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June 29, 1990 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-06-29

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

DETROIT

Oak Park's Jim Rosen
Reports From Moscow

Levin Calls AAI Charges
'A Personal Slur'

STAFF REPORT

M

ichigan Sen. Carl
Levin this week
called charges by a
leading Arab activist that
Political Action Committee
money influences the
senator's politics "a personal
slur."
James Zogby, executive
director of the Washington-
based Arab-American In-
stitute (AAI), claimed Levin
is creating "a kind of
hysterical campaign that
Israel is once again threaten-
ed" to raise funds for his
political campaign.
Speaking at a press con-
ference Tuesday in Detroit,
Zogby criticized Levin's
most recent mail campaign,
which he said closed with "if
you want aid to Israel, send
money to Carl Levin."
"If I were Jewish, I'd be
doubly offended at this
patent effort to create this
hysterial appeal and to ex-
ploit fear for the sole purpose
of raising money," Zogby
said.
Levin called such com-
ments "a rehash of the at-
tack" Zogby made earlier
this year, when he accused
Levin of "gratuitous and
sometimes extraordinary

gestures that are designed to
do nothing more than run
errands for the Israeli
lobby."
An AAI report listing
senators who receive con-
tributions from pro-Israel
PACs, issued in April, also
singled out Levin as the
largest recipient of such
funds.
"Our point (in releasing
the study) is simple," Zogby
said this week. "If there's a
national concern about the
role that PAC money plays
in the political process, if
there's concern that big
money buys big votes, then
so too, there ought to be con-
cern we note about the role
that pro-Israel PACs play in
silencing Senate debate" on
the Middle East.
Levin said the funding he
receives does not dictate his
political views. On the con-
trary: pro-Israel PACs sup-
port him because he under-
stands the strategic rela-
tionship between Israel and
the United States, he said.
"The basis of democracy is
to support candidates one
agrees with," Levin said.
"That is healthy. That is
very different from what
Zogby is charging, which is
that money is buying my
votes." ❑

KIMBERLY LIFTON

Staff Writer

A

Carl Levin

James Zogby

B'nai David Plans
West Bloomfield Move

SUSAN GRANT

Staff Writer

A

lthough Congrega-
tion B'nai David is in
no hurry to build a
sanctuary in West Bloom-
field, its Sunday school has
already made the move.
In September, the Hebrew
school will begin its second
year at the Maple-Drake
Jewish Community Center.
Last year, eight children,
ages 3-6, were enrolled in a
class, said Marla Schloss,
school director. This year,
with an enrollment of at
least 12 children, Schloss
plans a preschool for
youngsters and a combina-
tion kindergarten, first and
second grade class for 5- to 7-
year old students.
Being a member of B'nai
David is not an enrollment
requirement, Schloss said.
Half of the families who
enrolled their children last
year were not members.
Schloss also said having a

school is a good way to at-
tract younger families to
B'nai David who otherwise
might not be familiar with
the synagogue. When B'nai
David moves to West Bloom-
field, people will be familiar
with the synagogue through
the school and might feel
more comfortable joining the
congregation, she added.
"Schools are important in
terms of an entryway into a
synagogue, especially with
younger families," said
Rabbi Morton Yolkut.
"Labels like Orthodox, Con-
servative or Reform are not
as important as the quality
of the school is to some
parents."
The synagogue eventually
plans to move to a 10-acre
parcel on Maple Road, west
of Halstead Road. A limited
partnership of B'nai David
members purchased the land
in January 1987.
Earlier this year, B'nai
David sold its Southfield
Road facility to the City of
Southfield for $1.45 million.

