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November 24, 1989 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-11-24

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The Challenge


Resettling Soviet Jews in Israel was the prime
focus of the major American Jewish convention of
the year, the Council of Jewish Federations G.A.




incinnati — The ris-
ing tide of Soviet
Jews streaming to the
United States and Israel has
American Jewish leaders
excited about the prospect of
increased aliyah but worried
about the community's
capacity to raise hundreds of
millions of dollars to resettle
the refugees.
That issue dominated the
five-day General Assembly
of the Council of Jewish
Federations here this past
week, attended by more than
2,500 delegates from the
U.S. and Canada. The dele-
gates, most of whom are
leaders of their local federa-
tions, heard scores of
American and Israeli
leaders, including Israeli
Prime Minister Yitzhak
Shamir, stress the need for
funds — and enthusiasm —
to meet the historical
challenge of the next decade.
Delivering an eloquent
speech in a wooden manner,
Shamir appealed to the
Jewish community of North
America to "join us in active
partnership to meet this

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir being welcomed to the General
Assembly by Mandell Berman of Detroit, president of the Council of
Jewish Federations.

challenge . . . We must do
everything in the power of
the Jewish people to ensure
the success of this aliyah,"
he said. "But we must act
quickly. Experience has
taught us that, when dealing
with the Soviet Union, no
one knows what tomorrow
might bring.
"My friends," he added,
"such an opportunity occurs
once in a generation. We
must grasp it. We must not
lose it through inaction,
debates on technicalities, or

West Bloomfield Rejects
B'nai Moshe's Plans


Staff Writer


'nai Moshe's plans to
build a synagogue in
West Bloomfield have
stalled after the West
Bloomfield Township Board
voted 3-2 Nov. 20 to deny a
special use permit.
However, Lubavitch
Foundation plans to build a
religious retreat on West
Maple Road were given a
boost by the board.
About 45 B'nai Moshe
members sat in stunned si-
lence after board members
Sharon Law, Denise Ham-
mond and Dennis Vatsis
voted against the
synagogue's proposal to

build a new facility on Drake
Road south of Maple Road.
Attorneys Chris Varjabe-
dian and James Taft-ate, rep-
resenting Tony and
Marianne Iafrate who own a
five-acre parcel south of the
synagogue's proposed site,
told board members if the
synagogue is built it would
prevent the Iafrates from
marketing the property at
its "highest and best use."
If the synagogue was ap-
proved, the parcel will "have
tiny houses that cost too
much money," Varjabedian
said, showing a subdivision
site plan with seven houses.
Instead, if the entire 20
acres was developed as sin-
Continued on Page 24

But there is an am-
bivalence and sense of cau-
tion among American
Jewish leaders regarding
this huge financial commit-
ment, and it was reflected in
a mood at the General
Assembly (G.A.) that focused
on budgetary process more
than emotional urgency.
Several key national leaders
noted that it was only after
they complained about the
lack of resettlement em-
phasis on the G.A. program
that it was changed six
weeks ago to devote almost a
full day to the issue.
And there was a feeling
that the G.A. failed to pro-
vide a dramatic setting with
which to impart that sense of
urgency to the delegates.
"The process is taking
precedence over the need,
and that's wrong," said one
national leader who had
argued unsuccessfully for a
major plenary session early
in the conference designed to
transmit an emergency at-
mosphere. She and others
wondered why the United
Jewish Appeal is waiting
until January to launch a
special campaign for
resettlement, knowing that
Moscow's open door policy
could change at any mo-
Simcha Dinitz, chairman
of the Jewish Agency for
Israel and former Israeli
Ambassador to the U.S., ad-
dressed those concerns in his
Continued on Page 16

Whether made in batches of one
or 2,000, there's nothing quite
like challah.

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