I CONTENTS 1"--
NYTimes And AIPAC
One of the nation's most respected
newspapers countered a critical Wall
Street Journal article on the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
The Jewish Catskills of
Michigan has irreversibly
changed, but the glory
years are remembered.
During a protest in Israel, Soviet emigres hold pictures of their children who have not been allowed to leave the
There Are Very Few Absolutes
In The Soviets' Jewish Policies
JOHN H. SHEPHERD
wring a recent visit to the Soviet
Union, we carried with us the
standard package of images that
are familiar to all Jews traveling to the
• Jews want to leave because they are
not allowed to live as Jews.
• The Soviets will not let them leave
because the Soviet Union is anti-Semitic
and cannot afford to allow any group to
depart for fear that the flood gates will
open resulting in a massive brain drain.
• When Jews apply to leave they
automatically suffer severe economic hard-
ship and are ostracized by their Soviet
friends and neighbors.
• Americans who wish to make contact
with Soviet Jews must do so clandestinely
since hotel rooms are bligged, they will be
followed and there will be adverse conse-
quences for the Soviet Jews whom they
Two weeks in the Soviet Union, visits
to several Jewish families in three cities
and discussions with Soviet Jews who now
live here lead me to believe that the real
picture is somewhat different — not better
— but different.
My, first altered image finds that most
Jews who want to leave are frustrated in
their desire to live as Soviet citizens. The
words "Evrai" or "Evraika," Jew or Jewess,
are written on the passport of every Jew
and this stands in the way of gaining equal
treatment with other Soviet citizens. One
John Shepherd is a judge of the Michigan Court of
Appeals and former president of the Jewish
Community Council of Metropolitan Detroit.
young Jewish man (not a refusenik), train-
ed as a technical specialist, told me of the
numerous times he has applied for jobs
where vacancies are posted, only to be told
there is no opening when he shows his
passport. He was not certain just what a
bar mitzvah was and wants to leave so that
he can work to his full potential in his field.
He is now studying Hebrew.
A refusenik of nine years standing said
he had been an assimilated Russian until
he was refused. Now he studies Judaism
regularly and looks forward to living a
Jewish life in Israel. He stated without
hesitation that it is the inability to live as
any other Soviet citizen that drives most
Jews to seek to leave.
So why do the Soviets keep this issue
boiling? The pressure could be reduced con-
siderably if they would only take "Evrai"
off of the passports and moderately relax
religious limitations for those who want to
be observant. Certainly anti-Semitism, ad-
ministrative inertia and fear of a torrent
of emigrants enter in — but these are not
the only causes.
A further answer came during our visit
to the apartment of Vili Palanker in
Armenia (Martha A. Churchill wrote about
her earlier visit to the Palankers in the Ju-
ly 10 issue of The Jewish News). We arriv-
ed at the apartment at about 9:30 p.m. and
were told that Mrs. Palanker was in
Moscow to see the head of the central Ovir
(Immigration Office). She had called Vili
at 6:30 p.m. that day to say that they were
During her talks at Ovir she express-
ed the opinion that Jews were not being
refused for religious reasons but, rather,
were being held hostages to the on-going
Continued on Page 12
Charlevoix is beautiful for
many Jewish families who
make it their summer home.
Page 1 photograph: The Lewis, Erman and
Lefkowitz families on Lake Charlevoix.
Former immigrants from seven to 77
celebrated their U.S. citizenship on
Kids Of The Covenant
AZA and BBG offer plenty for Jewish
teens, but it is not always appreciated
A' Hero Of The Riot
Isolated Jewish families were aided
by a black cab driver during the 1967 riots.
Smarts For The Arts
There's a "Silver" touch on the pulse
of Jewish cultural activities in Detroit.
July 31, 1987
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS