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November 17, 1989 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-11-17

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

OPINION I

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Continued from Page 7

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17:1989

The monument to the "victims of facism."

hotel at 9 a.m. to take us to
the synagogue, wait for us
there, and then escort us to
the airport. Tanya, our guide,
seemed less than thrilled
with the scheduling modifica-
tion, but we assumed plans
were set.
Saturday arrived with no
car or driver, and by 9:30 a.m.
we realized that we'd been
"had." Undeterred, we hailed
a taxi and arrived at the
synagogue just in time to
receive our aliyahs.
There were some 20 wor-
shippers, mostly elderly men,
but a few boys and young men
in their teens and 20s. The
younger ones wanted to know
all about America, asking
question after question in
halting English. One family
hoped to emigrate to
Brooklyn, and the boys
wondered which profession
made the most money. "How
many rubles a month does a
doctor make? How about a
lawyer?" Our answers stunn-
ed them.
A young student from
Odessa planned to stay in
Rostov. As he and others
pointed out, Rostov, with its
ethnic diversity (one-quarter
of its citizens are Armenians)
is much more open to Jews
than Odessa's oppressive anti-
Semitism. However, he and
other Rostov Jews are
frightened about the flip side
of glasnost, the Pamyat
(Memory).
Many feld that Pamyat is
emerging as the opposition to
Gorbachev, and there is deep
concern that a failure of
glasnost and perestroika will
find Pamyat filling the void.

Similar in its philosophy to
the Nazis, Pamyat anti-
Semitic rallies have been held
in Moscow, and the
newspapers have reported
murderous attacks on Jews in
the streets there. As an
_assimilationist put it, "We
used to be afraid for our
careers . . . now we are afraid
for our lives."
We moved on to Moscow
with plans to attend Kol
Nidre. Learning from our ex-
perience in Rostov, we didn't
inform the Intourist guide of
our intentions until 4:30 p.m.
to attend Yom Kippur ser-
vices at the Archipova Street
Synagogue (one of the city's
remaining two) for a 5 p.m. ar-
rival. At first there were only
a handful of us, but by 6,
every seat in the sanctuary
and both balconies was filled
with the aisles overflowing.
Many had no prayer books,
kipot or tallesim. They wore
handkerchiefs on their heads,
or caps and hats, and par-
ticipated as best they could.
Prayer books of every size and
description, wrapped in Rus-
sian newspapers and conceal-
ed in plastic shopping bags,
were pulled out and shared
with neighbors.
The next day, we met
Judith Lurie in front of our
hotel. Matriarch of a well-
known refusenik family,
Judith, her husband
Emanuel and daughter Bella
have waited for 10 years for
permission to emigrate to
Israel where they long to join
other family members. They
have been denied their exit
visas all these years, alleged-
Continued on Page 24

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