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December 22, 1989 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-22

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

OPINION

CONTENTS

The Task Will Remain
Inside The Soviet Union

T

hirty years ago, Elie
Wiesel called the Jews
of the Soviet Union the
Jews of Silence.
Today that description is no
longer accurate. lbday, more
than ever, they are the Jews
of Hope, the Jews of Fear, and,
most of all, the Jews of Need.
In an unprecedented return
to their cultural, religious,
and national roots, Jewish
associations, clubs, and
societies and springing up all
over the Soviet Union.
Tolerated — so far — by
authorities, they are like
vulnerable and tender flowers
that push their way towards
the sun through a melting
spring snow. They teach
Hebrew. They talk of the pro-
ud and tragic past of the
Jewish People. They bring
back traditions that were
thought to have been
destroyed by the Soviets. They
demand that the Holocaust
be recognized as a Jewish
tragedy, a fact that
authorities will not admit,
even in this era of glasnost.
This rebirth of Jewishness
is a new stage in the contem-
porary histry of Soviet Jews.
The struggle for identity that
had been confined to Moscow,
Leningrad, the Baltics, Keiv
and a few other large centers
has spread like wildfire dur-
ing the last 12 months and
few Soviet Jews remain
unaware of it.
But, as always, there is fear.
Fear of the pogroms they
believe will come. There is the
feeling — no, the certainty —
that in the long run, Jewish
life in the Soviet Union is
doomed, that tolerance, such
as it is, is a temporary
phenomenon. The refuseniks
have not disappeared in spite
of the lack of coverage of their
plight in the Western media;
every city has several of them
and the total number of Jews
being held in captivity for
specious and obscene reasons
cannot even be known with
any accuracy, for some of the
applicants in the more remote
regions are unknown even to

US.

Soviet Jews are aware of the
rise of popular anti-Semitism
with the growth of
chauvinist, ultra-nationalist

Frumkin is the chairman of
the South California Council
for Soviet Jews and a
member of the board of the
Union of Councils for Soviet
Jews.

26

Chanukah Winners

groups like Paniyat and other
neo-Nazi movements. They
are aware of anti-Semitism in
areas where it was rare in the
past — Central Aisa,
Uzbekistan, Azerbaidjan,
Georgia. They fear that the
miserable economic condi-
tions and universal shortages
of all consumer goods will be
blamed on the traditional
scapegoat, the Jews.

They know that escape,
emigration, is the logical
solution for the vast majority
of Soviet Jews, but tragically,
even if emigration to the U.S.,
Israel and elsewhere were to
continue at the present rate,
it would be decades before all
who want to leave could do so.
Officially, there are 1.5
million Jews in the USSR; in
reality, the numbers are pro-
bably closer to 3 million.
Either way, even a 100,000
yearly emigration figure
would not exhaust the pool of
potential emigrants for many
decades.

And so we come to the great
need and to our great respon-
sibility to meet that need.
The spread of cultural
societies, study groups,
Hebrew schools and other
endeavors require help that is
of a degree of magnitude that
dwarfs anything that was
done in the past. We no longer
talk of hundreds of text-books,
cassettes, video tapes, and
other teaching aids. We talk
of thousands and tens of
thousands. During a recent
Jewish conference in the
Soviet Union, dozens of peo-
ple traveled thousands of
miles, for days, from cities and
towns we had barely -heard of
— Krasnoyarsk, Tula, Perm,
Baku,Fergama, Narva,
Kazan — to beg for help, for
assistance with textbooks, for
teachers and ways to train
teachers.
Our task is a monumental
one and it is one that must be
met. We have no choice but to
accept this responsibility. To
do less would mean the aban-
donment of the third largest
Jewish community in the
world.

The winning entries in our
contest were works of art.

EDUCATION

Welcome Home
Rabbi Akiva

ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM
Yeshiva Gedolah's T.O.R.A.
links past, present and future.

53



center

te

Our monthly family section
focuses on happy Chanukah.

ENTERTAINMENT

Marcella's
Musical Muse

71

STEVE HARTZ
Shakespear's Sister has made
much ado about everything.

FOCUS

The Fine Art
Of Marriage

71

99

ADRIEN CHANDLER
Handmade ketubot
are undergoing a renaissance.

SINGLE LIFE

Back To
Their Futures

111

RICHARD PEARL
Ex-Detroiters have returned
to greener pastures.

DEPARTMENTS

28
46
56
84

The hope is in the blooming
of Jewish culture and the
thirst for Jewish knowledge.
The fear is real and all per-
vasive, but it has not succeed-
ed in paralyzing the Soviet
Jewish community and its
leaders.

The need is for our help, our
dedication, our concern. We
must not, we cannot fail!

53

Inside Washington 96 Fine Arts
Synagogues
110 Births
On Campus
115 Classified Ads
Cooking
133 Obituaries

NEXT WEEK:
A look back at 1-696 and the Jewish community.

CANDLELIGHTING

111

Friday, December 22, 1989 4:46 p.m.
Sabbath ends Dec. 23 5:52 p.m.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS • 9

Area wm

SI FRUMKIN

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