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September 07, 1990 - Image 70

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-09-07

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

I

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70

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 1990

Newport

Continued from preceding page

the synagogue. "The history
still touches me."
He even wrote a script, The
Ballad of Isaac Touro
dramatizing the early history
of the founders, which was
enacted during the anniver-
sary last year.
His position as rabbi of such
a congregation is unique. Not
only is he the spiritual leader
of a small but thriving
Sephardic congregation, but
he's also a representative of
the nation's most historic
synagogue.
That means he trains
the summer tour guides,
often welcomes distinguished
visitors, and serves as ex-

ecutive secretary of the Socie-
ty of Friends of Iburo Syna-
gogue National Historic
Shrine, Inc., a national group
of 3,000 members who help
preserve Iburo's heritage.
He's probably the only U.S.
rabbi whose contract specifies
that he's "official ambassador
to the world for Touro Syna-
gogue." "That's actually writ-
ten in my contract," the
genial ambassador said.

He doesn't mind the
unusual requirements. "I still
feel a certain thrill every time
I go into the synagogue," he
said. "It will always be very
special." ❑

NEWS

1875 S. WOODWARD • BIRMINGHAM 48011
1 Block North of 14 Mile
644-0525

30th

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354-6060

Ethiopian Jews' Exodus
Seems To Have Stalled

Jerusalem (JTA) — Once
again, it appears that the
emigration of Jews from E-
thiopia to Israel has been
stalled, though the exact ex-
tent and nature of the delay
remains unclear.
Uri Gordon, chairman of
the Jewish Agency's Im-
migration and Absorption
Department, told the Israeli
daily Ma'ariv that no Jews
have been allowed to leave
for Israel from the Ethiopian
capital of Addis Ababa for
the past three weeks.
But Will Recant, executive
director of the American
Association for Ethiopian
Jews, took issue with the
report from Israel, calling it
"untrue."
His organization "knows
of 53 Jews that came to
Israel this week," he said.
He said, however, that it
was true that no Ethiopian
Jews have been permitted to
initiate the immigration
process since mid-JUne,
when the emigration re-
portedly ground to a halt for
a period of time.
Mr. Recant said that only
4,000 of the 15,000 Ethio-
pian Jews in Addis Ababa
were in the bureaucratic
pipeline when the applica-
tions were halted.
"The people we have seen
come out since the middle of
June were all in the process
at the time that things
stopped," Mr. Recant said.
Earlier this summer, it
was thought that the
number of Ethiopian Jews
allowed to leave for Israel
would again reach 500 per
month, which had been the
average before the sharp
drop in mid-June.
But the numbers have
been far lower, with well

under 200 allowed out in
July and August.
An unnamed Israeli
tourist in Addis Ababa,
quoted Aug. 30 by Ma'ariv,
reported that sickness and
poor sanitation had in recent
weeks killed some 120 Jews
waiting for their aliyah,
mostly among children and
the elderly.
The tourist said that the
mood among Ethiopian Jews
was one of bitter despair,
and that many were accus-
ing Israel of abandoning
them.
Mr. Recant of AAEJ con-
firmed that at least 97 had
died over the past 60 days.
In New York, an official of
the American Jewish Joint
Distribution Committee said
his organization is doing all
it can to provide medical
care to the Ethiopian Jewish
population.
"We have about five doc-
tors, and seven or eight
nurses who are seeing 200
people a day in our clinic,"
said Michael Schneider, ex-
ecutive of JDC.
He said that an additional
70 Ethiopians were being
trained to go to the homes of
Ethiopian Jews to see if they
need medical attention, and
that a pediatrician specializ-
ing in infectious diseases
was expected to arrive short-
ly from Israel.
"My impression is that the
death rate among those in
Addis is probably higher
than normal," Mr.
Schneider said. "Don't
forget that they made a very
rigorous journey to an un-
familiar urban envi-
ronment."
The Jews have been
waiting in Addis Ababa for
permission to emigrate.

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