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July 31, 1981 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-07-31

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

jo Despite Jewish Agencies' Aid, Iranian
Jews in United States . Still Need Help

By BEN GALLOB

NEW YORK (JTA) —
The Jews from Iran who ar-
rived in the United States
by the thousands, some of
them even before the
Ayatollah Ruhollah Kho-
rne;.ni took power in 1979,
needed help fast and re-
ceived it from three agen-
cies of the Federation of
Jewish Philanthropies of
New York, according to fed-
eration officials.
They said the first group
ibout 1,200 were youths
`wrought here by the
Agudath Israel and the
Lubavitcher organization.
Later they were joined by
other students and families.
As a group they were adrift
in a strange land, cut off
from homes, families and
frequently lacking financial
resources.
The federation, in cooper-
ation with the United
Jewish Appeal of Greater
New York and the city's
Iranian Jewish leadership,
started the funding of vital
services for the Iranian
Jews through the Jewish
Board of Family and Chil-
dren's Services (JBFCS),
the Jewish Community
Services of Long Island
(JCSLI) and Federation
Employment and Guidance
Service (FEGS).

The officials also re-
ported that the federa-
tion, in addition, created
an ad hoc committee on
Iranian Jews to coordi-
nate those programs, and
to work closely with the
federal Immigration De-
partment, HIAS and the
Washington office of the
Council of Jewish Feder-
ations (CJF).

This help proved espe-
cially crucial during the
months following the Ira-
nian seizure of the U.S. Em-
bassy in Iran, when the U.S.
government was debating
about whether to send Ira-
nian students here back to
Iran.
Working closely with the
Immigration Department,
Bobi Klotz, chairperson of
the ad hoc committee, and
Rabbi Isaac Trainin, the
federation's consultant on
Iranian Jews, were able to
ensure that no Iranian
Jewish students in this
country would be sent back
to Iran, where their lives
would have been
endangered. _
Two years after the initial
influx, the federation re-
mains deeply involved in
helping the Iranian new-
ers. Federation funding
provided scholarships
or hundreds of Iranian stu-
dents attending yeshivot
and day schools throughout
New York City.
Interest-free loans
have been made avail-
able to the Iranians by
the Federation-affiliated
Hebrew Free Loan
Society. The Fund for
Jewish Education foun-
dations solicited by the
federation, and its spe-
cial funds program, have

also helped to finance
vital programs and serv-
ices for the Iranian
Jewish refugees.
The JBFCS and the
JCSLI continue to serve the
Iranian Jews in a variety of
areas, providing help with
immigration assistnce,
finding suitable housing
and decent schools, helping
with medical needs, lan-
guage training, crisis inter-
vention, and a variety of
other services. -Since 1979,
the JBFCS has served some
2,000 Iranian Jews and the
JCSLI more than 1,700.
Both are staffed by
Persian-speaking para-
professionals, as well as pro-
fessionals who provide help
in health care, housing, em-
ployment, language train-
ing, psychological counsel-
ing and other areas.
The FEGS has offered
career counseling and
placement opportunities to
some 260 Iranian students
and has found jobs for Ira-
nian Jews in professional,
industrial, clerical and
sales areas.
An outreach program to
yeshivot, public schools and
colleges has been under-
taken by the FEGS to
stimulate interest in career
planning and to offer part-
time jobs.
The officials said that
despite the aid received
from the federation and
its agencies, the Iranian
Jews still face difficult
problems. It has become
impossible in recent
months to send money
from Iran to the United
States, with the result
that many Iranian Jews
in New York, who had
been managing finan-
cially, now find them-
selves without funds and
in need of help.
It was reported that this
is especially true for many
Iranian Jewish students in
yeshivot, day schools and
colleges who no longer are
getting money from their
parents in Iran. Many Ira-
nian Jews have become de-

pressed by their inability to
find suitable jobs and a high
percentage of the students
still report visa problems, it
was indicated.
The State Department re-
cently eased its restrictions
on Iranians and they now
can get temporary visas.
But the Immigration De-
partment has not yet acted
on this matter.

Friday, July 31, 1981

=

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Trainin said that "'despite
the difficulties confronting
them, the Iranians have a
strong Jewish identity and
pride in their heritage as
well as a strong desire to
succeed here. In cooperation
with New York UJA and
Iranian Jewish leadership,
federation will do' what it
can to help them realize this
dream."

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17

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