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November 09, 1990 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-11-09

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Assistant Editor


or at least 150 Jewish
soldiers serving in
Saudi Arabia, there
will be a Chanukah this
year, and that's thanks to a
seniors group at Oak Park's
Temple Emanu-El.
Temple Emanu-El's senior
volunteer group, Emes
(Emanu-El's Mature and
Exciting Set), has assembled
holiday packages that will
be sent to Saudi Arabia via
Fort Bragg, N.C.

Each bag will include a
colorful plastic dreidel, a can
of cookies, a pen, a pencil, a
deck of playing cards, a
paperback mystery, a roll of
toilet paper, a bar of soap, a
wash cloth, a pack of hard
candy and a book of
crossword puzzles.
"We know that they are
receiving letters from all
over the country," Temple
Emanu-El president Bea
Sacks said. "But I think a
synagogue group sending
them presents like this is a

Mrs. Sacks, who founded
Emes and came up with the
idea to send the gift bags,
said her group would con-
sider sending similar
Passover bags in the spring.
Group members donated the
money needed to purchase
‘ the gifts. Mrs. Sacks said
that area stores cooperated
in .,selling the items to her
group at wholesale prices.
"It's important for Jews to
do mitzvahs such as this dur-
ing their lifetime," Mrs.
Sacks said. "This is a situa-
tion where we have to offer
support in any way we can to

the Jewish soldiers who are
over there."
Emes president Elaine
Stein called the charitable
effort "so very important to
show our people over there
that we haven't forgotten
Temple Emanu-El isn't the
only area congregation
gathering items for the Jew-
ish soldiers in Saudi Arabia.
Adat Shalom Synagogue in
Farmington Hills is also
asking its members to bring
in items such as Chanukah
cards and letters, books and
magazines and even 5.5- or
6-ounce sizes of soft-drink
Adat Shalom's project
chairman, Nancy Welber
Barr, said donors should
make sure that books and
magazines are conservative
in content, so as not to offend
Saudi society. Rabbi Irving
Elson, a military chaplain
based in Charleston, S.C.",
indicated that powdered soft-
drink mixes are highly re-
quested items by the ser-
Ms. Welber Barr stressed
that congregants must get
donated items to Adat
Shalom by Nov. 18 to ensure
delivery to Saudi Arabia
before Chanukah.
Adat Shalom is also telling
congregants that if they
would like to mail letters,
holiday greeting cards, hard
candy, soft drink mixes,
magazines or books on their
own, they can address
packages to: Any Sailor Or
Marine, Operation Desert
Shield, FPO New York,
N.Y., 09866-0006; or Any
Soldier or Airman, Opera-
tion Desert Shield, APO
New York, N.Y., 09848-
0006. ❑

Bea Sacks holds dreidels for Saudi Arabia.



Photos by G le nn Tries

Synagogues Ensure
Soldiers' Chanukah

Rose Braiker, Elaine Stein and Ruth Stettner package books for Jewish military personnel.

Children From Soviet Union
To Perform At Shaarey Zedek


Staff Writer

wenty-five high school
students from the
Soviet Union are br-
inging a musical message to
Detroit next week.
The Kinor Jewish Chil-
dren's Choir from Riga, Lat-
via, will perform traditional
Hebrew, Yiddish and Rus-
sian songs at 7:30 p.m. Nov.
14 at Congregation Shaarey
Zedek as part the Laker
Concert series. The perfor-
mance is sponsored by the
synagogue's cultural corn-
The concert, one of 14 per-
formances the choir is giving
during its month-long tour of
the United States, caps off a
two-day stay in Detroit.
While in Detroit, the teens
will tour the Henry Ford
Greenfield Village Museum,
a Ford automobile plant and,
if time permits, the Holo-
caust Memorial Center.
The Soviets will also meet
area Jewish youth groups
during a Nov. 14 dinner and
receive welcome baskets
from Hillel Day School sixth
graders. Although the teens
will not have much time
together, Cantor Chaim Na-
jman of Shaarey Zedek
would like to see friendships
between the Soviets and
Americans blossom.

The choir wants to
send a message
that Judaism is
alive and well.

and after the war, few Jews
returned to the city.
For decades, the govern-
ment suppressed cultural
and religious freedoms.
When Soviet President
Mikhail Gorbachev in-
stituted a less restrictive
policy, the Jews of Riga were
allowed to open a new day
school and other institu-
It was in this day school
that Mr. Steven Springfield,
who had returned to Riga
where he lived before the
Nazi invasion to visit his
mother's grave, heard the
Kinor choir. Michael Lein-
wand, a Riga musician and
composer, had formed the
choir using many of the Riga
day school students.

Day School and the com-
munity center in Riga.
In the years between
World War I and World War
II, Riga, the capital of
Lativia, was a center of Jew-
ish culture, Cantor Najman
said. At its peak before the
Nazi invasion in 1941, there
were 40,000 Jews and a
number of Jewish institu-
"Every shade, every color,
every variety of Jewish iden-
tity had its expression in
Riga," he said. More than
three-fourths of the popula-
tion were killed by the Nazis

After hearing the choir,
Mr. Springfield dreamed of
bringing the group to the
United States. He has spent
the last year organizing the
The choir wants to send a
message that Judaism is
alive and well in the Soviet
Union, Mr. Springfield said.
"A few years ago any iden-
tification with Judaism was
prohibited to the point that
most of the Jews in the
Soviet Union had totally as-
similated," Mr. Springfield
said. "Anti-Semitism doesn't
stop these children from
seeking their heritage.

Cantor Najman hopes the
concert "will strengthen the
feeling we already have
toward Russian Jews and
dramatize the need and the
existence for our support and
The concert is a celebra-
tion "of the modern Jewish
rebirth in the Soviet Union
and the struggle for
freedom," said Cantor Na-
jman, adding that proceeds
from the concert tour will be
donated to the Riga Jewish

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