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February 10, 1989 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-02-10

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Sharansky For U.N.

There has been much discussion this past week as to whether
his proposed appointment as Israel's ambassador to the United Na-
tions would be a brilliant diplomatic maneuver or a foolish public
relations stunt.
Both sides agree that Sharansky has proven, since his release
from the Soviet Union three years ago this weekend, that he is a
man of intelligence, dignity and charm. But those criticial of the
appointment suggest that for Israel to appoint Sharansky to this
key diplomatic post at a particularly sensitive time in Israel-USSR
relations — when emigration has improved and there is talk of renew-
ing formal diplomatic ties — would be perceived by Moscow as a
deliberate slap in the face.
Proponents of the appointment assert that Sharansky knows the
Soviet system from the inside, is a master advocate, and symbolizes
life in Israel as the fulfillment and ideal of Judaism and Zionism.
The Kremlin does not have to like Sharansky, it just has to deal
with him. And he has proven his skill, courage and strength in deal-
ing with Moscow before. We support the appointment of Natan
Sharansky and think that he would bring credibility and honor to
the United Nations post.

mune from woman batterings or child batterings. Steinberg and
Nussbaum were both educated (he is a disbarred lawyer; she is a
former children's book editor). They made a respectable living. They
were both Jewish. They were, quite sadly, the people next door to
all of us.
Around the country, Lisa Steinberg's death has sensitized the
public and social service agencies to child abuse.
Our society needs to look more closely at the pressures that can
lead to child abuse: teenage pregnancies, financial tensions, marital
pressures, substance abuse, poor family planning. It also needs to
look at adoptions by couples who are not prepared for children and
at adoptions, such as Steinberg's and Nussbaum's, that were clear-
ly illegal.
For now, Joel Steinberg heads off to jail and Hedda Nussbaum
to whatever private hell her conscience may take her to. The rest
of us have an obligation to assure that there are no more Lisa
Steinbergs in the world. We must reach out to those in trouble, im-
prove our social services, strengthen law enforcement to prevent il-
legal adoptions and change existing adoption procedures.

No More Lisas

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The 13-week Joel Steinberg trial in New York is over, and many
people feel justice did not quite prevail. The jury acquitted Steinberg
on charges of murdering his illegally adopted 6-year-old daughter,
Lisa. Instead, it convicted him on a count of first-degree
manslaughter. Steinberg now faces a maximum prison term of eight
to 25 years.
From all we have read of Steinberg's treatment of his daughter
and his live-in lover, Hedda Nussbaum, he deserves every moment
behind bars. But there are lessons in this case that resonate beyond
revenge or repulsion.
For the long weeks that the nation was riveted to the sensa-
tionalistic trial, three issues came out of the closet: child abuse and
Wife battering among the middle-class and illegal adoptions. The
Steinberg case too graphically proves that no strata of society is im-



Some Hopeful Signs In Black-Jewish Relations


Special to The Jewish News


lack-Jewish relations
are in the news again,
this time in a positive
way. A standing room only
crowd came to hear the
Reverend Jesse Jackson ad-
dress a Friday night service
at Congregation Hakafa in
Winnetka, Illinois just out-
side Chicago a few weeks ago.
It was one of nearly a dozen
Chicago area pulpit ex-
changes between black and
Jewish religious leaders since
the difficulties of last summer
involving Steve Cokely, an
aide to Chicago mayor
Eugene Sawyer. Cokely made
virulently anti-Semitic
remarks and was dismissed,
but only after what many felt



was an unconscionable delay
on the mayor's part.
The service was billed as a
message of healing and was
held in commemoration of
Kristallnacht. Mr. Jackson's
message that evening: "The
sons and the daughters of the
Holocaust, and the sons and
daughters of slavery, must
find common ground again."
The Jackson visit went well
but many in the congregation
remained skeptical about
Jackson's sincerity.
A few days later a major
gathering of blacks and Jews
took place at the Carter
Library in Atlanta to reflect
on the state of black-Jewish
relations and to attempt to
revitalize the coalition. Spon-
sored by the Religious Action
Center of Reform Judaism,
the conference produced lots

of nostalgia and good words.
But, as the New York Times
put it, "Hanging like a cloud
over the conference was the
realization that the coalition
had died, and many par-
ticipants took a gingerly ap-
proach in explaining the
reasons why."
"The golden age of black-
Jewish relations is certainly
long gone. A number of real
differences have separated
blacks and Jews from each
other. Blacks feel deserted by
Jews because while Jews are
generally supportive of many
affirmative action programs
they don't support quotas. As
Judge Nathaniel R. Jones of
the U.S. Court of Appeals, a
black participant in the
Atlanta conference put it,
"Some Jewish groups began
attacking remedies such as

busing and affirmative action
without realizing that the
remedies were indivisible and
to attack one weakened all."
Blacks were angry about
what they viewed as an
Israel-South Africa connec-
tion and were disappointed
that American Jews would
not criticize the relationship.
For Jews the paramount issue
has been black anti-Semitism
and anti-Zionism, and the
failure of responsible black
leaders to condemn it and
detach themselves from its
A certain lack of symmetry
between the issues of greatest
concern to each community
should be noted. It's true that
those Jews who oppose affirm-
ative action quotas do so out
of self-interest. Mandatory in-
clusion of minorities means

the exclusion of better
qualified whites, including
Jews. Voting self-interest
may not deserve high ac-
colades, but it's the way most
people vote and doesn't
deserve condemnation either.
Jews actually do it less con-
sistently than other groups.
It's been said that Jews live
like Episcopalians and vote
like Puerto Ricans. Be that as
it may, it's hardly fair to ex-
pect even one's friends and
coalition partners to vote
against their own perceived
best interests, and black ex-
pectations of Jews on quotas
may simply be unrealistic.
Jews have no analogous ex-
pectation of blacks. Jews look
to black leadership to con-
demn anti-Semitism and

Continued on Page 10

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