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November 17, 1989 - Image 7

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

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

CONTENTS

Glasnost, Emigration
Don't Change Bias

THOMAS GLAZIER

W

ith all the current
news of "openness"
and "economic
restructuring" in Russia,
Americans assume, naturally,
that the lot of Soviet Jewry is
improving. A recent trip to
the Soviet Union, however,
convinces me that the
American Jewish community
should not reduce its
vigilance- with regard to our
Russian brothers and sisters.
Our travels took us to only
two Russian cities, Moscow
and Rostov-on-Don, but we
had many encounters with
Jews and Jewish experiences
during our 10 days there. The
word from a spectrum of Jews,
ranging from assimilationists
to refuseniks, is that we
should not be fooled by the ap-
pearance that life is getting
better for them. In fact, they

Saturday arrived
and with no car or
driver we realized
we had been had.

submit, this is exactly the im-
pression that Gorbachev and
Company is trying to leave
with the Western public.
They say, instead, that they
are terrified by the undercur-
rent of anti-Semitism that is
sweeping the nation, and they
fear that American Jews will
become complacent with the
knowledge that record
numbers will be allowed to
emigrate this year. Yet
despite repression, both sub-
tle and overt, the Jewish
spirit has not been crushed.
Rostov-on-Don is a city in
southern Russia of over a
million people, with 15,000
Jews "masquerading as Rus-
sians," as one of our relatives
there put it. Its pre-World
War II population of over
50,000 Jews was cut in half
when 27,000 of them were
lead, by complicit Rostovites,
to death by firing squad in a
ravine outside the city in
1943.
The massive memorial to
this slaughter says only that
these were "Soviet citizens"
murdered by the Fascists. Ap-
parently, the official version
is unwilling to acknowledge
the anti-Semitic nature of

Tom Glaser is executive
director of the Athens, Ga.,
Area Chamber of Commerce.
He, his wife Connie, and
father-in-law Bernard Brown
of Detroit, spent 10 days in
the Soviet Union in October.

this atrocity almost 50 years
after occurrence. Likewise, it
is impossible to find graves of
grandparents and great-
grandparents in Rostov's
Jewish cemetery since the
Nazis desecrated the sites
during the war by burying
their own on top of 1png
deceased Jews.
Our Rostov relatives
acknowledged their
Jewishness to us without do-
ing so publicly. However, 70
years of official Soviet
atheism, with its particular
prejudice against Judaism,
has accomplished in many
ways the obliteration of the
Jewish religion.
Pre-war Rostov boasted 20
synagogues; now there is one.
There has been significant in-
termarriage within our
Rostov family, and their
knowledge of Jewish holidays,
Yiddish and Hebrew is
almost nil.
Yet they feel their
Jewishness on some level
despite the negative conse-
quences of overtly displaying
their heritage in any way.
They were eager to hear our
accounts of contemporary
American Jewish life as well
as help us piece together the
puzzle of our common family
history in the old and new
countries. Our gifts of a
Jewish calendar and holiday
book were appreciated along
with the winter clothes we
brought them, and these
items seemed to kindle the
Jewish flame within.
Ever cautious to shield the
relatives from the potential
fallout of our Jewish research,
we asked the driver to drop off
our 15-year-old cousin before
heading into the old Rostov
ghetto to look for the surviv-
ing synagogue.
We were delighted to en-
counter Asher, the elderly
shammes who spoke Yiddish
with my father-in-law. Asher
invited us into the vestibule
which was being restored by
two younger Jewish men The
sanctuary and bimah were
freshly painted, and an office
was being constructed for the
rabbi, much to our surprise.
Asher encouraged us to
return for services on
Saturday.
Our itinerary called for a
noon flight from Rostov to
Moscow, but we were deter-
mined to experience Jewish
worship in the city my wife's
grandfather had left 75 years
ago. We told our Intourist
guide to make arrangements
for the car to pick us up at the

Continued on Page 22

26

CLOSE-UP

Searcher For
The Lost Tribes

HELEN DAVIS
A British scholar has chased
the dispersed for 25 years.

42

FAMILY LIFE

Diaper U.

ALAN HITSKY
`Classes' for the youngest set
get mothers back to work.

55

SPORTS

Setting Its Sites

42

RICHARD PEARL
The Center/Maccabia Games
have their venues in place.

60

EDUCATION

Two Worlds

AARON HALABE
The Yeshiva marks 75 years
of preparing Jewish students.

69

ENTERTAINMENT

Acting Itch

STEVEN M. HARTZ
In the classroom or theater,
Marjorie Gluckman takes center stage.

93

SINGLE LIFE

60

From Russia
With Love

LISA JACKNOW ELLIAS
Soviet Jewish singles have to
work at Detroit's social life.

96

LIFESTYLES

Multi-Colored

CARLA JEAN SCHWARTZ
Eric Lipson is switching
from outdoors to building doors.

DEPARTMENTS

30
32
47
48

Inside Washington
Capitol Report
Community
Synagogues

66
104
106
134

Fine Arts
Births
Classified Ads
Obituaries

CANDLELIGHTING

69

Friday, November 17, 1989 4:52 p.m.
Sabbath ends Nov. 18 5:55 p.m.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

7

rai
d k I I I a I
L

OPINION

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