The city plans to convert the
building into a community
arts resource center.
The synagogue has until
March 1994 to leave its
Southfield building, said
congregation president, Alex
Blumenberg.
Before an architect is
hired, the synagogue must
decide, among other things,
just how big to make the
facility, Rabbi Yolkut said.
Although the synagogue has
375 families, officials are not
sure how many will follow
the congregation to West
Bloomfield or how many
families will join because of
the new location.
"That makes it difficult to
plan," Rabbi Yolkut said.
Blumenberg hopes to hire
an architect soon and pre-
sent plans to West Bloom-
field Township in six mon-
ths.
"We are not under a lot of
pressure to move. We're go-
ing about it systematically,"
Rabbi Morton Yolkut said. ❑

s a child in Oak Park,
James Rosen was fas-
cinated, by Russian
history and the politics of
the Soviet Union.
Today he is writing part of
a history of the Soviet Union
as a foreign correspondent
for the four-person Moscow
bureau for United Press
International.
"Journalistically, Moscow
is the best assignment you
can get," said Rosen, 35, who
was in Detroit last week to
visit his family. "It is really
a great opportunity to cover
history in the making."
Under the leadership of
Mikhail Gorbachev, the
Soviet Union is undergoing
tremendous changes, open-
ing the doors to freedom for
the Soviet people. Many
Soviet Jews, however, think
more freedom is creating an
increase in anti-Semitism,
heightening fears of
pogroms and augmenting
emergency fund-raising
efforts among American
Jews to resettle Soviet Jews
here and in Israel.
Detroit Jews have, col-
lected $17.2 million for
Operation Exodus, the
international campaign ex-
pected to raise $420 million
to help Israel resettle Soviet
Jews. Of that, $1.5 million
has been earmarked for
Soviet Jews moving to
Detroit over the next three
years.
"Russia is changing very
fast, faster than (Mikhail)
Gorbachev would have lik-
ed," Rosen said. "In terms of
human drama, it is a
momentous story."
One year ago, Rosen was
transferred to the Soviet
Union from UPI's foreign
desk in Washington, where
he was a copy editor. Before
that, he covered Michigan
politics as a reporter for
UPI's Lansing bureau.
After graduating from Oak
Park High School, Rosen left
Michigan to study Russian
history and political theory
at the University of Califor-
nia at Berkeley. He visited
the Soviet Union in 1978 on
a summer exchange pro-
gram. He returned in 1985
for a two-week tour.
"I've been studying Rus-
sian for 16 years," said
Rosen, who speaks fluent
Russian. "And I've wanted
to be a foreign correspondent
for a long time."
Rosen hasn't reported on

the plight of the Soviet Jews,
and said he hasn't experi-
enced anti-Semitism during
his year in the Soviet Union.
"The Soviet Jewish story
is not like it was 10 years
ago with the refuseniks,"
Rosen said. "Now the story
is probably more on the U.S.
side than the Russian. The
Soviets don't understand
why the U.S. government
has limits" on the number of
immigrants it will accept.
Rosen estimates 1.8 mill-
ion Jews remain in the
Soviet Union. Of those, the
United States is expecting
30,000 Soviet Jews this year
"Not every Jew wants to
leave," Rosen said. "They
live in major cities here;
they do well. They dominate
intellectual spheres and for
the most part, Jews live
better than the average
Soviet in the Soviet Union.
"There is reportedly an in-
crease in anti-Semitism, but
it is hard to track," Rosen
said. "I hear about it. It
seems to be very subtle coin-
ing from some very far-right
Russian groups.
"They treat me more like
an American than a Jew,"
he said. "I've heard rumors
of pogroms, but they haven't
materialized."
In the Soviet Union, Jews
are one group of 140 nation-
alities, Rosen said. "Here,
Jews are a nationality and
not a religion.
"The difference between
Jewish people and the other
nationalities is that Jews
have relatives and friends in
the United States who want
to help them.
Rosen described the Soviet
society as polarized.
Although Gorbachev gave
up monopoly control of the
Communist Party and is ex-
pected to relinquish the sec-
retary position of the party
within six months, Rosen
said he is unpredictable.
"Gorbachev is a
pragmatist. And he will do
what he has to do to sur-
vive," Rosen said. "He is not
popular in the Soviet Union,
yet there is no visible alter-
native."
Conservative Soviets say
Gorbachev has created chaos
and anarchy. Radical
Soviets, however, _suggest
Gorbachev is all talk and no
action.
"Gorbachev is in the
center of this and gets
criticism from both sides,"
Rosen said. "But he prob-
ably is the person the Soviet
Union needs." ❑

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

15

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