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April 12, 1991 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-04-12

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

UP FRONT

Into The Middle Of The Fray
With A Smile And Greasepaint

MIKE GABRIEL

Special to The Jewish News

S

ometimes you have to
stand up and be
counted."
I was trying to explain to
my overly protective teen-age
daughter why I was going to
Tel Aviv on Day 27 of the
Persian Gulf war.
"But why do you have to
be the one to fly into a war
zone?" she asked. "I mean,
can't we just plant a couple
more trees or something?"
Flying into Israel for the
first time is almost a re-
ligious experience. As the
747 touched down at Ben-
Gurion Airport, the pilot
played Israeli folk tunes
over the public address
system and people applaud-
ed. I half expected to see an
old rabbi with a long beard,
playing the violin while
dancing on the wing of the
aircraft.
After leaving the plane, I
was taken to an area where
you would normally claim
luggage. Only now, a small
group of serious-looking

Mike Gabriel is a comedy
writer and actor.

Israeli soldiers were telling
us to line up for a gas mask.
The luggage could wait.
My sentiments exactly. I
mean, if I get caught in a
Scud missile attack, do I
want to have a functioning
gas mask in my hands or a

"It's not often that
you take a vacation
where you have to
bring your dental
records in case you
suddenly explode."

Mike Gabriel

half a dozen silk boxer
shorts?
Then I read the instruc-
tions on the canister of
mustard gas antidote. It's
not often that you take a
vacation where you have to
bring your dental records in
case you suddenly explode.
After I finally claimed my
luggage I checked to see if
all my "clown gear" was in-
tact. I was afraid my rubber
chicken wouldn't survive the
stress of a long flight. These
props, which arrived in
perfect condition, were the
reason I was in Israel.

I had decided I would put
on my clown outfit and go to
hospitals to entertain young
children.
It's not exactly as serious a
commitment as grabbing a
rifle and taking a position on
the front line. But I felt it
was important to the • war
effort.
If I did my part to, help
Israel return to a more nor-
mal style of living, then just
maybe they would be less
likely to feel the need to
retaliate. And this in turn
would ultimately help my
country, the United States.
I felt I would be safe in Tel
Aviv, even during a raging
war. My reasoning: Think
back on all the war footage
you've ever seen. Whenever
they showed the aftermath
of a bombing run, you never
once saw them pulling any
clowns from the rubble.
As long as I wore a bright
red nose, a bucket full of
grease paint, and carried my
faithful rubber chicken, I
figured, I'd be safe.

Day 28
On my first full day in
Israel, I went to the Wall to
pray for peace. Normally, I

Mike Gabriel clowns around with an Israeli student in a sealed room in
Tel Aviv.

am not religious. But when
cluster bombs and missiles
are going off, why not cover
all bases?
As I started to leave, an
army spokesman ordered
everyone to wait. The bomb
squad was checking out a
suspicious unattended
package. The Israeli
military is sometimes accus-
ed of being paranoid. But
you can't be too careful when
a loaf of bread is ticking.

Day 31
I am constantly thanked
for coming to Israel at a time
when so many are leaving.
After I explained why I'm
here, an old man took my
arm and said, "I was afraid
at first to stay in Tel Aviv.
But you are giving me the
strength to do so."

what I had seen," Mr. Jost,
now dead, is quoted in the
exhibition as saying. "I
didn't want to upset my
family. I thought, 'What sort
of world is this?' "
At the beginning of World
War II, Warsaw's population
numbered 380,000 Jews, the
largest Jewish population of
any European city. After the
Nazis' three-week siege of
the city in September 1939,
Jews were stripped of all
rights and forced to live in
the ghetto, an area covering
2.5 square miles. Jews from
other parts of Europe were
moved into the ghetto, br-
inging the population there
to almost half a million by
the first half of 1941.
Some 85,000 persons in the
Warsaw Ghetto died from
hunger and illness, 20,000 of
them children. Between 100
and 150 men and women
died each day.
For information, call the
Sinclair Student Activities
Office, (513) 226-2509, or the
Jewish Federation of
Greater Dayton, (513) 864-
4150.

JDC Mailbox
To Help Kurds
New York — The Ameri-
can Jewish Joint Distribu-
tion Committee has estab-
lished an Open Mailbox to
aid the more than 750,000
Kurds, ethnic Turks and
Syriac Christians fleeing the
napalm bombs and shelling
from the Iraqi military.
Dispossessed, often wounded
and hungry, the refugees are
in dire need of food, shelter,
clothing and medical atten-
tion.
Donations may be sent to
the Open Mailbox for Kur-
dish Refugees, The Ameri-
can Jewish Joint Distribu-
tion Committee, 711 Third
Ave., 10th floor, New York,
N.Y. 10017.
Through previous nonsec-
tarian, humanitarian
efforts, the JDC's Open
Mailbox campaigns have
provided relief for El
Salvador and most recently,
to the victims of the earth-
quake in Armenia.

Day 32
I experienced my first Scud
attack. But look at the

ROUND UP

Water Flows
In Ancient Conduit
Jerusalem — As a result of
excavations conducted by
the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem Institute of Ar-
chaeology, water is again
flowing in a 2,000-year-old
conduit built in the time of
King Herod.
The 165-foot-long, stone-
lined conduit from the period
of the Second Temple was
discovered in excellent con-
dition in Ramat Hanadiv, at
the southern end of the
Carmel Mountain range. Its
channel is about 8 inches
wide.
Dr. Yizhar Hirschfeld, who
headed the archaeological
team, said that as soon as
the area was cleared, water
began immediately flowing
through the conduit.
The site of the discovery is
known as Hurbat Eleq,
meaning the "leech ruins," a
name which probably
originated because of the
prevalence of leeches in the
swampy ground there.
Dr. Hirschfeld and his
team hope to totally clear

the area and make it
suitable for visits to the gen-
eral public. They are seeking
volunteers for the excava-
tions, to proceed in July. For
information on the four-
week dig, contact Dr.
Hirschfeld do the Institute
of Archaeology, the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem,
Mount Scopus, Jerusalem,
Israel.

Dayton Sponsors
Photo Exhibit
Dayton, Ohio — Sinclair
Community College in
Dayton will host "A Day in
the Warsaw Ghetto: A Bir-
thday Trip to Hell," a
Smithsonian exhibit of 85
photographs chronicling dai-
ly life in the World War II
ghetto, through May 3.
Organized by Yad
Vashem, the exhibit consists
of photos taken by German
army Sgt. Heinz Jost. For
unknown reasons, Sgt. Jost
entered the ghetto on Sept.
19 and took 129 pictures
showing the pain and tor-

A photo from "A Birthday Trip in
Hell."

ment Jews faced in the War-
saw Ghetto.
His visit placed Sgt. Jost at
great risk; German entry
into the ghetto was for-
bidden by law.
The photographs were in
Mr. Jost's possession, hidden
from his family, until the
early 1980s, when he gave
them to the German
periodical Der Stern, which
never published the pic-
tures. Der Stern later gave
the photos to Yad Vashem.
"In my letters home I
didn't say anything about

Compiled by
Elizabeth Applebaum

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

11

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