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June 29, 1984 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-06-29

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

4 Friday, June 29, 1984

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

THE JEWISH NEWS

Serving Detroit's Metropolitan Jewish Community
with distinction for four decades.

Editorial and Sales offices at 17515 West Nine Mile Road,
Suite 865, Southfield, Michigan 48075-4491
TELEPHONE 424-8833

PUBLISHER: Charles A. Buerger
EDITOR EMERITUS: Philip Slomovitz
EDITOR: Gary Rosenblatt
BUSINESS MANAGER: Carmi M. Slomovitz
ART DIRECTOR: Kim Muller-Thym
NEWS EDITOR: Alan Nasky
LOCAL NEWS EDITOR: Heidi Press
EDITORIAL ASSISTANT: Tedd Schneider
LOCAL COLUMNIST: Danny Raskin

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES:
Drew Lieberwitz
Rick Nessel
Danny Raskin
Seymour Schwartz

OFFICE STAFF:
Marlene Miller
Dharlene Norris
Phyllis Tyner
Pauline Weiss
Ellen Wolfe

PRODUCTION:
Donald Cheshure
Cathy Ciccone
Curtis Deloye
Ralph Orme

A Soviet Jew remembers
her Orwellian motherland

BY LYDIA KUNIAVSKY
Special to The Jewish News

Ten years ago at this time we
finished an overnight reading of Or-
well's 1984. The typed sheets of the
book were spread on the floor of one of
two rooms in our Moscow apartment.
The early spring morning, cool and
pale, was adding familiar sounds to
its newborn light: a loud and elabo-
rate exchange of obscenities between
the janitor and the yard sweeper; a
baby crying; Vassily, our neighbor
from the upper floor, slamming the
door, kicking it with his foot and
leaving for work.
The night before he had a

© 1984 by The Detroit Jewish News (US PS 275-520)
Second Class postage paid at Southfield, Michigan and addltional mailing offices. Subscription $18 a yew.

CANDLELIGHTING AT 8:53 P.M.

VOL. LXXXV, No. 18

Our brothers' keeper

The pattern is tragically familiar. The victims are persecuted for no other
reason than their religious beliefs, but the world looks away, refusing to
speak out against the genocide taking place.
In Iran today, some 300,000 members of a religion other than Islam live
in fear, often accused of being Zionist spies. They are arrested, their property
is confiscated and sometimes, when they refuse to recant their religion, they
are tortured and even executed:
The victims in this case are not Jews, but Bahais, members of a faith
advocating world unity and peace (whose world center is in Haifa, where its
founder died in exile). The parallels between their suffering and the pattern
of Jewish history is too strong to ignore.
Recent reports from Bahais who have escaped to the West from Iran
indicate that those who refuse to adopt Islam are summarily arrested. A
Bahai spokesman in Washington, Paul Glist, told The Jewish News this week
that by conservative estimates at. least 175 Bahais, mostly leaders of the
religion, have been executed in Iran since the Khomeini revolution. He
indicated that there has been support from the Jewish community for the
plight of the Bahais in the form of solidarity Sabbaths, resolutions passed by
Jewish organizations and sermons by various rabbis.
But a spokesman for a national Jewish organization noted apologetically
that since the Bahais are often accused of being Zionist agents, it might be
harmful for Jewish leaders to speak out more forcefully in sympathy with the
Bahais. "There are those who interpret our reticence as not caring, but we're
doing all we can, often in quiet ways," the spokesman said. "We're caught in a
Catch-22 situation."
Still, it is important for the Jewish community to be made aware of the
persecution of the Bahais. A woman who escaped an Iranian jail said she still
carries with her a photograph of one of the victims who, before being
executed, told her friend, "Go and tell everyone what they're doing to us."
That haunting plea echoes in every Jewish soul after the Holocaust. The
first step in preventing genocide is to cry out at the first symptom of
recurrence.

Handicapped courage

Already tested, and proven workable, a program of guidance for the
handicapped to become their home masters as homemakers raises high the
standards of services performed by the Jewish Association for Retarded
Citizens.
While group homes predominate, the ability of persons with minimal
handicaps to care for themselves has inspired the procedures which are
already proving workable.
In the name of the Aaron and Helen L. DeRoy Independent Apartment
Program, a remarkably progressive project has been made possible with
funds provided by the DeRoy Foundation, with the encouragement of the
Jewish Welfare Federation.
The training program for independent skilled living and independence
for those fitting into the projected undertaking is to the credit of the
movement which has become a widely accepted ideal in behalf of the retarded,
the handicapped who need the support for human approaches with fellow
citizens.
Much is yet to be accomplished in this field of human endeavor. JARC
qualifies for the task. Support for it must be given on a high scale.

"Hey you, dark eyes, long
nose, do you hear me?
What's your name?
Abram? Israel?"

habitual drunken fight with his wife
which split other neighbors of his
communal apartment into two hos-
tile armies. Today he had an awful
hangover, and the only remedy for it
would be more alcohol.
He'll immediately start recruit-
ing two other members of a drinking
"troika." If he succeeds, they'll rush
to the store across the street to be the
first to buy vodka when the store
opens. They always try to split a
bottle for three: it's chaper, so you can
buy another bottle and enjoy it once
again with your newly-acquired
friends.
Then they'll squeeze into a bus
and grabbing a metal rail or a loop
hanging above their heads they will
prepare themselves for a 45-minute
standing ride to their plants, shops
and factories. They would eye those
lucky individuals who got into the
bus at its first stop and now occupy
the seats, and hating them im-

Lydia Kuniausky is a caseworker at the
Jewish Resettlement Service in
Southfield.

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mensely, will find a victim, usually
someone with dark eyes and curly
hair, and start a friendly and inno-
cent conversation between them-
selves but loud enough for everybody:
"How come that Jews always get
what the Russians can't, eh? How
comethat they are the first in lines to
get food, or shoes, or sweaters, and
they are always sitting when other
people are standing. Ah?"
They wouldlook around inviting
others to share their justified curios-
ity. "Hey you, dark eyes, long nose, do
you hear me? What's your name? Ab-
ram? Israel?" The friends burst out
laughing. They are in a very good
• mood now. They don't want to leave
the bus. It's been such a good morn-
ing, after all.
It's almost eight o'clock and we
are in a hurry. We have to put the
sheets of 1984 in order and return the
book before 9 a.m. to our friend who
gave it to us for one night. It was
translated, typed and left unbound so
it would be easier to read for several
people at the same time. As copying
machines are not available in Russia
(how could they be? Who knows what
kind of dangerous material can be
copied?) , the underground literature
must be typed and retyped. You are
lucky if you get a legible version. My
husband will mix up the manuscript
with the pages of his theses, and put-
ting it in his briefcase, will carry it
casually but cautiously through the
morning rush of Moscow public
transportation.
We were kneeling on the floor,
looking for pages of the book, and still
not able to get rid of the tragic spell it
had spread on us. It was about us,
quiet, obedient creatures who
screamed silently, revolted invisibly
and who were desperately trying to
find an escape. It was us who were
watched, stuffed with hatred and in-
doctrinated by narrow-minded, dog-
matic idiology in order to produce
one-track minds. It was the "news-

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