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August 04, 1989 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-08-04

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American, Soviet Families
Connect At Special Picnic


Staff Writer


he Russian and Yid-
dish tunes filled the
air and the Soviet and
American parents talked.
But it was the children and
the balloons that stole the
show Sunday at the first
Family-to-Family Picnic.
"We had no idea the
balloons would be so popular,"
said Gloria Cohen of the four
dozen brightly colored helium
spheres which mezmerized
the mob of Soviet and
American youngsters at the
party that welcomed Detroit's
Soviet Jewish newcomers.
The balloons bobbed and
weaved as the youngsters —
many of them meeting their
counterparts for the first time

— played together at Camp
Ruth on the Maple/Drake
Jewish Community Center
campus, becoming instant
friends in spite of language
The children's play perhaps
symbolized the goal of the
committee: to be a friend to
the Soviet newcomers and to
connect them through a one-
on-one, family-to-family ap-
proach, as Cohen explained to
the gathering.
Cohen is programming
chairman of the committee,
which is a joint effort between
National Council of Jewish
Women-Detroit Chapter and
the Detroit Jewish Welfare
Federation Women's Division.
On Sunday, the efforts
brought together about 30
Soviet and American families

— a crowd of about 100 people.
"What was thrilling to me
was seeing all the children,"
said Ellen Labes of Bir-
mingham. She and husband
Jim have "adopted" the
Soviet family of Alex and
Ludmilla (Luda) Vyortkin,
formerly of Baku in Azerbai-
jan, now of Oak Park.
"I hope they (the Soviets)
sense a feeling of warmth. It
was a treat for us to be there.
It was a good beginning," said
Labes, a member of the Soviet
Jewry Committee the last
three years. She and her hus-
band visited refuseniks last
summer in the Soviet Union.
"Thank God they're out of
the Soviet Union. For the first
time, they've had freedom of
choice, and they chose to come
to the United States, like our


52,000 Acres
Ruined In Israel

French Map
Excludes Israel

Fires have destroyed more
than 52,000 acres of forest
land in Israel, the Jewish Na-
tional Fund recently
September 1988, fires con-
sumed almost 40,000 acres of
land. More than 1.2 million
trees were destroyed,
resulting in an estimated $40
million in damages. It was
the worst wave of forest arson
and brush fires in Israel's
40-year history.
And more than 450 fires
were reported in Israel from
March to June 1989, destroy-
ing nearly 100,000 trees and
12,000 acres of forest land.
More than 50 percent of the
fires were the result of
deliberate arson, authorities
JNF forestry experts say
they anticipate the total
number of fires this year may
reach, or even exceed, last
year's total.

Michelin, a Paris-based
publishing house of maps and
travel books, has produced a
map omitting Israel and
listing Jerusalem, Tel Aviv,
Haifa and all the West Bank
as part of the Hashemite
Kingdom of Jordan, according
to the World Zionist
"I have just returned from
a visit to the State of Israel —
my passport can attest to
that — but according to the
latest Michelin map I visited
Jordan," said Bernice Tan-
nebaum, WZO-American sec-
tion chairman.
The WZO has called on
Michelin to recall its map and
reissue a corrected version.

The Kosher Dogs
Of Baltimore

Take me out to the
ballpark; come rain, come
shine or come fog; you pro-
bably think it's the game that
I like; but I'm really after a
kosher hot dog .. .
Last month, the Baltimore
Orioles became the first ma-
jor league sports franchise in
the United States to offer a
kosher food concession.

"Play ball? I'd rather be eating a
kosher hot dog!"

Called Premeir At The
Ballpark, the concession will
offer kosher hot dogs and cor-
ned beef, turkey and pastrami
sandwiches. It will be under
the supervision of the Vaad

Papp To Host

New York — Producer
Joseph Papp has agreed to
present within the next year
the play The Story of Ku fur
Shamma by the El-Hakawati
Palestinian Theater Com-
pany, at his Public Theater in
The play tells the story of a
Palestinian's search for his
family following the Israeli
War of Independence in 1948.
Papp originally cancelled a
showing of the play, which is
on tour in North America, at
his theater. He apparently
changed his mind following
his meeting with members of
several Arab groups.
Papp said he will find an
Israeli play about the Middle
East to present at the same

Newsletter Has
Christian Ad

The July pre-convention
issue of The Covenant, the
newsletter of B'nai B'rith
District Six serving Michigan
and several other Midwestern
states, includes an ad from a
company "Where Jesus Is
The advertisement was
placed by a roofing company
in Garden City, Mich.
A spokesman for B'nai
B'rith District Six said the
matter is under investigation.
A California-based company
solicits advertising for B'nai
B'rith District Six.
Compiled by
Elizabeth Applebaum

Grigory, 2, and his mother Marina Lupyan enjoy his balloons as Fira
Ekelchik, her cousin David Saul of Rochester and her husband Avram
look on.

grandparents did. For the
first time, it's a wonderful
beginning for them and us."
Both Jim Labes and Alex
Vyortkin are physicians.
Labes, an obstetrician, is try-
ing to help Vyortkin, a car-
diologist, meet fellow
specialists at Sinai Hospital.
While Alex studies daily for

his U.S. and state medical cer-
tification examinations, his
wife Luda, an engineer, is stu-
dying at a beauty school to
help support the family. The
Labeses will be available to
help in all areas of the Vyor-
tkins' adjustment — in-
cluding taking them to

Continued on Page 12

Recent Anti-Semtism
May Indicate Trend


Jewish News Intern


n anti-Semitic inci-
dent at a fraternal
lodge in Waterford
Township has prompted a
police investigation.
According to Waterford
Police Officer John McLain, a
group of vandals broke into
the Knights of Pythias lodge
on Voorheis near Thlegraph
Road on July 27.
The vandals used ceremo-
nial swords, trophies, pool
cues and fire extinguishers to
punch holes in the interior
walls of the lodge, McLain
said. Pop bottles and display
cases were shattered; tele-
phone cords were ripped from
the walls, and ceremonial
garb and furnishings were
damaged. The vandals also
spray-painted anti-Semitic
slogans and swastikas, caus-
ing between $10,000 and
$20,000 in interior damage,
McLain said.
McLain said the vandals
may have mistakenly believ-
ed the lodge to be a religious
society. The Knights of
Pythias is a 125-year old

nondenominational organiza-
tion devoted to charitable and
community work.
"At this point it seems like
it was just a bunch of nitwit
kids, and as a result they
didn't know what else to put
on the walls," McLain said.
"Anti-Semitic slurs were pro-
bably the only thing they
knew how to spell."
A smaller incident occurred
the following day in Orchard
Lake when two swastikas
were reported scratched into
the paint of a USA Today
newspaper box in front of Or-
chard Lake Deli and Ribs.
Richard Lobenthal, director
of the ADL, said he sees anti-
Semitism on the rise, in part
because of the increased
presence of Israel in the press.
"It's a function of a variety
of things: frustration about
Israel, anxiety about
economics, and greater activi-
ty on the part of organized
hate groups, including but
not limited to skinheads," he
"I would predict a signifi-
cant increase over last year.
Vandalism, violence and har-
rassments seem to have in-
creased,"Lobenthal said. 0



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