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May 26, 1989 - Image 44

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-05-26

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Different Sound


Continued from preceding page

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house and yard are set off
from the narrow lane in front
by a stone wall and a narrow
metal gate over which hangs
a Magen David inscribed
with the word, "Tzion," a com-
mon ornament in the
Nachalat Tzion is a
labyrinth of alleyways and
courtyards near the
Machaneh Yehudah open-air
market. The neighborhood
was built near the turn of the
century by poor Jews from
rural Persia. "They built
their homes with their own
hands, using stones and low-
grade cement," Ross-Slepkov
says. "So the walls are thick,
but they're not strong."
decendents of those Persian
Jews, and others from Iraq
and Kurdistan. Because of
the area's old-world charm
and proximity to the center of
town, Nachalat Tzion has
seen an influx of middle class
Ashkenazi Israelis over the
years, as well as western olim
like the Ross-Slepkovs and art
students from the nearby
Bezalel Academy. The mix-
ture gives the ghetto-like en-
vironment a funky, bohemian
atmosphere, Ross-Slepkov
says, and is making city
developers look at the
neighborhood in a new light.
Once destined for demoli-
tion because of its poor con-
struction and inaccessibility
to roads, the neighborhood is
now destined for gentrifica-
tion. The situation during
Ross-Slepkov's childhood was
just the opposite. Middle class
Jews were leaving Detroit's
Dexter area when the Ross
family joined the exodus and
moved to Livonia in 1960.
At age 10 she became the
only Jew in her school and
had to endure the anti-
Semitic jokes her classmates
overheard their parents tell-
ing. In that environment, the
story of Anne Frank — the
Jewish girls who had to hide
from the Nazis — made a
strong impression on the
Joining a B'nai B'rith
youth group in high school
marked Ross-Slepkov's reen-
try into the Jewish world and
"started my psychological
and emotional pull toward
She studied communica-
tions and journalism at MSU
and graduated in 1972. By
the end of the year she was in
Israel, working on a kibbutz.
That experience was short-
lived. "I got to the kibbutz 30
years too late," says the
woman who came to Israel to
make a difference. "All the
work had been done."
She moved to Jerusalem
and began a string of jobs.

The Yom Kippur War of 1973
marked her coming of age in
Israel. "lb have come from an
anti-war experience in the
States to a war that was a
short drive from where you
live, involving people that you
know, was a totally different
experience. It jolted me into
what it meant to throw my lot
in with the Israeli people."
In 1975, Kol Yisrael hired
her to fill a position in the
English-language depart-
ment. She's been there ever

ldele Ross:
Mixing consumerism, music
and aliyah.

since. She says her broad-
casting style differs from
many of her colleagues who
have been influenced or train-
ed by the mannered and for-
mal British Broadcasting
Corporation. "I think about
people like Dick Purtan, Paul
Winter and Susan Stamberg.
These are the people who had
influence on me and my style
of radio," she says.
On her "Shabbat Shalom"
folk music program, she takes
requests by mail and also
passes on birthday greetings
and other messages from her
listeners. She even broadcast
a proposal of marriage one
listener made to another. Did
the couple live happily ever
after? "I don't know," Ross-
Slepkov says. "I never got an
invitation to a wedding or a
thank-you note."
More than 15 years after ar-
riving in Israel, she has
definite thoughts on the state
of aliyah today. It's a low
priority for the government,
she believes. A mass im-
migration of Soviet Jews and
Jews from the West "would
really boost morale here."
Israel should attempt to at-
tract western Jews through
'80s-style marketing
methods, she says. But she
believes that Jews will not
choose Israel as their home as
long as the economic situa-
tion is bad.
But for those who, like her,

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