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December 11, 1987 - Image 55

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-12-11

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

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attend, however, because of
inability to get a visa.
Other Lubavitcher rabbis,
while claiming success in
outreach to the Jewish com-
munity in general, cited "pro-
blems with assimilation."
This included Rabbi Chaim
Gromer of Melbourne,
Australia, who cited the
special need for Jewish
education.

In Dallas, said Rabbi
Mendel Dubrowsky, the pro-
blem of assimilation goes
with a "very materialistic
community, and a great
divorce rate." Dubrowsky said
Chabad has established "very
successful" programs for
teenagers, and support troups
for drug and alcohol abusers.
"Those who don't want to do
drugs find it very difficult to
socialize," he said.
Shemtov's son, Rabbi
Eliezer Shemtov, has for the
past two-and-a-half years
been the emissary in
Montevideo, Uruguay, where
there are an estimated 20,000
Jews. When you ask this
Shemtov how many Jews are
in the Lubavitch community,
he answers "20,000."
"We belong to the same
movement," said the younger
Shemtov, "the movement that
doesn't recognize move-
ments."
He cited two overriding pro-
blems in Uruguay's Jewish
community: 50 percent mixed
marriages and "children born
without proper education,
therefore vulnerable to
anything. They don't know
what it means to be Jews,
what differs them from other
people!'
Rabbi Mordechai Avtzon, a
native of Detroit, has been
serving as Lubavitch
emissary in Hong Kong for
the past two-and-a-half years.
Avtzon says there are about
1,000 identifying Jews living
there, "but at least 1,000 or
2,000 unidentifying. We're
finding them slowly."
One of the more unusual
shlichim at the gathering was
Rabbi Shmuel Rodal of Milan,
a diminutive, Montreal-born
rabbi who talks and jokes ef-
fusively with typical Italian
gestures after 17 years in that
country.
"There is a great percen-
tage of assimilation; the peo-
ple are very estranged from
Torah," said Rodal. "I'm not
primarily interested if they
are religious or will be
religious. Right now, in
Milan, Tutto e la moda
(fashion is everything).
"There is too much super-
ficiality," he continued. "First
of all, one has to find out what
. it's all about to be a Jew."

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

55

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