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May 01, 1992 - Image 25

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-05-01

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

so cool in his black-neon
stretch pants.
Management estimates
the current Soviet Jewish
population of Northgate is
close to 50 percent.
Sandy Hyman, director of
Resettlement Service, said
that in the late-1980s, at
the start of the second
wave of Soviet Jewish im-
migration, Jewish Federa-
tion and Jewish Family
Service decided to settle
more Soviet Jews into
apartments in Oak Park
and Southfield.
"After the first wave of
immigration, we were los-
ing track of a lot of the
Soviets we placed in outly-
ing areas, like Troy or
Ferndale, with less access
to the Jewish community,"
Mrs. Hyman said. "In
1988, we talked to the
landlords in Oak Park and
Southfield and got tremen-
dous cooperation."
Ever since, the Reset-
tlement Service has rented
apartments for unanchored
(community-sponsored)
Soviet Jews destined for
Detroit. The majority of
emigres are sent to Nor-
thgate, Mrs. Hyman said,
but a number also go to
neighboring Lincoln
Towers, Country Court,
Southfield Manor, Rue
Versailles, Charter House,
Whitehall, Pine Aire or
Franklin Park Towers
apartments.
"We have a close rela-
tionship with the Jewish
Family Service and Reset-

Gary Levy and Eric Kravchenko discuss the national pastime.

tlement," said Northgate
manager Rick Baynard.
"We get the apartments set
up as quickly as possible,
and if families are rerouted
at the last minute, we'll
return their security depos-
it, no problem."
To accommodate the
Soviet Jewish population,
Northgate owners Irving
Seligman and Larry
Dresner hired a full-time
Russian interpreter.
Galina Woiler works in the

manager's house in the
middle of Northgate. She
helps Russian-speaking
tenants convey their needs
or worries to management.
"I think the Russians are
happy that I'm here," said
Ms. Woiler, an immigrant
from Kiev who lives at
Northgate. "Mostly I an-
swer questions about tele-
phone or electric bills, how
to read them, how to pay
them.
"I also get asked for all

kinds of advice about
where to shop or where to
get the best prices," she
said. "Some of them have
my home phone number,
just in case they have an
emergency. I feel it's im-
portant they have someone
they can turn to."

Julie Gibbins, a secretary
who works with Ms.
Woiler, said communica-
tion between the Russian
population and manage-

ment has dramatically im-
proved.
"We tried relying on a
group of volunteer inter-
preters, but that didn't
always work out," Mrs.
Gibbons said. "Having
Galina here has really
made a difference. We can
understand our tenants
better and they feel we are
being responsive to their
needs."
In the last year, Nor-
thgate (which is actually in
Royal Oak Township) do-
nated money to the Oak
Park Library to allow Nor-
thgate tenants to use the
facility and obtain library
cards at reduced rates. Also
contributed were funds for
Russian periodicals. Nor-
thgate has opened its
clubhouse to Berkley High
School teachers Tuesday
through Thursday for Eng-
lish as Second Language
classes.
Not knowing English is
probably the most dev-
astating part of American
life, said Fanya Goldvecht,
a child psychiatrist from
the Republic of
Uzbekistan.
"We open America a
little every day," said Dr.
Goldvecht, who moved to
Northgate with her hus-
band and two sons seven
months ago. "For a long
time, we don't know what
we're doing. But at Nor-
thgate, we have close con-
nections with other Rus-
sians who are going
through the same experi-

THF DFTROIT JEWISH NEWS_

25

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