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April 20, 1990 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-04-20

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smoothly, without any anti-
Semitic demonstrations.
Fear of such demonstrations
had been cited by Moscow
city officials as a major
reason for canceling the
eight-day festival.
The Moscow correspondent
of the Los Angeles Times re-
ported on the reactions of
first-night patrons after they
viewed the American film
Crossing Delancey.
In the 1988 romantic corn-
edy, set in New York, the
thoroughly modern Jewish
heroine tussles with her
grandmother, the neighbor-
hood matchmaker and her
own conscience to decide
whether to accept the pro-
posal of a vendor of kosher
pickles over the attentions of
a conceited novelist.
What seemed to strike
Moscow viewers most
forcefully was the affirma-
tion and naturalness with
which the characters dealt
with their Jewishness.
Mikhail Shtein, a 24-year-
old literature student, was
quoted by the Times as
observing, "It seems really
OK to be Jewish. In the film,
people recognize, of course,
that they are Jewish. But
this is not a burden, and
they even celebrate it."
Shtein said Soviet Jews
were amazed that the
characters in the film felt
comfortable with their Jew-
ishness. "They accept it,
others around them accept
it, and life goes on."
Deborah Kaufman of San
Francisco, director of the fes-
tival, told the Saturday
night audience at the
prestigious Rossiya Hotel

Theater, off Red Square,
that the films were intended
to "challenge all stereotypes
and images of Jews."
The message came
through to one viewer,
Roman Spector, a prominent
Jewish activist in Moscow.
"We Soviet Jews now have a
real possibility to become
acquainted with the life of
Jews elsewhere - in Israel, in
Europe and America,
elsewhere in the Diaspora —
from which we were cut off
for so long," he said.
The festival's co-director,
Janis Plotkin, said that a
major goal in bringing the
films to Moscow was to help
Soviet Jews recover both
their personal and commu-
nal sense of Jewish identity.
Through this Saturday, 29
feature and documentary
films will be screened at
three large theaters, with
total attendance expected to
reach 50,000.
Hollywood director Paul
Mazursky will host the pre-
sentation of his film,
Enemies, A Love Story, bas-
ed on the novel by Isaac
Bashevis Singer.
Among the other films are
Beyond the Walls and Ham-
sin from Israel, The Chosen
from the United States, Au
Revoir les Enfants from
France, Angry Harvest from
West Germany, Welcome to
Vienna from Austria, and a
political thriller about Nazis
in Argentina.
Among the documentaries
is one that deals with Soviet
emigres, another with the
Jews of Morocco and a third
with the Yiddish-language
newspaper The Forward. 0

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Ethiopian Jews Still
In Danger As War Rages

Washington (JTA) — The
15,000 to 20,000 Jews still
left in Ethiopia are in grave
danger because of the ongo-
ing civil war raging in the
northern part of the country,
activists for Ethiopian
Jewry warned.
"The Jewish community
has never been in worse con-
dition," said Barbara
Ribakove Gordon, executive
director of the North Ameri-
can Conference on Ethiopian
"Thousands are trapped in
Gondar, where civil war has
been intense," she said.
Gondar, the province where
most Jews live, has been cut
off from outside relief
workers because of the in-
tensity of rebel activity

Concerned that the civil
war and an impending
famine may kill as many as 5
million people in the prov-
inces of Eritrea, Tigre, Wello
and Gondar, 86 members of
the Congressional Caucus
for Ethiopian Jewry have
signed a letter to Secretary
of State James Baker urging
diplomatic action to prevent
millions dying from starva-
tion, and to help bring about
an end to the civil war.
The plight of Ethiopian
Jewry can only be solved
when there is a cease-fire
and a political settlement of
the various conflicts in Ethi-
opia, said Rep. Stephen
Solarz (D-N.Y.), a co- chair-
man of the Congressional
Caucus and the author of the
letter sent to Baker.

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