Dilemmas of Young Soviet Jews in Israel
housing condition being what it is. f
About 14,000 Russian Jews came In addition, their finances are se-
verely lini ■ ted. It was only natural
to Israel in 1971; in the month
to counter with the housing short-
of January of this year, 4,000. Of
these, the percentage of those tage in the Soviet Union and I was
from 16 to 25 is unavailable, and quite surprised when Nora labeled
that "propaganda." What appar-
this poses a huge problem. It must
ently compounds the problem for
not be forgotten
them is that they are expected to
that the camp- pay for their course in the ulpan.
aign to "let my This costs 600 Israel pounds for
people go" is a five months. Since they have no
pledge to those money, at least at present, I asked
who come, and what would happen if they did
those who do not pay. They had no answer to
come arrive with this beyond a moral and ethical
many problems need to pay and, as Reiworth said,
and severe ques- "They are put on their honor." It
was hard to square this fact with
Take Ulpan the advantages supposedly allowed
Siegel Borochov in the American and other immigrants
street of the same name in Tel from what he called "free or de-
Aviv. It has 110 people from 34 veloped countries." Soviet citizens
countries. Of this group, four are cannot cane with any money; in
Soviet and these four, three women fact, they pay their way to Vienna
and one man, are only a small at which place the cost is picked
part of all the Soviet Jews in Is- up by the Jewish Agency, with
rael. I went to the ulpan with funds from the UJA.
Eli, a sabra, who has two boys
The impression one gets from
of his own. I was advised to meet
Nora X who would answer my Nora and Lina is that they are in
quite typical of Soviet immi-
questions. I checked in with Eli-
ahu Reiworth, who directs the ul- grants of their age. Apart from
about their future in Is-
pan complex. He is a former Ger-
man wbo has been "through three rael,. there is the question of per-
wars." (The teachers are paid by sonal relations. The Israelis, they
the ministry of education; clerks, say, envy them for their condition
maintenance and other workers by in Israel. All inhabitants think the
the Jewish Agency, via the UJA.) Soviet Jews have special arrange-
ments and are treated more gen-
Nora X was reluctant to talk.
erously than they (the others)
She kept looking around and ex- themselves are or were when they
pressed. articulately enough her came to Israel after World War
unwillingness to talk. She spoke Two. They fmd this inconsistent
English, she spoke Yiddish, Rus- with the reality of the situation.
sian of course, and Latvian since Further, as young women, Nora
she is from Riga. But she finally and Linda find relationships with
consented to sit down in the gar- young Israeli men difficult. Young
den-like center of the ulpan, and men, they say, want to hurry into
another girl, Lina Y, was brought a sex relationship and the girls find
to join us. Both are 24 years old. this unacceptable, citing the cus-
They are as unlike in character, tom in the Soviet Union among
appearance and outlook as a Turk young people, in which such re-
and a Mongol, yet they have in lationships are entered into with
common their Jewishness, their So- more care and concern and re-
viet culture, and of course the quire in advance a feeling on the
langauge. But what they also part of the young woman for the
strongly share, as they insist most man.
young Soviet refugees do, are prob-
Each seemed depressed about
lems. They have been in Israel for their situation, Lina especially
six months and each speaks He- about her father's inability to re-
brew fluently. Since this is not a pay the loan. She asked me what
spy story, it can be revealed here I though of this situation and I
that Nora Z's reluctance to talk said I was there to ask the ques-
had nothing to do with ingrained tions, not to have them asked. But
habits from the Soviet Union. It
I said that, as one human being
had to do with dissent from con-
to another, the man would have
ditions in Israel, with which they
to wait for the money. As for the
were not happy.
general situation, I suggested that
We found a place on the lawn, each wave of immigration brought
and the atmosphere was conge- with it advtanges to Israel and
nial. Around us were buildings that, in time, the distortions
which housed 40 bedrooms, a wrought by immigration would be
kitchen, a mess hall and ten class- resolved. I even quoted her Stalin
rooms on about nine dunams or who, I read, had said somewhere
about two acres.
right after the war: "If six million
Nora is a graduate of the Univer- die, it is statistic. If one dies, it
a tagedy." I added I understood
sity of Riga with a degree in Rus-
sian literature and a minor in the problem as the husband of a
English. Lina is an economist from woman who had to leave Hitler
Moscow University and feared that Germany, and as a soldier who
the discipline would not avail her of had seen Europe turned upside
much in Israel. She was therefore down.
