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April 14, 1989 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-04-14

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

upswing again. About 13,000
Russian Jews entered the
United States in 1988, with
nearly half of them settling in
the New York area.
More than 30,000 Jews are
expected to come into the
country in 1989, with at least
12,000 of them likely to live
in New York, according to
Mark Handelman, executive
director of the New York
Association for New
Americans, a local resettle-
ment agency. Already, some
60,000 Soviet Jews are living
in the New York metropolitan
area, half of them in Brighton
Beach.
How many of the new ar-
rivals will wind up in Little
Odessa remains unclear. The
rebirth of Brighton Beach has
resulted in climbing rents
and other rising costs of liv-
ing that stretch beyond the
means of many new im-
migrants. Sandwiched bet-
ween the video stores and
vegetable markets on
Brighton Beach Avenue are
posh boutiques that sell ex-
pensive Italian leather
jackets or French designer
dresses.
In the past few years, a
growing number of Russian
Jews have been settling in
other areas such as the Ben-
sonhurst section of Brooklyn,
where housing costs are a lit-
tle less expensive. At the
Jewish Community House in
Bensonhurst, Mira Wolf — a
1979 emigre from the
Ukraine — says she would
like to see more mixing bet-
ween Russian and American
Jews. "Our goal here is not to
have a separate Russian com-
munity, but to do everything
possible to integrate them in-
to the American and Jewish
community as soon as possi-
ble."
Brighton Beach has
demonstrated both the pro-
mise and the frustrating elu-
siveness of that goal. Says one
local community activist who
works with Soviet Jews: "I
think many of the Russian
immigrants don't feel like liv-
ing in an area that is totally
Russian, that isn't giving
them a chance to adjust
culturally to life in America."
Life in America. Memories
of a distant homeland. For the
Russian Jews of Brighton
Beach, a precious sense of
freedom often mixes uneasily
with the bittersweet
reminders.
Above his cash register,
Simon Feldman keeps a
childhood picture of himself
dressed in a Russian military
uniform. But he brushes
aside the question of whether
he ever entertains thoughts
about a return visit to Russia.
"No, and I never will."



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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS ,35

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