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December 27, 1985 - Image 32

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Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-12-27

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32

Friday, December 27, 1985 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

NEWS

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Chief Rabbis

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Continued from page 1

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with President Reagan in Geneva
last month.
Meanwhile, Yelena Bonner,
wife of Soviet dissident scientist
Andrei Sakharov, visited a
synagogue in Newton, Mass. dur-
ing Sabbath services last
weekend and expressed hope that
"all the prisoners of Zion will be
free as well as all my friends of
different nations and religions."
Bonner's husband, a Nobel
Laureate in physics, is in exile in
Gorky for his outspoken criticism
of Soviet violations of human
rights, in the category of "prison-
ers of Zion." he is considered by
many Israelis to be a "prisoner of
Zion" because of the help he has
given Jews who are unable to
leave the Soviet Union, she said.
Sakharov's family are of the Rus-
sian Orthodox church.
Bonner, whose mother was
Jewish and father Armenian,
made clear she was not a believer
nor does she consider herself a
Jew. "My upbringing gives me
deep respect toward all beliefs, all
religions," she said. She is in the
U.S. for medical treatment. The
Soviet authorities allowed her 90
days' leave to seek treatment in
the West for eye and heart ail-
ments with the proviso that she
would not talk to reporters.
She came to Newton, a town in
western Massachusetts where her
son, Alexei Semyonov, and
daughter, Tatiana Yankelevich,
live. She visited Cong. Mishkan
Tefila, a Conservative congrega-
tion, at the invitation of its rabbi,
Richard Yellin. She spoke from
the pulpit. Her remarks were
translated by her son.
In expressing hope for freedom
for those refused exit from the
USSR, Bonner referred to "My
many personal friends, like
Anatoly Shcharansky, I hope will
be reunited with their relatives."
She said she accepted the invita-
tion to the synagogue "especially
because there is anti-Semitism in
the world. I find it impossible not
to come to a synagogue."
It was not clear whether her
public remarks violated the con-
ditions imposed by the Soviet au-
thorities, under threat that she
would not be permitted to return
to the Soviet Union to re-join her
husband. Rabbi Yellin permitted
journalists to be present but in-
sisted they did not take notes in
the synagogue. He excluded
Jewish journalists in their profes-
sional capacity because they
would be violating the Sabbath by
working.
Yellin gave Bonner several
gifts, including a Bible in Russian
and Hebrew and a beginning
grammar in Hebrew such as
Soviet Jews study clandestinely
in preparation to emigrate to Is-
rael.
In Washington, 30 members of
the House of Representatives
have put their names on a prop-
osed resolution calling on Presi-
dent Reagan to pardon five rabbis
who chose to go to prison to
dramatize the plight of Soviet
Jewry.
The five rabbis were convicted
earlier this month of violating a
District of Columbia statute that
prohibits demonstrations within
500 feet of the Soviet Embassy.

Disturbed that the 132 rabbis,
ministers, Hebrew teachers and
others who have participated in
planned arrest rallies since last
May have been subjected to what
they say is selective prosecution
— no charges have been pressed
against those arrested at similar
protests in front of the South Afri-
can Embassy — the five rabbis
opted to dramatize the issue of
Soviet Jewry by going to jail
rather than accept a suspended
sentence, probation and a fine.
Maintaining that their oppressed
brethren in the Soviet Union had
no option of freedom, they began
serving their fifteen-day sentence
at the minimum security prison in
Petersburg, Virginia Dec. 13.
The day before the rabbis were
to report to prison, Rep. Michael
Barnes (D-Md.), sent a telegram
to the President urging him to
pardon the five as "a real life

"Because there is
anti-Semitism in the
world, I find it
impossible not to
come to a
synagogue."
— Yelena Bonner

example" to the Soviet Union "of
what true justice and compassion
in this holiday season mean."
Barnes maintained that the rab-
bis — four of whom are his con-
stituents — had been sent to
prison during the last days of
Channukah and before they had a
chance to appeal their case or set-
tle their efforts. He called the
"unusually harsh sentence and its
excessively swift execution" an
"outrage."
The Washington office of the
Anti-Defamation League of B'nai
B'rith has announced that it will
pay all legal costs and provide free
legal counsel for anyone arrested
during peaceful Soviet Jewry pro-
tests at the Soviet Embassy here.
"This offer is effective im-
mediately, and will be extended
not just to those already arrested,
but to those who may be arrested
at future protests outside the Em-
bassy," Edward Leavy, the ADL's
regional director, said at a press
conference at the Washington-
Maryland Regional office last
week.

Funds Earmarked
For Ethiopia

New York — The American
Jewish Joint Distribution Com-
mittee, Inc., has committed
nearly $900,000 from its 1986
regular budget for programs in (/
the Gondar Region of Ethiopia. \
The public can send funds for ,
aid to Ethiopia's hungry by
writng Open Mailbox for
Ethiopia, American Jewish Joint
Distribution Committee, 711
Third Ave., New York 10017. •

/

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