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July 15, 1988 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-07-15

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No Exit

Late last week, the American Embassy in Moscow announced
it would temporarily cease issuing refugee visas to Soviet citizens
seeking to emigrate to the United States. The ban will be in effect
until October 1.
The move, which prevents thousands of Armenians and dozens
of Jews from moving to the West, was stunning and rationalized pure-
ly in economic terms. According to one State Department official,
the department's refugee admissions budget has "an absolute up-
per limit" on the number of refugees who can be admitted to the U.S.
True, everything does have its limits, especially when it comes
to budgets. But the visa suspension comes at a crucial juncture in
U.S.-Soviet relations. With glasnost, perestroika and reform-minded
Mikhail Gorbachev on the rise in Moscow, it is of paramount impor-
tance that Washington maintain its almost two decades of pressure
on the Kremlin to relax its draconian emigration policy.
The fact that not that many people — a few thousand, perhaps,
at the most — will be immediately affected by the American hiatus
on refugee visas is irrelevant. What is important is the message —
and its possible long-range ramifications — that the suspension sends
to the Soviets: It suggests that American resolution on Soviet emigra-
tion is waning. Given the present opportunities in U.S.-Soviet rela-
tions, this is one of the last messages that should be sent to the
The visa suspension expires three months from now That is much
too long. It should be repealed now

surgery. Among these are reconstructive surgery and removal of skin
cancers. But to have cosmetic surgery performed so one can look less
Jewish — or not Jewish at all — is an affront both to oneself and
to one's people. Some Orthodox Jews would add that it is an affront
to God, from whom our bodies, in a sense, are on loan.
In America, some Jews have tried to hide their ancestry and their
roots. They, like some other ethnic groups, have tried to pass as
Americans, that amorphous, yet appealing mythical image. (What,
after all, does "an American" look like?) But today's medical
technology allows for the possibility of the ultimate assimilation:
lb look like "an American," not just to act or dress like one.
Claims of some cosmetic surgery patients that the procedure has
bolstered their confidence belies the truism that confidence comes
from a sense of who one is — and not who one would like to be.
Surgery that lets one masquerade as somebody else must come with
heavy psychological costs if it requires minimizing or denying one's
own Jewishness. The costs — and dangers — of assimilation are high
enough without requiring us to masquerade as someone other than
who we are.


Mythical Masquerade

We had hoped that ethnic pride was on the upswing, but the latest
news from Los Angeles and other major cities indicates that some
Jews, at least, still have a problem with looking like Jews. Six per-
cent of Angelenos are Jewish, yet between one-third to one-half of
the patients of the city's cosmetic surgeons — and half of such
surgeons' operations on noses are done on Jewish noses. In Detroit
and other cities, there appears to be a similar disproportion of Jews
flocking to cosmetic surgeons.
Certainly, there are some valid reasons to elect to have cosmetic


UJA Critic
Needs Specifics

ProfessorJaffe's article
("Combattiing Crisis in
Jewish Philanthropy," June 3)
would have so much more
meaning if he had specified
instances of waste instead of
smearing the United Jewish
Appeal with such a broad
brush. There is no doubt that
waste and ineffeciency exist
— name a profit-making in-
stitution that is free of either.
Who, specifically, does he
name as "rightful
dispensers" (of funds), and
who defines "rational
criteria"? And who are the
"thousands of salaried
employees" that constitute
the fund-raising effort? I
know of the unpaid
volunteers — I'm one — who
unstintingly give of their


FRIDAY, July 15 1988


time and effort, but, the only
salaried employees I know of
perform many necessary
functions in addition to the ef-
forts expended on behalf of
If UJA claims 60 percent of
funds to Israel go towards
welfare needs, let Professor
Jaffe, who claims it a "narrow
definition of welfare," go on to
spell out a clearer one. Let
him name the "second-string
. . . politicians" who knee-jerk
to the donors abroad, and tell
us what they've done that he
finds so unacceptable. Have
him tell us what "radical
reform" in governance of
funds he recommends (He
may have some good ideas!).
Professor Jaffe recites many
areas and attitudes that could
stand improvement — he's
right — but, like criticism of
our (U.S.) form of government,
we stick with it because we've

yet to find one we like better.

Irwin D. Meyers
Brevard, N.C.

Home Concerned
About Cutbacks

The front-page Jewish
News article (July 8) on the
state budget impact on the
Jewish Home for Aged's care
for our Jewish elderly is most
appreciated by all those in-
volved in this critical issue.
We continue to be concerned
about possible cutbacks in
Medicaid reimbursements to
nursing homes, and the effect
this would have on our
residents. We, therefore, urge
the community to continue
communicating with
legislators in Lansing while
they consider the 1988-1989
In the article's final

sentence, an inaccurate state-
ment was made regarding the
wage levels of Jewish Home
for Aged staff. Actually, 14
percent of the 400-member
Jewish Home for Aged staff
earns minimum wage, while
27 percent earn below $4.00
per hour. To maintain quali-
ty staffing, the Jewish Home
for Aged budget must reflect
adequate wages. Over 70 per-
cent of the Jewish Home for
Aged caregivers receive more
than $4.00 per hour.
Once again, we thank The
Jewish News for its coverage
of the funding issue.

Alan S. Funk
Executive Vice President
Jewish Home For Aged

Agudah Article
Is Appreciated

I want to compliment The

Jewish News on its nice
presentation on the Agudath
Israel and its Washington lob-
by (July 1).
We can see that Torah
values can be applied and can
fit in with our system of
government and, yes, coali-
tions and alliances can be
formed without "coalition
politics that involves com-
promising one's principles
and losing one's identity as a

Alan Gordon
West Bloomfield

Demjanjuk Case
Is Criticized

I am an American Jew and
a trial lawyer who has been
active in the cause of Soviet
Jewry and human rights for
a number of years. I have ex-

Continued on Page 10

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