4 Friday, February 7, 1986
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
THE JEWISH NEWS
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. Ralph Orme
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CANDLELIGHTING AT 5:36 P.M.
VOL. LXXXVIII, NO. 24
Free At Last?
The rumors are flying and the hopes are high: After more than eight
years in prison and more than 12 years as a symbol of the Soviet Jewish
emigre movement, Anatol Borisovich Shcharansky may finally be freed
by his Russian captors.
Shcharansky and his wife, Avital, have been an inspiration to people
everywhere. Against overwhelming odds, a relentless bureaucracy and a
long Russian tradition of anti-Semitism, they have persevered. They have
not been daunted by the separation that was forced upon them by the,
Soviet authorities. They have been cowed by Anatol's long years of
imprisonment. They have not yielded to the improbabilities of their task.
For years now, the Shcharanskys have been, demanding freedom for
themselves and for their people. If the news reports that first surfaced
earlier this week are to be believed, they have won. This Tuesday, Anatol
Shcharansky and several Western intelligence operatives held by the
Soviets may be swapped for several Eastern-bloc spies held in the West.
This would be a victory for the Shcharanskys and for all who have
championed the cause of Soviet Jews and who kept alive the memories
and the names of those Jews who have been imprisoned by the Kremlin.
There is a good chance that had there not been demonstrations in the
West demanding the emigration from the USSR of Jews, had there not
been a mountain of letters sent to Jetvs in Russian prisons, had officials
in Western governments not repeatedly discussed with their Russian
counterparts the plight of Soviet Jews — had all this not occurred, there
would be no talk now of Shcharansky being freed.
But Shcharansky is just the tip of the Soviet Jewish iceberg. He is
one of many Soviet Jews who has been hounded, persecuted, and incarcer-
ated by the authorities. The fight for their freedom is far from over. But
the release of Mr. Shcharansky — if it occurs as now predicted — at least
indicates that it is a battle that, while long and often discouraging, is not
without rewards and occasional victories.
When Shcharansky received his 13-year prison sentence in 1978, he
said he would not rest until he was reunited with his wife and his fellow
Jews in Jerusalem. Those of us in more comfortable circumstances should
follow his brave example and not rest either until all Jews who wish to
leave the Soviet Union can do so.
It is easy to chastise Israel for its "act of air piracy" this week,
forcing down a private Libyan business jet in an effort to nab
arch-terrorist George Habash. Unfortunately, Israel does not live in the
civilized atmosphere of Western law. That is an uneasy fact that Israel's
opponents work constantly to obscure.
Libya stands with blood-soaked hands when it accuses Israel of air
piracy. Audacious Col. Qaddafi should count the number of terrorist
victims who died at the hands of the international murderers he hosted
this week before he stands before the United Nations and the world and
dares to accuse Israel of anything. If the incident had been reversed,
would Libya, or Syria, have released innocent Israeli civilians after a
If Israel had managed to capture Habash, we would all be standing
and applauding its duplication of the U.S. Navy feat in bringing down the
Achille Lauro hijackers, the murderers of Leon Klinghoffer. Israel did not
succeed this time, but in breaking international rules she comes away
with far cleaner hands than her accusers.
Categorizing Jewish Poor:
The Myths And The Realities
BY SAMUEL LERNER
Special to The Jewish News
Ten years ago I presented a
paper on "The Jewish Family
Agency and the Problem of Poverty
Among Jews." At that time, I stated,
"For too long we have lived with the
myths that (a) there are no Jewish
poor; (b) if they do exist, their num-
bers are so small as to be insignific-
ant and not important enough to be
considered as a serious problem; (c)
the poor or near-poor are concen-
trated almost exclusively among the
aged; (d) the Jews 'take care of their
own' and therefore, have solved this
problem to the satisfaction of the
givers and receivers of assistance.
"Unfortunately, none of these
guilt-relieving myths is true. There
are Jews who are poor, in significant
numbers, not only among the aged
but in younger and middle-aged
families with children, and we have
not as Jewish communities 'taken
care of our own' to any marked de-
gree. However, we are beginning to
wake up to the problem and in cer-
tain cities community action has
begun and some help is being given.
But there is still general acceptance
of the above 'myths,' and too little
direct financial support to the poor
Little has changed since in our
We must be open in our atti-
tudes and not rigid in adhering to
governmental guidelines in the defi-
nition of poverty. First of all, there
are sharp differences of opinion,
even among experts, as to how we
define poverty. Secondly, we must
recognize that there are unique ex-
penses and different expectations
Samuel Lerner is executive director of
the Jewish Family Service of Detroit.
This article is excerpted from a lengthy
essay in the Fall 1985 issue of the
Journal of Jewish Communal Service.
among Jews as to what should be in-
cluded in "basic necessities."
Let us take rent and leases, for
example. In most cities Jews prefer
not to live in the inner city where
rents may be lower but where they
feel isolated, unsafe in the neighbor-
hoods, or, if it is a family with young
children, very uncomfortable about
sending the children to the local
There are unique expenses
and different expectations
among Jews as to what
should be included in
schools. Wherever possible, Jews of
modest incomes tend to congregate
in the suburbs or on the outskirts of
the inner city, where rents are
higher than city rents, but not as
high as the outer suburbs.
Even in the comparatively low
rent communities the range for 1-2
bedroom apartments can be from
$300 to $550 monthly, with the av-
erage closer to $375 to $406, with
much higher rentals in New York
and Los Angeles, and other met-
ropolitan areas. How can an elderly
individual or couple, on Supplemen-
tal Security Income (S.S.I.) or Social
Security, with an income of $400-
$600 a month, pay rent and still
have money for food, utilities, tele-
phone and other necessities?
What about an Aid to Depen-
dent Children (A.D.C.) mother with
one or two children who may receive
a grant that • budgets her rent at
$160 or slightly higher (the amount
depending on the local community
and the state), and if she pays more,
out of necessity, it means she pays