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January 26, 1990 - Image 3

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-01-26

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

I LOCAL NEWS I

NEW CARS FOR LESS

Different Perspective
On The Soviet Union

Editor's note: The following
leter was written by Helen
Elterman, a 16-year-old recent
immigrant, to a friend in the
Soviet Union, Cipora Mosko-
witz of the Jewish Welfare
Federation provided the
report. This is the last of a
series.
Dear Natalie,
I'm sure you share my ner-
vous excitement on the
dramatic changes the world
has taken in such a short
time.
From my own exepriences,
I am truly happy for the peo-
ple in Eastern Europe who
have gained freedom, and I
am very scared for the Roma-
nian people.
At my school (Berkley
High), a class on interna-
tional current events is of-
fered to all the foreign
students. One of our discus-
sions was on the Soviet
Union.
We watched a televised
report on daily life in Moscow.
It focused on a supermarket
with lines of people waiting
impatiently to go in. The
camera zoomed in on so-
meone breaking a window.
When the doors finally
opened, the people ran in like
desperate animals. It was so
sad.
The students from other
countries were shocked at
what they saw. I can't believe
I ever lived there, and I worry
about you being there.
In the next scene, a sales
girl called out, "There are no
more shoes, so you can all
leave."
Is that change?
Even if the Soviet Union is
making strides toward a more
open government, I fear for
you and the other Jews. An
open society brings open
anti-Semitism.
I worry about my grand-
parents and uncle who still
live there. My 26-year-old un-
cle stayed to help his parents
who are too old to leave. I am
very close to him and con-
stantly fear for his safety. He
wishes to go to Israel, and I
hope some day his dream can
come true.
I was used to the Soviet na-
tional tradition of decorating
a tree to celebrate the new
year; yet in America, is is a
symbol of Christmas. The
Soviet Jewish children find it
hard to give up their tree
when they come to this
country.
But, I think the warm
festival of Chanukah makes
up for it. This year, with our
new-found religious freedom,

my family was able to
celebrate this holiday. Each
one of us had our own
menorah to light. It was such
a beautiful ceremony.
Speaking of beautiful
ceremonies, I was invited to
an Orthodox wedding. The
ceremony took place in the
evening, outside beneath the
stars. It was so touching and
so different from the official,
government-style weddings in
the Soviet Union.
For the first time, I ex-
perienced the religious tradi-
tion of separating men and
women. Although at first it
felt strange to eat and dance
apart, I quickly got into the
festivities.
The whole atmosphere was
so joyous and lively. You could
feel the floor shaking as
almost all of 650 guests danc-
ed for the happy couple. I was
amazed at all the young
Jewish girls who danced
alongside me with so much
life and energy.
My parents made me a
sweet 16 party and invited all
my new friends — or at least
as many of them that could fit
in our apartment. There was
dessert, music and dancing. I
received flowers, makeup, a
blouse and a winter jacket as
presents.
I recently applied for an
after-school job at a
neighborhood movie theater,
and I am anxiously waiting to
hear from them. I would real-
ly like to help my parents by
working.
My family is doing as well
as can be expected. My
mother is satisfied with her
job as a seamstress, but my
father still hopes to find a job
in his field. My sister is doing
well at school and has friends.
My English has really im-
proved, and my language
teacher said that by next year
I will be able to go into the
regular American English
class.
In the six months that I
have been here, I have gone
through a lot of adjustment.
I gained an overwhelming
feeling for our Jewish
religion, learned a lot about
the American culture and
discovered some important
strengths and weaknesses in
my own character.
When I meet newer im-
migrants than myself, I ex-
plain to them that it takes
time to get used to a new
place. They should be patient
and take it day to day.
There is always tomorrow
Sincerely,
Helen

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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