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December 10, 1982 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-12-10

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

32 Friday, December 10, 1982

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

HAPPY HANUKA

from

ARDMORE SHOE REPAIR

and the

SHERBERG FAMILY

Chatham Square Center

11 Mile and Middlebelt
Farmington Hills
474-8585

A Kibutz No Longer Waits for the Messiah

By MOSHE RON

The Jewish News Special
Israel Correspondent

TEL AVIV — Simha
Perlmuter, a religious Jew,
has enough reasons to be
worried in these days.
Kibutz Ir Avot (City of the
Patriarchs) in the desert,
which he founded 16 years
ago, has fallen apart. All its
members have left includ-

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ing one of his two wives who
took four of their children.
The kibutz has debts of
eight million shekels
($270,000). All institutions
have closed their doors to
him, but Perlmuter takes it
calmly. He says that all
comes from God. If He de-
mands from him such sac-
rifices, he is ready to offer
them, waiting for the day
when the Messiah will
come.
Perlmuter came to Israel
16 years ago. He has lived
"by miracles." He was also
in very bad health, but has
recovered "because of his
beliefs."

Perlmuter was born in
Boston 48 years ago. He
studied at a yeshiva and
finished his studies in a
university. He founded in
Miami a small commu-
nity with a synagogue
and started to preach
that Redemption was
near: One should go to Is-
rael and help the coming
of the Messiah.

In 1966, a group of odd
immigrants arrived in Is-
rael. It was not clear
whether they were Jews or
Gentiles. Perlmuter was the
leader of this group. He
came with two wives and
nine children. The wives
lived together on friendly
terms.
For some months the
group wandered from place
to place without getting any
assistance. One day Perl-
muter decided to lead his
group to the desert and start
a settlement.
Perlmuter felt very much
at home in the desert. He
defined his task as waiting
for the Messiah. He pre-
pared new clothes and a
prayer-shawl for himself.

The group lived in
tents. Its members ex-
plained to the military
patrols who visited the
lonely and deserted place
that they were American
Jews who wished to build
a new settlement in order
to be the first to receive
the Messiah, who would
arrive from the moun-
tains of Edom.

The officer of the patrol
asked his headquarters
what he should do with
these odd people. The corn-
mander of the district, Gen
eral Yeshayahu Gavish, vi-
sited the place and decided
to help the group. He gave
them the right to live in a
deserted army camp.
They had great difficul-
ties in living under the
stern desert conditions.
They had no work and no
income.
From time to time new
settlers arrived, including
crackpots and drunkards.
For 16 years the settlers
looked on Perlmuter as a
shepherd to its flock. He
conducted marriages and
conversions and ruled with
a strong hand. He insisted
that all convert to Judaism
and get married as Jews.

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Another "miracle"
happened. Water was
.found near the camp.
Perlmuter declared the
water as holy and people
came to be healed by it.

The legend about the well
in the desert spread all
over the world and many
people came. But in the
midst of the boom, a crisis
broke out in the camp
and one day all settlers,
headed by one of Perlmu-
ter's wives, vanished.
Even the police do not
know where they are.

The kibutz in the desert,
though it was helped by Is-
raeli institutions, got into
debt. The people also re-
volted against Perlmuter's
strong rule. They felt like
slaves. - Perlmuter de-
manded that they observe
the religious rules and regu-
lations and refrain from
criticizing him.

with God's help — overcome
this calamity," he said. "We
shall eat dry bread and
drink only water, but we
shall not abandon our Mes-
siah. God performs miracles
and he will bring us the
Messiah, for whom we are
waiting."
But in the meantime
there are no means to repay
the eight million shekels.

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Perlmuter has broken
down because of his per-
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not given up. "We shall —

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