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June 13, 1980 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-06-13

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

VIII.- Via nvf

Soviet Anti-Semitism in Historic Perspective


Modern day Soviet anti-
Semitism is characterized
by two basic factors: anti-
Semitism is in the hands of
the state and can therefore
be turned on or off at will; it
is now more racially
oriented than before and
this prevents Soviet Jewry
from assimilating into the
mainstream of society be-
cause "according to reli-
gious and cultural views
today there is very little dif-
ference between Russian
Jews and Russian Rus-
his analysis was pre-
ted by Ezra Men-
delssohn, senior lecturer at
the Institute of Contempor-
ary Jewry and Russian
Studies at the Hebrew Uni-
versity and a visiting pro-
fessor of history at the Uni-
versity of Michigan.
Mendelssohn was one of
several guest speakers at
the Conference of Problems
of Soviet Ethnic policies
examining the status of
Jews in the USSR and the
impact of anti-Semitism.
The forum, held at New
York's Columbia Univer-
sity, was sponsored jointly
by the Jacob Blaustein In-
stitute for the Advancement


of Human Rights, Columbia
University Program on
General Education, Colum-
bia University Program on
Soviet Nationality, and the
Greater New York Confer-
ence on Soviet Jewry.
sented an historical
perspective of Czarist
and Soviet anti-Semitism.
Under the Czars, al-
though conditions were
favorable for "collective
Jewish expression,"
tolerance for individual
Jews was very low as
they were perceived as
an "alien element in
backward peasant
society," he said.

Jews also found them-
selves in the middle of in-
tense nationalist competi-
tion, especially in the Uk-
raine, "the hotbed of anti-
Semitism in the pre-World
War I period," which led to
both social and religious
Also, Mendelssohn ob-
served, during the late 19th
and early 20th Centuries,
Russia was going through
great political and social
flux — a condition never
considered conducive for
minority advancement or

The Soviet period, Men- to be resented and the
delssohn continued, re- Soviets feared a takeover
flected a reversal in Czarist by these newly emanci-
patterns. The new Soviet pated Jews.
The peasant and middle
regime was dominated by
forces hostile to Judaism classes were not strong
but friendly to Jews as indi- enough to resist Jewish
viduals. A secular culture competition and the Jew
based on Yiddish was once again found himself as
allowed to flourish, and the alien to be feared.
Since socially and cultur-
Jews were in positions of
authority. Class loyalty was ally the Jews were much
the important factor, and like the rest of society, mod-
anyone, regardless of reli- ern day Soviet anti-
gion, who exemplified this Semitism had to add the
loyalty was favored, he said. new racial dimension to its
According to Men- policies, Mendelssohn ob-
delssohn, this favorable served. The purges in the
treatment of "loyal 1930s and World War II
Jews," which allowed brought about accusations
them to assume positions that Jews were responsible
of influence and stature for the social and economic
in the community, began ills in the USSR.

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Women Rabbis Number 29

The seven women scheduled
to be ordained as Reform
rabbis next month will
bring to 29 the total number
of women designated as
rabbis under Reform and
Reconstructionist auspices,
according to a Jewish Tele-
graphic Agency survey. The
Reconstructionist Rabbini-
cal College in Philadelphia
named three men but no
women as rabbis at gradua-
tion exercises this month.
Six men and five women
will be ordained here as
rabbis at the Hebrew Union
College-Jewish Institute of
Religion (HUC-JIR) cere-
monies on June 1 at Temple
Emanu-El. Thirteen men
and two women will be or-
- dained at the HUC-JIR in
Cincinnati on June 7.
However, there are 12
women studying for the
rabbinate in the Recon-
structionist college, accord-
ing to Rabbi Ludwig
Nadelmann, president of
the Jewish Reconstruc-
tionist Foundation — three
in the first year, four in the
second year, one in the third
year and four in the fourth
movement continues to
e embroiled in vigorous
nd widespread debate,
abbinical and lay, on
hether to admit women
to the Jewish Theological
Seminary of America
here as candidates for the
Support for such action
was endorsed at the 1977
convention of the Rabbini-
cal Assembly, the associa-
tion of Conservative rabbis,
but action on the proposal
was postponed indefinitely
by a majority vote of the
Seminary Faculty Senate

last December. No Or-
thodox organization, rab-
binical or lay, has indicated
the slightest interest in or-
daining women as rabbis.
The process of ordination
of women rabbis in the
United States began in 1972
when Sally Preisand was
named by the HUC-JIR as
the first woman rabbi in
American history. Sub-
sequently, 15 women were
ordained under Reform au-
spices and six under Recon-
structionist auspices.

ID Number
to Clean Up
Israeli Red Tape

group - of senior Israeli offi-
cials has been working
quietly for the past few
months under the direction
of the prime minister's
office, planning a war
against one of the country's
worst enemies — bureauc-
ratic red tape. One reform,
expected to be instituted be-
fore the end of the year, is
the issuance of a single
identification number (ID)
to every citizen.
The one number will re-
place the jungle of digits
that every Israeli must now
carry in his head or on his
person: army number; tax
number; national insurance
number; driving license
number and many more. All
government departments
will be plugged intea single
national computer at the
Interior Ministry which will
use the ID number to
simplify bureaucratic pro-
The reforms represent the
collective labors of a com-
mittee comprised of the di-
rectors general of all gov-
ernment ministries.



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