these cities I visited
their open synagogues; one in each
city was open for services. The
attendance in each one of them
was very small, but there was no
indication of anti-Semitism being
the reason for it.
In Odessa, when I looked at
those closed synagogues, my heart
just sank within me. It was a tragic
experience, the synagogues in
ruins before my eyes.
The Broder synagogue where
the famous cantor Minkofsky of-
ficiated, the Big Beth Amedrosh
of the w ell-known cantor
Shsteinberg, the Shalashna syna-
gogue of the world-famous can-
tor Rasumni, all of these stay
closed and are gradually falling
apart. One can actually see big
chunks of stone and cement fall-
ing to the ground. In reference
to cantor Rasumni I would like
to mention, that there were ru-
mors after his death about his
vocal chords having been re-
moved and placed in a museum
in commemoration of his very
rare and excellent voice.
My mind went back to the time
when I was a student in Odessa,
for six or seven years. Of special
significance was my recollection
of the Jewish High Holidays, when
we Jewish students in our elegant
school uniforms, the girl students
in their uniforms of white starchy
pinafores over green dresses and
wide-brimmed straw hats, used to
congregate in the courtyards of
these synagogues and pass the
time in discussions and reminis-
cences. These memories of my
young student life so closely linked
with these synagogues, now in
ruins, affected me to such an ex-
tent that I felt as if these des-

tructed houses of God were my
personal tragedy, my personal
loss, an unforgivable insult to my
personal dignity.
I also visited in Odessa the
closed synagogue "Yavne." Of all
the closed synagogues in the Soviet
Union I had seen, "Yavne" seemed
to affect me the most. It played an
important part in my boyhood life.
It was here, in this synagogue,
where real Judaism actually took
its beginning for me; it was here
I first came in contact with out-
standing Jewish personalities and
Jewish idealists; it was here I first
learned to appreciate Hebrew and
Yiddish literature.
The "Yavne" was a very small
synagogue, in structure and in the
number of worshipers, but its con-
gregation was composed of all the
renowned Jewish scholars, intel-
lectuals, and writers of that per-
iod. Among the synagogue's wor-
shipers were men like the world-
famous Hebrew poet, Chaim Bia-
lik, Dr. Joseph Klausner, philoso-
pher Asher Ginsberg—known by
his pen name as "Mendele Mocher
Sforim"; Dr. Chaim Tchernowitz,
known by his pen name as "Ray
Tzohir"; Leib Borochov, Moishe
Levinsky, Mena lem Usishkin and
many other distinguished Jews of
that time. These men comprised
the cream of the Jewish intellec-
tuals of Eastern Europe, and their
contribution to Judaism is price-
less. We, the Jewish students
studying in the Russian schools of
Odessa, were frequent visitors to
this synagogue. We were under
the constant guidance and influ-
ence of these great men.
While I am on the subject of
the "Yavne" synagogue with its
worshipers of such distinction, I
cannot omit mentioning an in-
teresting incident between one
of its members and a representa-
tive of the English Common-
wealth in the old Russia. In
1919 when the Balfour declara-
tion for Palestine was announc-
ed, the Odessa Zionists staged a
parade. It was this worshiper of
the "Yavne" synagogue, the
world known Zionist Usishkin,
who persuaded the then English
Consul in Odessa to address the
paraders from his balcony.
I remember distinctly how the
Consul in his broken Russian told
the Jewish people of Odessa, that
the world Jewry should not doubt
the sincerity of the English govern-
ment; they will carry out the
terms of the Mandate over Pales-
tine to the fullest exent, in order
to secure a homeland for the Jews.
I remember the exact words when
he said: "Let the Jews of the
world take notice that this dec-
laration is not a 'piece of plain
paper,' it is an honorable docu-
ment and it will be fulfilled to
great satisfaction for the Jews."
I remember the smile on Usish-
kin's face, mild and happy, when
he shook hands with the Consul
on the balcony of the English con-
sulate. Many times throughout the
years, when England constantly
abused the terms of this sacred
document, such as the issue of the
white paper and many other in-
justices instituted against the
Jews of Palestine, I used to recall
the scene on that balcony in Odes-
sa. I visualized that I saw those
two men again, standing on that
balcony, but Usishkin's face was
not smiling, just hurt and disap-
pointment marked his features.
As I stood there by the ruins of
the "Yavne" synagogue, heartbro-
ken and shocked, looking at that
dilapidated little building, the
faces of all those men of the dis-
tant past, including the faces of
my student-colleagues of so many
years back, suddenly came to my
mind. The only Jews who corn-
prise the present Jewish popula-
tion of the Soviet Union are those,
who were reared under Commun-
ism, without any religion. Would
they rush to the open doors of the
synagogue? No. They would just
say what countless others of them,
Jews and non-Jews, told me so
many times about churches and
synagogues, "C he p u c h a" (non-
sense).

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Friday, June 19, 1964
9

MI INS EN I•111 MI NI Ell

GOING TO WORLD'S FAIR?

I

This, compartively, is the story
Look your best in our smart I
of all the closed synagogues in
sportswear, beach wear,
the Soviet Union. It is a tragic I dresses,
I
accessories.
blow to world Jewry, but as seen
I
SURWIN'S
from the facts presented here, I
Lot G. Northland Center
anti-Semitism is not the reason •
I

behind it.
I= ER EN
IN1 =I mil sis EN II

■ 111111 ■ MIMMINF

1111111111111/

1964

A Phone Call Will SAVE You Money !

"RIMY ABRAM

SHORE CHEVROLET CO.

TW 1-0600

12240 Jos. Campau

Res. LI 8-4119

REMEMBER

Jti;
21st

•N



is

Choose "His" Gift From
Our Fine Large Selection of :

• Dress, Sport & Knit Shirts
• Shirt Jacs
• Ties
• Italian Knits • Cabana Sets
• Slacks
• Bermuda Shorts
• Sport Jackets and Suits

44

4

FREE GIFT WRAPPING

ro3



Security Charge •

is

OPEN THIS SUNDAY 10-1

RADOM TAILORS

• •
•„

CLOTHIERS
& CLEANERS

22141 Coolidge

Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday to 9 p.m.

.K4e.•% <E*,

4.4,> &.*:•• •:*>, •:*>, ‹At>.:<4.>,

Classified Ads
Ads Bring Results

FIND THE MAN

Who meets the following qualifications



k4

LI 7-1511 11

Just South of 9 Mile

•ZE• •W>

"03

Age 25 to 50

Who is successful as a salesman in



Jewelry

• Clothing



Furniture

• Shoes



Modernization

• Books, Etc.



Owns late model car and who needs $12,000
and more a year

YOU KNOW

Many people that will qualify

SOMEONE

In your family knows this man we are looking for.

Keep alert and earn

THIS REWARD!

CALL MR. WARREN, UN 1-4518

FOR COMPLETE DETAILS

Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan