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December 22, 1989 - Image 98

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

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

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U.S. Jews Blamed
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New Orleans (JTA) — A
leader of Reform Jewry has
laid much of the blame for
Soviet Jewry's large-scale
lack of involvement with
Judaism in this country at
the feet of American Jewry.
Rabbi Alexander
Schindler, president of the
Union of American Hebrew
Congregations, said many
Soviet emigre families are
dropping out of Jewish life
because American Jews
have "failed to reach out" to
the new arrivals.
Schindler told the recent
UAHC 60th biennial con-
vention here that Jewish
congregations, including
Reform synagogues, have
been "most neglectful" in
failing to encourage contact
between Soviet Jewish
emigres and the American
Jewish community.
In his sharply worded
critique, Schindler par-
ticularly emphasized what
he called the "embarrassing-
ly inadequate" response of
American Jews to the
United Jewish Appeal's
Passage to Freedom cam-
paign, the $75 million
special fund established to
support absorption programs
for Soviet Jews both in
America and Israel.
He specifically called on
"each of our 822 Reform
congregations to engage in a
vigorous outreach program
to bring Soviet Jewish
families into our synagogues
and homes."

During a convention
workshop, Shoshana Cardin,
chairwoman of the National
Conference on Soviet Jewry,
applauded help offered by
UAHC congregations, citing
two examples of effective
outreach by member
synagogues that could be
replicated by other con-
gregations across the coun-
try.
Cardin spoke of a program
at Shearith Israel in San
Francisco, a historic
synagogue that survived
both the earthquakes of
1906 and 1989. The con-
gregation has integrated
more than 100 Soviet Jewish
emigres, who now attend
services regularly, it was
reported.
Shearith Israel, in coop-
eration with Jewish com-
munity organizations, has
set up a "havurah"
(fellowship) for Soviet Jews
that serves as a support
group where the new ar-
rivals can discuss and solve
the problems of daily living,
as well as learn about
Jewish things.
Cardin also spoke about
Congregation Rodef Shalom
in Pittsburgh, which has
helped organize Jewish
communal agencies and
,other congregations in the
region into a network that
matches American Jewish
families, as "mentors," with
Soviet emigre families, to
help the new Americans ad-
just to their new home.

Finta Lawyer Doubts Gas
Chambers' Existence

Toronto (JTA) — The at-
torney defending Imre Fin-
ta, on trial here Nazi crimes,
challenged in court last
week the existence of gas
chambers.
Douglas Christie ques-
tioned an expert witness
from the City University of
New York on whether the
extermination chambers at
Auschwitz-Birkenau did, in
fact, exist.
He used a controversial
book written by a Jewish
historian to substantiate
what he called documented
evidence that facts about the
gas chambers had been
grossly exaggerated.
Cross-examining Professor
Randolph Braham while
brandishing the book Why
Did the Skies Not Darken? by
Professor Arno Mayer of
Princeton University,

Christie said that Braham
must "recognize that
historians now hold there is
little evidence for the gas
chambers."
The attack on Braham's
testimony was in line with
Christie's attempt to
discredit the testimony of
two Hungarian Holocaust
survivors from Israel.
It was Braham's third day
of testimony at the trial of
Finta, who was captain in
the Nazi-controlled Royal
Hungarian Gendarmerie.
Finta, 77, a retired On-
tario restaurateur, has
pleaded not guilty to eight
counts of war crimes and
crimes against humanity,
including manslaughter,
forcible confinement and
robbery. He is charged with
the forcible confinement of
8,617 Jews.

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