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March 10, 1989 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-03-10

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

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Solidarity Mission Hosts
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TEEN CARAVAN

DAVID HOLZEL

Israel Correspondent

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38

FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 1989

aturday night was the
first time Shirley
Subar Skalash had
met with anyone from Detroit
since she left Michigan for
Israel 26 years ago. "I was
very excited to get the invita-
tion," she said. "Twenty-six
years is a long time."
Skalash was one of 200
Detroiters living in Israel in-
vited and 85 shared their ex-
periences at Jerusalem's
Laromme Hotel Saturday
night with the 78 par-
ticipants of the Jewish Com-
munity Council's Solidarity
Trip to Israel. The Saturday
night reception, arranged
with the assistance of the
Association of Americans and
Canadians in Israel, was the
first-ever gathering of
Detroiters and their olim.
The solidarity trip was
organized by the Council "to
get Detroiters to see what's
going on in Israel and to let
Israelis know we stand with
them," said Council President
Paul D. Borman.
According to the Council's
assistant director, Allan Gale,
until now the three pillars of
Jewish community participa-
tion were synagogue member-
ship, Jewish education - for
children and contributions to
the Allied Jewish Campaign.
"We want to add a fourth —
a trip to Israel," like the
pilgrimages in Ibmple times,"
Gale said.
Plans for the solidarity trip
began last autumn as
Detroit's response to the 15
percent drop in tourism to
Israel in the wake of the
Palestinian uprising. "We see
this as a number one priori-
ty," Borman said.
At the reunion, Detroit-
born Israelis were invited to
tell about their lives. At the
prompting of Council Ex-
ecutive Director David Gad-
Harf, some spoke of what
they like best about Israel,
others of what they miss most
about Detroit.
"What makes life so great
in Israel?" said Yetta Bodson
Amster. "You can walk the
streets day and night and you
don't worry."
"The best thing is raising
our children,' said Armonite
Maroko Albalak. "My 4-year-
old is learning about Purim
now. You feel so Jewish here
so you enjoy the holidays."
Adina Asher said she likes
Israel because she feels at

home here. "I like the feeling
of being in the majority."
Idel Ross said she misses
Sanders hot fudge. Burt
Fauden had a whole list of
things he misses: the Tigers,
the Pistons (but not the
Lions), coney islands and
Windsor barbecue ribs.
At least one issue was not
brought up to the podium.
"We need mortgages," one
olah said to her friends at her
table. She was referring to the
mortgage funds that some
Jewish communities have
established to help olim buy
a home and strike deeper
roots in Israel. Detroit has no

"I hope it's the
beginning of a
truly good
dialogue between
Detroit and its
olim." — Sheldon
Klimist

such fund. Borman told The
Jewish News that there were
some promising meetings on
the subject at the Council of
Jewish Federations' General
Assembly last November.
Sheldon Klimist wondered
aloud why such a gathering
had never been attempted
before. "I hope it's the begin-
ning of a truly good dialogue
between Detroit and its olim,"
he said. "We're not asking for
blind support for Israel, but
that you take the time to
understand what's going on
here. We need your help."
Solidarity participants had
only a week to try to unders-
tand Israel. Arriving on
March 3, their itinerary in-
cluded visits to Masada, an
army base in the Golan
Heights and to Detroit's Pro-
ject Renewal sister city,
Yavneh. The group is ex-
pected to return today.

For one-third of the par-
ticipants, it was their first
time in Israel. Less than 48
hours after landing at Ben-
Gurion Airport, first-timer
Arthur Leib felt his concep-
tion of Israel had changed
completely. "It's been a
revelation," he said.
He plans to tell his friends
in Detriot about the miscon-
ception he had about Israel
caused by learning about the
country solely through the
media. "There's no reason for
Jews to stay home," he said.
Leib's wife, Miriam, was
visiting Israel for the first
time in 30 years. She said her

visit had forged closer ties
with Israel "in terms of giv-
ing money and emotional sup-
port."
Pauline Robins, Congrega-
tion Shaarey Zedek's
librarian, said her first trip to
Israel brought to life
everything she had learned
about the country from books.
Shelley Geller said she felt
"everybody's Judaism has a
better chance to flourish" in
Israel and that the Jewish
state might be "a possible
alternative to Florida as a
sunny climate" for retirees.
She noted that in exchange
for a greater sense of
Jewishness, Israelis aren't
able to afford an American
standard of living.
Geller spent the evening
collecting letters and
messages from Detroit olim to
take with her and deliver in
the United States. Borman
saw this as an example of the
links the solidarity trip was
forging between Detroiters
and their olim.
"In future trips there will
be more contacts between
Detroit people and Detroit
people in Israel. It creates
understanding both ways,"
Borman said. "This won't be
a one-time thing."
Borman was happy that 78
Detroiters had signed up for
the trip. This was a good tur-
nout in light of the leeriness
of American Jews to travel to
Israel this year, he said.
Twenty-five Detroit Jewish
organizations were
represented by the trip's par-
ticipants. "We want them to
go back and organize more
trips," said Gale.
The price of $999 was sub-
sidized at about $100 a person
by the Jewish Welfare Federa-
tion, according to Gale and
Borman.
Borman grew more en-
thusiastic about the trip and
the reunion as the night went
on. "I don't know why this
didn't go on before," he said
near the evening's end. "But
it's going to go on from now
on. It's fantastic." 111

Israel Missions
To Be -Outlined

Newcomers to the Detroit
area will learn about Israel
missions sponsored by the
Jewish Welfare Federation at
a dinner program, 8 p.m.
March 18, sponsored by the
Shalom Detroit Committee of
Federation's Women's
Division.

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