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April 06, 1990 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-04-06

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

1 DETROIT

A Call To Action
For Soviet Jews

SUSAN GRANT

Staff Writer

W

ith a rise in anti-
Semitism and
threats of pogroms
in the Soviet Union,
Detroit's Jewish leaders
suggest political activism
can best help Soviet Jews.
Two years ago, political ac-
tivism on behalf of Soviet
Jews meant marching in
Washington, D.C., said
Kathy Ozery, a Jewish
Community Council staff
member who follows the
Soviet Jewry situation.
These days, demonstrations
like Sunday's near the
United Nations building in
New York are rare.
Instead, Ozery backs per-
sonal advocacy: writing
letters to Soviet and Ameri-
can officials.
The Jewish Community
Council kicked off a letter-
writing campaign March 28.
During a Council-sponsored
meeting at Congregation

Helping
At Home

To donate clothing,
household items, fur-
niture, or volunteer time
to help Soviet Jews, call
Jewish Family Service,
559-4046.
To adopt a Soviet family
through the Family to
Family program, call the
National Council of Jew-
ish Women, 258-6000.
To become politically
active in the fight to get
Jews out of the Soviet
Union, call Kathy Ozery
at the Jewish Community
Council, 962-1880.

Shaarey Zedek, 300 typed
letters to Soviet President
Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet
Ambassador Yuri Dubinin
and United States con-
gressmen were signed by the
audience. The council has
also distributed letters to
community organizations.
Writing letters may not
sound as exciting as a pro-
test march, Ozery admitted.
But it can be as effective.
"I do believe in grass root
efforts," Ozery said. "They
have an impact." When offi-
cials see thousands of letters
on their desk about Soviet
Jews they listen, she said.
Ozery also suggests follow-

ing events and pending
legislation in the Soviet
Union that could help Jews
leave the country. For ex-
ample, the Soviet govern-
ment is considering limiting
the number of years a person
can be prevented from leav-
ing for knowing state
secrets.
"People must be informed
and follow the issues," Ozery
said. Newletters published
by the National Conference
on Soviet Jewry are helpful.
Jeannie Wiener, former
chairman of the Jewish
Detroit residents help Soviet Jews by sending letters to Soviet and American officials.
Community Council Soviet
Jewry Committee, said the
pick-up.
volunteers may read news-
needed to resettle 40,000
committee wants to
Detroit Jews can also get
papers,
take
the
newcomers
Soviet
Jews
expected
to
ar-
distribute books and infor-
involved
with an individual
grocery
shopping
or
help
rive in the United States.
mation about Israel to
Soviet family through the
them
use
the
telephone.
In
addition
to
Operation
Detroit's sister city, Minsk.
Family to Family program
Drivers and translators
Exodus, Detroit Jews can
The Detroit Friends of the
sponsored by the National
are
also
needed,
Schneider
help
Soviets
resettling
here
Soviet Jewry Education and
Council of Jewish Women
said.
Translators
must
know
by volunteering to drive
Information Center are rais-
and the Women's Division of
either
Russian
or
Yiddish,
them
to
doctor's
appoint-
ing money to send former
Federation.
The program
but
drivers
have
no
lang-
ments, by donating used
Soviet Jews now in Israel to
matches American families
uage requirements.
clothing or furniture and
Minsk to teach Judaism. It
with newly-arrived Soviet
Donated items like
helping them learn English.
will cost $3,000 to send one
Jews.
clothing,
household
items
Marcy
Schneider,
Jewish
teacher for a month.
Tauber said the fate of the
and
furniture
are
also
need-
Family Service volunteer
Weiner said the commun-
Soviet Jews has struck a
ed. Jewish Resettlement
coordinator, said she needs
ity must respond to help
chord in most people.
Service operates a
people who can tutor Soviet
Soviet Jews survive. "We
"It's only a quirk of fate
warehouse at Jewish Voca-
Jews in conversational Eng-
have not always had the op-
that
it is not us. We could
tional
Service,
where
people
lish. No knowledge of Rus-
portunity," Weiner said.
have been them." ❑
can drop off items or call for
sian is necessary. Instead,
"Now is not the time to
become complacent. There
are many Jews who are still
refused and new families are
being refused."
Once Soviet Jews leave the
country, helping them reset-
tle in either Israel or the
Social, economic and polit-
The Tzivkins tried again,
United States is the next
ical changes are being blam-
but were denied. Finally,
SUSAN GRANT
step.
ed on the traditional Rus-
Staff Writer
Irina and her daughter,
The trickle of Jews leaving
sian scapegoat — Soviet
Susanna, 18, left Vladimir
the Soviet Union two years
Jews, Tauber said.
ith protest signs
in the Soviet Union and
ago has become the largest
Stuart Lockman, national
declaring "Free
went to Connecticut. Now
exodus of Jews in 3,000
commissioner of the Anti-
Soviet Jews" and
Vladimir needs a thyroid
years, said Joel Tauber,
Defamation League of B'nai
"Let My People Go" in the
operation unavailable in tha .
former Jewish Welfare Fed-
B'rith who also went to the
background, former
Soviet Union.
eration president who re-
Soviet Union recently, said
Lenigrad
resident
Irina
"I
ask
and
pray
to
help
me
cently returned from a trip
extreme anti-Semitic groups
Tzivkin urged Detroit Jews
to the Soviet Union.
like Pamyat are gaining in-
not
to
forget
those
who
are
Almost 100,000 Jews are
fluence.
unable to emmigrate.
"These people are
expected to come to Israel
More than 300 families are
this year, Tauber said at last
Tauber said there have
afraid."
forced by the Soviet govern-
week's meeting at Shaarey
been
no pogroms, no acts of
Joel Tauber
ment to stay, Tzivkin told a
Zedek. In two years, the
violence. But there have
crowd of 500 who attended
number will reach 200,000.
been threats of a May 5
the March 28 Jewish Com-
To pay for the cost of resettl-
pogrom, slogans such as
see
my
family
reunited
here
munity Council meeting on
ing Soviet Jews in Israel, the
`Kill the Jews' and graffitti
in freedom," Irina said.
behalf of Soviet Jews.
United Jewish Appeal has
on
Holocaust memorials.
Jewish
leaders
stressed
Her family tried to leave in
begun Operation Exodus.
"It's
important to make
that Jews like Vladimir who
1979, 1982 and 1988,
Although $3 billion of the
that
distinction,"
Tauber
stay
or
are
forced
to
remain
Tzivkin said. But the Soviet
$3.6 billion needed to reset-
said.
"We
don't
want
to cry
in the Soviet Union face in-
government refused, saying
tle Soviets Jews will be paid
wolf to the U.S. government
creasing
anti-Semitism
and
her husband, Vladimir, had
by Israel, Jews around the
and lose our credibility. We
threats of violence.
access to state secrets.
world are being asked to pay
don't want to accuse the
"These
people
(Soviet
Last year, the family was
the remaining $600 million.
Soviet Union of things which
Jews) are afraid," said Joel
told they could leave. Eight
Detroit's share of the $420
are untrue. We don't want to
Tauber,
former
Jewish
Wel-
days later —after they had
million expected from the
give them any cause to modi-
fare Federation president
sold most of their posses-
United States is $16.5 mill-
fy their emigration policy."
who
recently
returned
from
sions — officials said it was a
ion. Operation Exodus does
But, he added, we can not
the Soviet Union.
mistake.
not include the $40 million

Refusenik And Local Leaders
Outline The Soviet Threat

W

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

15

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