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December 09, 1983 - Image 70

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-12-09

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

10 Friday, December 9, 1983


High Plaudits for Sholem
Aleichem Play in New York

cause the future of the
(Copyright 1983, JTA, Inc.)
Jewish student is pros-
Among the cherished cribed, limited, practically
Jewish traditional institu- denied, he is taunted by
tions in New York is the in- Ivanov who insists that
domitable, magnificent Jews have the same oppor-
Folksbiene Playhouse bril- tunities. The latter insists
liantly guided by its inde- that they exchange iden-
fatigable Ben Schecter. In tities for a year during
each of its 69 years it has which period he will, as a
presented monumental Jew, prove that obstacles
plays of an undying reper- imagined by his classmate
toire that continue to be- are non-existent.
guile, delight and re-
Both go to a university
dedicate its patrons to a town where Shneyerson,
theater that has, more than now the Christian Ivanov,
any other, enriched our easily enters the university
American ethnic theater.
while his new Jewish
This season it is enchant- friend, who has become a
ing its audiences with that lodger in a Jewish house-
eternal Sholem Aleichem hold, even with highest
comedy, "Hard to Be a Jew," honors and a gold medal for
at its 55th Street Theater.
scholarship encounters
Those of us who have seen practically insurmountable
this always-fresh play be- hurdles. The real Ivanov
fore are in for new surprises. falls in love with the daugh-
Some half dozen years ago I ter of his hosts, as does his
saw its presentation on Sec- crypto-Christian friend, the
ond Avenue with the one real Shneyerson. Thus
and only Joseph Buloff -- dramatic complications of
and he was the entire show. mistaken identities, inter-
This new Folksbiene prod- racial love, and the om-
uction not only offers the nipresent fear of the anti-
high comedy of the play, it Semitic authorities.
does not allow vaudeville
The most satisfying and
shtik to obscure the authen- delicious part of the produc-
tic way of life and lot of the tion is the bringing to life
Jews in the repressive the loveable, fantastically
Czarist Russia.
funny characters from the
When Sholem Aleichem world of Sholem Aleichem.
says (in the play) ". . . they Top honors go to Zypora
imbibe their anti-Semitism Spaisman as the pious, cyn-
with their mother's milk,"
ical, realistic and most
we know it all too well even endearing mother in many
from this current non-
a year of theatrical history.
Czarist Russia.
I cannot recall the best of
The play deals, liter- Broadway stars to equal her
ally, with the problem of sensitivity and artistry, and
Jews in Russia then and her portrayal belongs in the
now. Two graduates of hall of fame of great per-
the gymnasia (high formances. If you think this
school) are about to em- extravagant praise, I defy
bark on a university anyone to see the play and
career — one a Jew, not agree.



Hersh Shneyerson,
played remarkably well
by I. W. Firestone, and
the other a pedigreed
Christian Russian,
Ivanov Ivan Ivanovich,
in a pleasing char-
acterization by Alexan-
der Sirotin.

realistically does not enter
into the festivities with his
Christian classmates, be-

Peopl e
Pow er



March of Dimes

In this able and truly
ensemble style cast, Jack
Rechtzeit delivers his
usual hilarious type,
while Leon Liebgold does
more than justice to the
role of the poseur father
of the household (we
cannot 'accuse him of
subtlety: his voice be-
longs in Madison Square
Garden or the Jersey

As broad as his acting
may be, it has a ring of au-
thenticity that endears him
to an enthusiastic audience
that knows well enough this
Ibi Kaufman does well in
the non-demanding role of
the lovely Betty as the cen-
ter of the love interest.
Paula Teitelbaum is inven-
tive and infectious in the
sparkling role of the young
Highest honors go to the
director, Israel Beker. His
setting is multi-leveled for a
highly fluid dynamic sym-
metry. Magnificent!

Cohen-Orgad Inherits Many Problems


World Zionist Press Service

JERUSALEM — Israel's
new Finance Minister Yigal
Cohen-Orgad has proposed
a wide ranging program to
get the economy producing
again while bringing down
the triple digit inflation. He
wants to chop the state
budget by $2 billion, or 10
percent, cut subsidies that
have kept some basic foods
at half the price they cost to
produce, bring down the
standard of living, encour-
age exports and decrease
A drastic program be-
came essential last summer
when the World Bank rated
Israel as one of the world's
worst credit risks, as its
foreign debt repayment
topped the total foreign aid
it was receiving. The bal-
ance of payments deficit had
gone over the $5 billion
mark, exports had dropped
by $450 million a year and
imports were up by $350
million, as Israeli troops
continued their expensive
stay in Lebanon.
Israeli industrialists
blame former Finance
Minister Yoram Aridor's
policy of artificially sup-
porting the shekel against
the dollar, to fight inflation.
While it kept the prices of
imported goods down, it also
hampered local industry's
ability to compete at home
and abroad because produc-
tion costs were in expensive
shekels. "The situation be-
came so absurd," says
former President of the
Industrialists' Association
Avraham Shavit, that "it
even paid to bring soda
water from South Africa."

One result was that Is-
raelis bought 70,000 new

Israeli Arab
Named for Prize

mathematics student and
an Aab student poet were
among the winners this
year of the 13th annual
Hershon Prizes for student
Hebrew literature at the
Hebrew University of
The prize is named for
Harry Hershon of New York
City. First prize went to
Ariel Halperin, a graduate
student in mathematics
from Kibutz Ayelet
The judges divided the
second prize among four
participants. Salman
Masalkha and Yonatan
Nadav, graduate students
in Islamic history, were
chosen for their creative
and cooperative Arab-
Jewish literary efforts.
Nadav translated into He-
brew poems written by
Masalkha in Arabic.

cars and 75,000 TV sets
since the beginning of the
year and more than
700,000 are expected to
travel abroad in 1983.
Some observers think
this is partly due to the
seven percent increases
in real salaries. Every fi-
nance ministry since the
1973 Yom Kippur War
has known that the Is-
raeli budget, including
defense, which uses up a
staggering 30 percent of
the gross national prod-
uct, had to be cut.