taking, the next day, an exam for
By now, the initial reluctance
a coarse in electronics. Her father, to talk had disappeeared and we
in Haifa with her mother, has a were communicating quite freely
heart condition and a special fam- and I felt I could ask the question:
ily problem. This had to do with a "If you could return to the Soviet
loan of .5,000 rubles from a fellow Union without any problems, would
Jew in Russia, now also in Israel, you go back?"
who was dunning them for the
Lina was the first to respond
money. Nora's father had studied
floral design in the Soviet Union with a No.
and was teaching a cognate course Nora said she would not because
near Hedera where they had a flat. she would not want to be a ploy
And thereby hangs part of the for the Russian television. But
significant tale. what, I asked, if that were not the
Immigrant families are assigned case? Nora, who had been a mem-
to a town. There may or may not ber of the Komsomol (Young
be a purpose to the assignment. Communist League) and whose
However, the children of such fam- card had been taken from her be-
ilies, regardless of age, if they cause of her desire to emigrate,
are unmarried, have to live with said finally she would not return.
their parents. Nora asked and She is here in Israel, she said,
perhaps quite properly: "What is and this is the country for Jews
there in Hedera for me?" It is and she would remain.
On the way hack, I asked Eli,
difficult for them, if not well-nigh
impossible, to get a flat or a self- who had done a yeoman job of
contained room on their own, the translating when necessary, what
By JACK SIEGEL
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
54—Friday, March 24, 1972
JDC Sends Student Rabbi to Yugoslavia Passover
he thought. He admitted it was a
NEW YORK—A young rabbi,
Eliyahu Marciano, now studying in
Israel. is being sent by the Joint
Distribution Committee to Sara-
jevo, Yugoslavia, to conduct the
Passover seders, it was reported
by Edward Ginsberg, JDC chair-
pression with physical dangers. We man.
parted at Dizengoff and Arlazoroff,
"The major difficulty in keeping
and shook hands, knowing time
Jewish tradtion alive in Yugoslavia
would heal these wounds but that
some people would perhaps suffer is the almost total absence of re-
ligious leaders," Ginsberg said.
in the process.
"One of the most tragic conse-
serious problem. On the other hand,
he said, his parents came from
Russia 55 years earlier, and with
nothing. Perhaps a difference was.
I suggested, that the pioneers had
a virgin dream and fled an op-
Goldberg and Gardner
Call for Speedy
NEW YORK (JTA) — Former
Supreme Court Justice Arthur J.
Goldberg and Columbia University
Law Professor Richard N. Gardner
have called for speedy U.S. rati-
fication of the Genocide Convention,
stating "it is inconceivable that
we should hesitate any longer in
making an international commit-
ment against mass murder."
In a detailed legal brief in the
current issue of the American Bar
Association Journal, Goldberg and
Prof. Gardner examine all the
objections which have been ad-
vanced against ratification of the
Genocide Convention and fmd them
to -be "without substance."
The Gehocide Convention,
which has been ratified by 75
nations, has been before the
U.S. Senate since 1949. It was
reported on favorably last May
by the Foreign Relations Com-
mittee and now is awaiting Sen-
ate action. • .
"At a time when our commit-
ment to human rights is being ques-
tioned by some of our own people
and .by others overseas," Goldberg
and Prof. Gardner declared, "it
is particularly important that we
ratify a treaty so thoroughly con-
sistept with our national purpose."
A bipartisan effort to bring the
Genocide Convention to the floor
of the Senate has been intiated by
Senators Frank Church (D., Idaho),
Jacob K. Javits ill, N.Y.), Wil-
liam Proxmire (D., Wisc.) and
Hugh Scott (R., Pa.).
quences of the Holocaust was the
virtual destruction of an entire
generation of communal and reli-
Almost 60,000 of Yugoslavia's
pre-war Jewish population of about
75,000 perished in the concentration
camps. About half of the survivors
emigrated to Israel, leaving a rem-
nant of about 7,000 Jews. There
has been no rabbi in Yugoslavia
since the death of Rabbi Mena-
hem Romano in 1968.
Produced under strict Rabbinical supervision. Certificate on request.
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