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July 28, 1989 - Image 31

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-07-28

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

An Outstanding

Also tabled last week were
the so-called "Slepak Prin-
ciples," an attempt to
establish a set of voluntary
principles for U.S. companies
doing business in the Soviet
Although the National Con-

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ference had not yet taken a
formal position, many of its
member agencies were con-
cerned that the measure
would undercut efforts to
reward the Soviets for the re-
cent surge in Jewish

CFJ Helps Define
Lautenberg Refugee Bill

The Council of Jewish
Federations Washington Ac-
tion Office played a pivotal
role in a compromise that pro-
duced a Senate version of the
Morrison-Lautenberg bill, the
measure designed to reverse
recent changes in refugee pro-
cessing procedures. These
changes have resulted in a re-
jection rate among Soviet
Jews seeking refugee status
of more than 20 percent in re-
cent months.
The original bill, as passed
by the House, would have
restored the automatic
presumption that certain
groups, including Soviet Jews,
merit refugee status.
But the administration,
which quietly began chang-
ing refugee policies last year
to cut down on immigrants
entering under the more ex-
pensive refugee classification,
vigorously opposed the
measure. So did Sen. Alan
Simpson, R-Wyo., a major
power in the Senate on im-

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migration issues.

The resulting compromise
seemed to satisfy most Soviet
Jewry activists. "What the
compromise does is establish
profiles of groups within the
Soviet Union and Vietnam
that have long histories of
persecution," said Ellen Wit-
man, who helped hammer out
the deal. "It creates
categories within those
broader categories, with
lower evidentiary standards
than for people outside those
The bill, which allows
Soviet Jews whose refugee
status has been rejected in re-
cent months to reapply under
the new standards, now goes
to conference, where dif-
ferences between the House
and Senate versions will be
worked out — and where
Soviet Jewry activists may
press for changes to bring the
final product more in line
with the original legislation.

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Snyder's pitch, according to
Landsberg, produced an out-
pouring of support from a
wide range of organizations,
although scheduling would
present some problems for
observant Jews.
"The march was scheduled
for a Saturday, and the event
was between Rosh Hashanah
and Yom Kippur," said Land-
sberg, a member of the steer-
ing committee. "We couldn't
ask our congregants to leave
their homes between
holidays." Landsberg and her
colleagues went back to the
coalition and successfully
argued for a shift in focus
from a single event to a three-
week-long series of activities
around the country.
Although they are careful
not to urge Jews to leave
home during the holidays, the
center is asking member con-
gregations to open their doors
to Jewish marchers for High
Holiday services.

o wel"
e ars


RAC Gets Housing
March Rescheduled

The Religious Action
Center of Reform Judaism is
getting serious about the
issue of homelessness. The
group is participating in
plans for a series of marches,
lobbying activities and
seminars under the banner of
"Housing Now." The event is
scheduled for early October,
and to ensure Jewish par-
ticipation, planners of the
event made some accommoda-
tions for religious Jews.
The center was approached
last year by Mitch Snyder, a
well-known advocate for the
homeless in Washington.
"He told us he was plann-
ing a major mobilization to
bring the issue to the
forefront of the American con-
sciousness," said Rabbi Lynne
Landsberg of the center. "The
point was to let Congress
know that we no longer need
shelters; we need permanent
low-cost housing, and we need
it now."

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