Yoram Aridor's predeces-
sor Yigal Hurwitz resigned
when the government did
not support him in this.
Aridor left office with the
Begin government involved
in long economic dis-
cussions and agreeing to
chop expenses by $1.5 bil-
lion, while haggling over
another $.5 billion. -
As the government de-
bated during the transition
between Prime Minister
Begin's last period in office
and Yitzhak Shamir's suc-
cession, the financially
aware Israeli public sensed
that the first major devalu-
ation of the shekel in two
years was imminent. Is-
raelis began selling off
shares to buy foreign cur-
rency. In less than a week,
an estimated $.5 billion in
cash was snatched up.
Among the stocks sold off
were hundreds of millions of
dollars worth of bank
shares, which had long been
considered blue chips be-
cause the banks had artifi-
cially supported them to
maintain confidence. This
manipulation had given the
investor a 200 percent profit
over the past seven years.

The banks declared
that they could no longer
support their shares
against the intense sell-
ing pressure and in Oc-
tober 1983 the bottom fell
out of the Tel Aviv Stock
Exchange. The govern-
ment closed it for 15 days,
as an agreement was
worked out for Treasury
guarantees of investors'
money in bank shares
that would be held for
four-six years.

When the market
reopened, bank shares lost
40 percent. Other shares
lost one-fourth to a third of
their value. The bank
shares would have dropped
further, had the govern-
ment not bought up $150
million worth on the first
day of trading. Anyone who
could afford to hold on to
their bank shares for four
years or more were safe, but
those who for any reason
had to cash their shares lost

In the interim, a secret fi-
nance ministry program,


drafted by Finance Minister
Aridor not only for wide
ranging budget cuts but
also for the linking of the
Israeli economy to the U.S.
dollar, was leaked to the af-
ternoon paper Yediot
The Labor opposition's
economics spokesman, Tel
Aviv University Prof. Haim
Ben Shachar, said that link-
ing the economy to the dol-
lar would mean that Israel
would have to get U.S. ap-
proval to move her army in
emergencies, because she
would not be able to print
money to overcome a crisis.
Aridor's cabinet colleague
Energy Minister Yitzhak
Modai said that the pro-
posal was "as serious as
changing the flag and the
national anthem."

Herut's Cohen-Orgad,
an expert in sophisti-
cated industry and long a
critic of Aridor's policies
in the parliamentary fi-
nance committee, also
opposed dollarization.
The uproar, combined
with the public's anger
over the shares crash,
forced Aridor to resign.

Cohen-Orgad, who like
Shamir and Defense Minis-
ter Arens has hawkish
political views, has said on
every occasion since taking
office that he has confidence
in the basic strength of the
Israeli economy and its abil-
ity to overcome the crisis.
He gives an impression of
confidence founded on
knowledge and experience
in economic affairs. Known
among his Likud colleagues
as one of the party's
brightest economists,
Cohen-Orgad has pledged to
continue devaluing the
shekel to make exports
more attractive and deter
He has already met with
the leaders of the em-
ployers' association and the
Histadrut Labor Federation
to work out what he calls a
"social contract" to keep
wages, prices and taxes
stable. The Histadrut fears
that Cohen-Orgad's eco-
nomic plans may be a recipe
for unemployment.

"Over 65 years of traditional service in the Jewish community with dignity and understanding."


In his second week of
office, the new minister won
headlines with his decision
to ban the purchase by Is-
raelis of foreign currency (in
cash or travelers' checks) for
use in Israel. A total of
$3,000 may be bought for
travel abroad. Foreign cur-
rency accounts (dollar-
linked savings) for Israelis
will be encouraged. The
move seemed to be aimed at
stopping the selling of
shares, including bank
shares, so as to purchase
dollars. Cohen-Orgad said
that keeping dollars (above
the permitted $3,000)
"under the mattress" (re-
ckoned at $50-70 million) is
an absurd waste both for the
individual and for the

The minister hopes the
ban on buying forbign
cash will be temporary.
The opposition saw it as
the final collapse of the
1977 liberalization policy
introduced following the
Likud's winning power
by the late Simha Erlich.
Economists believe the
new measure was essen-
tial because the October
devaluation and the bank
shares agreement had
not stopped the run on
dollars and this reading
of the economic map was
accepted by experts.

But the question that will
probably determine the suc-
cess of the new finance
minister is whether he can
convince his Cabinet col-
leagues to accept unpopular
budget cuts, which minis-
ters responsible far areas
like education and welfare
are bound to oppose. With
inflation running at 150
percent and the balance of
payments deficit at danger-
ous levels, most • Israeli
economists say that the
government will have no
choice but to cut drastically.
Cohen-Orgad enters
office with considerable
public support. However,
Israel's economic crisis de-
mands measures which are
bound to be unpopular if
they are to be effective. This
is not only the dilemma of
the Finance Minister but
also a test of Israel's ability
to overcome the current
crisis in the national

In Loving Memory Of



Sadly missed, always
remembered and
forever in our hearts.
With love, Margie,
Charyl, Mark, Marty,
Lori and Leigh.




Alan H. Dorfman
Funeral Director & Mgr.


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