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January 09, 1987 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-01-09

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

NEWS

Menorah

Continued from Page 1

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inner
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12

Friday, January 9, 1987

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

311C 398-3605

rEir e 114

61.D1.41.

"We have the same objec-
tions (to the Menorah) as the
Birmingham (Michigan nativ-
ity scene) case," said Dilley.
"The facts are a little different,
but the principle is the same."
In the Birmingham case, the
U.S. Supreme Court upheld
rulings by the federal district
court in Detroit and the appe-
als court in Cincinnati pro-
hibiting the display of a
Christmas creche at Birmin-
gham city hall.

Dilley said the AUSCS may
take the case to federal district
court in Grand Rapids within
the next three months in order
to have a ruling before
Chanukah begins next De-
cember. Despite his request to
city officials last fall, they did
not inform him in October or
November when Chabad
applied for the city permit to
erect the menorah this year.
"We could have taken court ac-
tion then if we had known," he
said.
Rabbi Albert Lewis of Tem-
ple Emanuel told The Jewish
News that Jewish communal
response "was opposed at that
time. I don't know what senti-
ment there was this year" — he
was on vacation — "but my
suspicion is that it has died
down. There was no coordi-
nated effort or even discussion
this year . . . People don't seem
to be upset anymore, or if they
are, they aren't going to do
anything about it."
Rabbi Lewis believes the
menorah display has raised
deeper issues for the Jewish
community to consider: why
Jews are upset about the public
display of a menorah, and
Lubavitch insensitivity to the
feelings of the Jewish com-
munity.
"The public display makes
some Jews feel uncomforta-
ble," the rabbi said. "We have
to examine why they feel un-
comfortable" when all indi-
cators of religious tolerance
point to better relations in the
U.S. But, he added, conflicting
legal rulings on Christmas
displays in Chicago, Birmin-
gham, Dearborn and Pawtuc-
ket have clouded the issue of
separation of church and state.
He believes another issue for
Grand Rapids Jews is: "Does
Chabad remind us of things
Jewish we don't want to re-
member?"
Rabbi Lewis said he has ut-
most respect for Chabad House
of Western Michigan's Rabbi
Yosef Weingarten and
Chabad's outreach and prison
chaplaincy programs. He
would like to see a dialogue be-
tween leaders of Ahavas Israel,
Temple Emanuel and Chabad
House, and feels "the dialogue
would be more important than
whether the menorah goes up
again or not."
"I personally don't believe
the dialogue will change their
minds," Lewis said. "In 1984,
when the menorah was erected
for the first time, Rabbi Wein-
garten understood our feelings
but said he had a directive from

the Lubavitcher Rebbe that he
must follow. I made the anal-
ogy to Hitler and the Nazis fol-
lowing orders, which made him
unhappy, but they went ahead
anyway."
Rabbi Weingarten was un-
available for comment Monday
and out of town on Tuesday.
Rabbi Yitzchok Kagan of the
Lubavitch Foundation in Far-
mington Hills told The Jewish
News that the national policy
of Chabad Lubavitch is to
maintain "a low profile" on
church-state issues. "Our posi-
tion is we are trying to high-
light Chanukah. We have no
position on separation of
church and state. We ask per-
mission (to erect a menorah),
and if it is legal we do it."
The Chabad has erected no
menorahs on public property in
the Detroit area in recent
years, although they have had
electric menorahs in front of
their own facilities in Oak
Park and Farmington Hills.
The group at one time placed a
menorah in front of Oak Park
city hall, "but it broke and we
did not replace it," Rabbi
Kagan said. "Artistically it
was beautiful but mechani-
cally it was a mess."
Kagan said that locally
there has been "no agitation"
over the erection of menorahs.

Soviets

Continued from Page 1

"If they say no this time it
will be very disappointing be-
cause it seems to be under very
serious consideration," Braun
said Tuesday, the day after re-
turning to Detroit. "The people
I have dealt with seem in-
terested in resolving our case,
but unfortunately they are not
the ones to make a decision."
Braun believes his 22-year-
old wife may lose her menial
job working on ice cream
machines because of a KGB
secret police visit to her
employer in December. "He
was intimidated," Braun said.
"It was the kind of menial job
you are given when you
graduate." Svetlana has an
engineering degree. The KGB,
Braun believes, will also be the
decisionmakers on Svetlana's
visa.
On the .day Braun returned to
Detroit, local newspapers dis-
closed the impending divorce of
Sandra Gubin and Alexi
Lodisev in Ann Arbor. Gubin
worked for four years to secure
her husband's release from the
Soviet Union last January, and
she charged in court papers
that Lodisev has refused to pay
rent on their Ann Arbor
apartment, compensate her for
expenses she incurred on his
behalf, or help support her or
pay for her education. He has a
$38,000 per year engineering
job in Ann Arbor.
Braun was asked if the
Gubin-Lodisev publicity would
have an effect on Svetlana's
case. "There's no way to know,"

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