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July 20, 1990 - Image 82

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-07-20

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

NEWS

Nicaraguan Jews
Sense New Hope

MORTON M. ROSENTHAL

Special to The Jewish News

I

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LOX AND ONION APPETIZERS

2 tablespoons cornmeal
1/2 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing
2 8-oz. cans refrigerated crescent
5 eggs, beaten
dinner rolls
1/2 cup milk
11/2 cups chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon Parkay margarine
11/2 cups (6 ozs.) 100% natural Kraft
V4 lb lox, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
shredded Swiss cheese
Sprinkle cornmeal on greased 15 x 10 x 1-inch jelly roll pan. Unroll dough;
press onto bottom and sides of pan to form crust, sealing perforation.
Saute onion in margarine 5 to 8 minutes or until tender.
Blend together onion and remaining ingredients. Pour evenly over crust.
Bake at 375° for 22 to 25 minutes or until set and
lightly browned. Cut into small squares or
triangles; serve warm. 3 dozen.
Prep time 20 minutes Cooking time 25 minutes

Try the tangy zip of MIRACLE WHIP

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DINE
OUT
THIS
WEEK

t's incredible how things
change," Isaac Stavisky
said in an interview from
his home in Miami, where he
has lived since fleeing
Nicaragua in 1979. The
defeat of the Sandinistas in
nationwide elections held this
past February and the recent
inauguration of an opposition
government led by Violeta
Chamorro heralds a new
dawn for Nicaragua and of-
fers new hope to the small
Nicaraguan Jewish com-
munity now in exile.
Stavisky, who was born in
Nicaragua and whose family
owned a complex of factories
manufacturing textiles and
candy, recalls that for a period
of 18 months prior to the San-
dinista triumph, he received
calls threatening his life. He
was held at gunpoint and
told, "Next time we'll get you,
Jew!' The walls of his fac-
tories were scrawled with
graffiti reading "Death to the
Jews: Isaac will be killed.
Beware of Sandinista
Justice!'
He, like many of the other
members of the small
Nicaraguan Jewish com-
munity, was the victim of an
anti-Semitic campaign entail-
ing harassment, intimida-
tion, and confiscation, sanc-
tioned and carried out by the
Sandinista government.
The recent change in gover-
ment, however, creates the
possibility that Jewish com-
munal life may be reestab-
lished in Nicaragua. The
Chamorro government has
issued a decree which allows
for the return of or compensa-
tion for some property and
businesses confiscated by the
Sandinistas. Stavisky and
other Nicaraguan Jews hope
to regain businesses and
homes seized over a decade
ago by the Sandinistas.
Kurt Preiss, President of
the Nicaraguan Jewish com-
munity in exile, is now at
work restoring his leather
tannery which was con-
fiscated and fell into a state
of decay under the San-
dinistas. He commutes from
Miami, spending one week a
month in Nicaragua to super-
vise the reconstruction of his
business and the tanning of
hides for export. Within a few
months he plans to transfer to

Rabbi Rosenthal is director of
the Latin American Affairs
Department of the Anti-
Defamation League

Nicaragua a handbag factory
which he established as an
exile in Miami.
The Nicaraguan govern-
ment has invited members of
the community to reclaim ti-
tle to the sole synagogue in
Nicaragua. It was confiscated
by the Sandinistas and is cur-
rently under the auspices of
the Ministry of Tourism.
Nicaraguan Jewish leaders
intend to take possession of
the building once there are
enough Jews in Nicaragua to
form a "minyan," the quorum
of 10 Jewish worshippers re-
quired for organized services.
At its peak, the Jewish com-
munity of Nicaragua
numbered about 50 families,
with most dedicated to farm-
ing, manufacturing, and
retail sales. Jews from
Eastern and Central Europe
came to Nicaragua in the ear-
ly part of this century seeking
business or job opportunities
and, later, asylum from the
Nazis.
The harassment of Jews by
the Sandinista front began
even before its seizure of
power in 1979. Jewish
families received abusive and
threatening phone calls from
people who identified
themselves as Sandinistas.
Threats such as these were
underscored by a firebombing
attack by the Sandinistas on
the synagogue in Managua
during Friday-night services
in December, 1978. None of
the worshippers was hurt, but
the building suffered some
damages. Subsequently, the
synagogue was confiscated
and assigned to the Associa-
tion of Sandinista Children to
be used for social purposes.
Nicaraguan Jews attribute
the campaign against them to
Sandinista enmity towards
Israel. The authoritarian
government of Anastasio
Somoza, toppled by the San-
dinistas, had received
military support from Israel.
In addition, the Sandinista'
close-knit relations with the
Palestine Liberation Organ-
ization, which invloved PLO
training and funding of San-
dinista revolutionaries, was
documented in a 1983 U.S
government report.

Under the Sandinistas, the
Nicaraguan government's
relations with the PLO were
consolidated and the anti-
Israel campaign intensified.
In 1980, the PLO was granted
an "embassy" in Managua
and its representatives were
accorded full diplomatic
status. The Israeli am-
bassador, however, was not

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