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August 19, 1977 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-08-19

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

14 Friday, August 19, 1977


Rabbi Delcares Sex-Change
Jewish Activist Mikhail Mager
Jew Law
Exits USSR, Joins Family in Israel Operations Against
terpret as referring to any






Mikhail Mager, 32-year-
old radio engineer, has ar-
rived in Israel from the So-
viet Union, after five years
of being denied an exit per-
In 1972, Mager's wife, par-
ents and brother received
permission to emigrate, but
Mager himself was denied
emigration and was contin-
uously harassed by the
Through the efforts of the
Detroit Committee for So-
viet Jewry, Cong. Shaarey
Zedek "adopted" Mager
two and a half years ago,
and began a campaign of
telephone calls, letters and
telegrams to Soviet and
American officials, pressing
for Mager's release.
Shortly after arriving in
Israel, Mager underwent




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circumcision, and took the
name Moshe. He and his
wife have sent a letter of
graditude to the members
of Shaarey Zedek.
Meanwhile, since his re-
lease from prison in April,
former Prisoner of Con-
science Alexander Slinin
has been awaiting his exit
visa to Israel which, accord-
ing to reports reaching the
National Conference on So-
viet Jewry, was received
July 25. Indications are that
he will be leaving Kharkov
with his mother the end of
Arrested and tried in
June, 1974, the former stu-
dent from Kharkov Univer-

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sity, refused to report to his
local military registration
office for army service
after he had applied to emi-
grate to Israel. While in
prison, Slinin's health de-
teriorated drastically due to
the harsh conditions he ex-
The Al Tidom Association
reports from New York
that sources in the Soviet
Union indicate that the
KGB has begun torture of
Jews wishing to emigrate
to Israel, with Eprit, a sul-
fur derivative, which burns
the skin with intense pain.
In New York the Con-
gress for Jewish Culture,
on the eve of the 25th anni-
versary of the execution of
24 Yiddish writers, poets
and intellectuals by the Sta-
lin regime, called upon So-
viet Ambassador Anatoly
Dobrynin "to relay to your
government our deep con-
cern about the future surviv-
al of the Jewish minority as
a cultural and religious en-
tity" in the Soviet Union.

Merzon Honored

The United Aged Home of
Moshav Sekenim in Jerusa-
lem is erecting a tablet in
honor of M. Manuel Merzon
of Oak Park.
According to Jacob Blau,
secretary of the • home's
board of trustees, the tablet
will recognize Merzon's gen-
erosity and devotion to the
home. and orthodoxy in gen-

transformation of an individ-
ual's sex through surgery is
forbidden by Jewish law. ac-
cording to a Yeshiva Uni-
versity authority on the Tal-
mud. -
Rabbi J. David Bleich.
professor of Talmud at the
university's Rabbi Isaac El-
chanan Theological Semi-
nary and at Stern College
for Women, made that as-
sertion in a new book. "Con-
temporary Halakhic Prob-
lems." The book is de-
scribed as analyzing mod-
ern social, political.
technological and moral
problems from the per-
spective of Jewish law.
Dr. Bleich cited Leviticus
22:24 in support of his con-
tention: "And that which is
mauled or crushed or torn
or cut you shall not offer to
the Lord, nor should you do
this in your land." He de-
clared this was an explicit
biblical prohibition of sex-
change - operations.
He also noted arguments
by rabbinic scholars who in-

civil-rights dispute that has
shaken East Germany since
last year, authors and in-
tellectuals say that tactics
used to repress dissention
are in some cases exacer-
bated by subtle anti-Semitic
A Communist Party mem-
ber in Dresden has said
that officials had com-
mented in a closed session
that "the ringleaders
among the opposing in-
tellectuals are Jews."
Communists have avoided
public statements on the
highly sensitive issue, but
Rolf Schneider, another
writer involved. but who is
not Jewish. reported that
he found the words "dirty
Jewish swine" scrawled on
his garden wall.
Overtones of anti-Semi-
tism were also seen in the

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, Dr. Bleich added that
once such a sexual transfor-
mation has taken place, a
host of practical halakhic
questions arise, hinging on
"the crucial conceptual
problem of whether or not
a change of sex has indeed
occurred from the point of
view- of Jewish Law. He
cited as the most obvious
questions those involving
marriage. divorce and the
performance of religious ob-
He also declared that
while Judaism does not
sanction surgical reversion
of sex, trans-sexualism is
considered a disorder
"which should receive the
fullest measure of medical
and psychiatric treatment
consistent with Halakha."

Anti-Semitism Said to Exist
in E. German Drive on Dissent

A square peg in a round hole

A square
peg in a
round hole

action uniquely identified
with the opposite sex, the
commandment: "A woman
shall not wear that which
pertains to a man, nor shall
a man put on a woman's
garment." (Deuteronomy

expulsion from the Com-
munist party of Sarah
Kirsch, a writer and poet
who is Jewish, but has no
religious ties, Gunter Ku-
nert, whose mother was a
Jew, and Jurek Becker,
who grew up in the Lodz
The three were thrown
out of the party in the wake
of a protest last November
against the forced exiling of
dissident singer Wolf Bier-
mann. Miss Kirsch has ap-
plied for exit papers and
the latter two are also con-
templating emigration.
Most dissident emigres
are not Jewish, and some in-
tellectuals have remarked
that the East German gov-
ernment is deliberately driv-
ing critical artists into emi-
gration, albeit with a subtle
anti-Semitic touch.

Reformed Passion
Play Is Presented

West Germany — A week-
long series of test perform-
ances of a reformed version
of a traditional passion play
that blames the crucifixion
of Jesus on mankind sins
rather than specifically on
the Jews, has begun in the
village of Oberammergau.
Depending -on the villa-
gers' reaction and general
reaction to the perform-
ances, the town council will
decide whether to use the
revised version in the 1980
regular season, or revert to
the standard text, which
many have branded as anti-
The present reformed ver-
sion of the play is the prod-
uct of a town actor who re-
signed in 1966 over his fail-
ure to change the text of
the play. The town council
later shifted attitudes, and
asked him to present the
play to test reactions.,


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