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March 20, 1992 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-03-20

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MARCH 20, 1992 / 15 ADAR 2 5752

Food Stamp Policy Shift
Angers Elderly Emigres

Staff Writer

ike the majority of
Soviet Jewish immi-
grants who live in
senior housing, Tilya
Polskaya, 73, anxiously
awaits the monthly arrival
of two envelopes: A $436
government subsidy and a
$28 book of food stamps.
Because of a policy change
at the Jewish Family Ser-
vice, Mrs. Polskaya and
close to 150 other immi-

grants have a harder time
securing their monthly food
Early last month, JFS told
the Soviet Jewish residents
of Highland Towers, Lincoln
Towers and Federation
Apartments that JFS will no
longer pick up and mail
their food stamps. Beginning
March 1, the emigres are
responsible for getting to the
Department of Social Ser-
vices, located on John R
Road in Madison Heights,
and collecting their food

In response, a group of
senior citizen emigres at
Highland Towers drafted a
full-page letter in English,
collected more than 50
signatures and mailed in-
dividually handwritten
copies to JFS board mem-
bers, the Jewish Federation
of Metropolitan Detroit and

The Jewish News.
"We would like to know
what prompted this discrim-
inatory behavior toward a
small group of Soviet Jewish
immigrants who are vir-
tually helpless in resolving
these matters," the letter
Alan Goodman, director of
JFS, said the agency's
distribution service was
started as a courtesy to
specific individuals who had
severe difficulty getting to
the food stamp office.
"The mailing of food
stamps was not designed as
a service to the public in
general," he said. "This
practice places the agency at
risk for suit in the event that
food stamps are lost or
More than $9,000 in food
stamps pass through JFS
every month, Mr. Goodman
The petition also claims
that JFS unfairly removed
names from a number of lists
which synagogues use in de-
termining the distribution of
matzot and other charity
foods during Jewish holi-
days. Mr. Goodman said that
names of longtime recipients
were removed in favor of
other, needier clients.
On the food stamp issue,
Mr. Goodman emphasized
that DSS is the sole agency
that determines eligibility
and distribution.
"The (JFS) agency's vol-
unteer department does not
distribute food stamps as
part of its responsibilities
and has no mandate to do
so," Mr. Goodman said.
"Recipients have the right to
designate another party to
collect these food stamps on
their behalf. The depart-
ment does not do this for any
other group of clients and
has determined that this is
not a function which it
wishes to continue."
Mr. Goodman said clients

Continued on Page 34

Photos by Mars ha Su ndq u ist


Ricki Rogo:
"Down to earth."

Alex Goldis:
Liberty and freedom.

Jews Lukewarm
On Candidates


Staff Writers


ormer Soviet emigre
Alex Goldis was sear-
ching for liberty when
he voted in Michigan's pres-
idential primary on Tues-
"I'm looking for someone
who will project freedom in
America," said Mr. Goldis,
42, an engineer, who was
naturalized in 1984.
"The Democrats are too
socialist. They are like
Marxists, like Lenin," said
Mr. Goldis, 42. "They could
offer a course called Marx-
ism 101. Every phrase you
hear is about moving for-
ward toward the future,
taking care of the middle
class, taking from the rich
and giving to the poor. It
doesn't square up with
American ideals."
Before he entered the
voting booths that gave
Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton
the Democratic edge and
President George Bush the
clear cut victory in the
Republican primary, Mr.
Goldis said he "probably"
would vote for the Repub-
lican Party.
He declined to be more
specific. Mr. Goldis wanted
to exercise his right to priva-
cy — something he didn't
have in the Soviet Union.
Voter turnout was light on

Tuesday (under 20 percent),
and many were upset about
new Democratic require-
ments forcing Michigan
residents to declare a party
preference before pulling the
lever. Others were just confus-
ed by the changing rules for
the election.
At the polls in West
Bloomfield and Oak Park,
Jewish voters seemed
lukewarm about any of their
options. No one was excited
about the choices in either
party. Even Michigan's
Democratic Sen. Carl Levin
couldn't pick one from the
cast, opting instead to vote
as an uncommitted
"It is hard to vote for some
of the candidates running,"
said West Bloomfield phar-
macist Jerry Gerger, who has
voted Democratic most of his
life. "None of them seems
really well qualified to
secure the needs of the peo-
ple — especially the Jewish
"It is really hard to make a
choice. I am sick of social
reforms," said Mr. Gerger,
who cast a reluctant vote for
Mr. Bush.
Though Mr. Clinton
secured 50 percent of the
Michigan vote, former
California Gov. Jerry Brown
fared exceptionally well. Mr.
Brown carried 26 percent of
the state, knocking former

Continued on Page 26

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