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June 08, 1990 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-06-08

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JUNE 8, 1990 / 15 SIVAN 5750

Exodus Fund
Passes i st Goal


Associate Editor


he Detroit Jewish
community has
pledged $17.2 million
over the last two months for
Operation Exodus, the
international campaign ex-
pected to raise $420 million
to help Israel resettle Soviet
Jewish immigrants.
The Israelis have projected
a budget of $2 billion to
resettle Soviet Jews over the
next five years.
The Detroit total, an-
nounced Monday at a
meeting of major con-
tributors at Knollwood
Country Club, exceeds the
Jewish Welfare Federation's
initial goal of $16.5 million.
"Whatever we raise will be
inadequate," said local Ex-
odus chairman David Mon-
dry. "The initial goal was
based on the expectation
that 100,000 Soviet Jews
will go to Israel this year.
Now they are talking of

200,000 to 250,000 leaving
for Israel."
The campaign will con-
tinue with phonathons June
14, 19 and 21 from United
Hebrew Schools, a Young
Adult Division fund-raiser
on June 13, programs for
children at Tamarack
Camps this summer, and
scheduled missions to
Poland, Hungary and the
Soviet Union that will all
meet in Israel in September.
"Our quota is not dollars;
it's Jewish souls," said
former Federation President
Dr. Conrad Giles after the
meeting. Federation Presi-
dent Mark Schlussel added,
"For every Soviet Jew who
immigrates to Israel, we are
telling the world and the
Arabs that we will not be
pushed into the sea."
Author Leon Uris, the
guest speaker on Monday,
delivered the same theme
during his half-hour
remarks. His novel Exodus,
about the creation of Israel,
was an underground favorite

12-Month Total:
793 Soviet Jews


Staff Writer

uring the past year,
793 Soviet Jews
arrived in Detroit,
leaving Jewish community
leaders scrambling to find
homes, jobs, loans and Eng-
lish training for the immi-
Of those resettling in
Detroit, the Jewish Voca-
tional Service is assisting
431 Soviet Jews seeking
employment. The remainder
are either elderly, children
or teens.
JVS statistics show that to
date, one-third of the 431
have secured jobs; one-third
are enrolled in the JVS
retraining program and one-
third are still searching for
The community is projec-
ting another 700 arrivals
through June, 1991, and of-
ficials from the Jewish Wel-
fare Federation are asking
communal agencies to put a
hold on spending.


"We are saving our money
for local resettlement," Fed-
eration Executive Vice Pres-
ident Robert Aronson said.
"It's costing us a lot of
money we haven't got. We
will do it because we have to
do it."
The community is spen-
ding $1 million a year for
local resettlement of Soviet
Jews, with much of it going
toward acculturation efforts.
Although Detroiters col-
lected $17.2 million for
Operation Exodus, which in-
cludes $1.5 million over the
next three years for local
resettlement use, more
money is needed, Aronson
As far as providing Soviet
Jews with the basic needs
such as shelter and jobs,
Detroit is doing well, Aron-
son said.
Ruth Canada, supervisor
of refugee employment ser-
vices for JVS, expects some
Soviet Jews who have jobs to
return to JVS within the
Continued on Page 20

Leon Uris addresses Monday's meeting. In the front row are Operation
Exodus leaders Penny Blumenstein, Lawrence Jasckier, David Mondry,
Peter Alter, Federation executive Robert Aronson and his wife Laura.

of Soviet Jews, with trans-
lated, often handwritten
copies passed from person to
Uris visited the Soviet
Union last fall, "but it
became clear that I was
allowed to enter just to serve
the purposes of the Soviet
Scheduled meetings were
cancelled or transferred at
the last moment to distant
meeting halls in the
suburbs. Journalists and
Jewish refuseniks trying to
meet with him were inter-
rogated at KGB head-
"The Soviet Union is a
house about to collapse,"
Uris said Monday. "It is a
depressed land that cannot
feed, house or clothe its
He described the Soviet
people as dull-eyed and
somber, "wearing their
weariness as though it were
a national emblem."
Uris believes the Soviet
Union will not survive the
imminent collapse of com-
munism "without bloodshed
and upheaval." Stalinists
and nationalists will use the
traditional Russian
scapegoat — the Jews — to
deflect blame for the Soviet
Union's problems.
"There was no pogrom on
May 5, but there is nothing
in Russian history to suggest
that it won't happen next
week or next month. The old
anti-Semitism is bubbling to
the surface. Who else is
there to blame?"
A Pamyat rally that Uris
happened upon last fall
"smelled of the Nazi thugs of
Despite Mikhail Gor-
bachev's threat last Sunday
to reduce Soviet emigration
because of Arab pressure,
Uris called Grobachev the
Soviet Union's only chance

at a peaceful transition.
"But he can't reverse nine
centuries of Jew-baiting and
the Russian psyche of anti-
Semitism," Uris said.
Uris fears a reunited Ger-
many and sees the Holocaust
as a major loss for Poland.
Sixty post-war Nobel
laureates living in the
United States are of eastern
European descent, he said.
"As a people, we have

enriched every land where
we have set down. We are
the oldest players in the
game of survival because of
our morality and our ideas.
"We must support Jewish
life in eastern Europe," Uris
said, "but I believe Jews will
be welcome there when you
can grow onions in your
hand . It is the same old
story. Every generation of
Jews since the fall of the Se-
cond Temple have been
blessed and burdened with
saving our people."
Mondry called the Holo-
caust, the creation of Israel
and Operation Exodus "the
three major events of our
Mondry said the Jewish
community failed to rescue
the Jews during the Holo-
caust for a variety of
reasons. But this time, he
said, Jews would not fail to
save their brethren in the
Soviet Union.
"Operation Exodus is the
essence of Judaism. It is
cathartic; it is what
distinguishes us from

Southfield houses more Jewish families
than any other suburb in metropolitan
Detroit. For how long?

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