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May 22, 1992 - Image 48

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-05-22

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

NEWS

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1992
•• ••••••••••

6
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Jews Offer Aid
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48

G

FRIDAY, MAY 22, 1992

855-2114

he Jewish community
has stepped up its aid
effort to riot-torn sec-
tions of the city while
rediscovering a sense of
shared fate with its multi-
ethnic neighbors, a sense
that most Jews have not felt
since the civil rights cam-
paigns of the 1960s.
At the same time, rough
estimates of the damage to
Jewish-owned - businesses
seem to indicate that the
losses were heavier than in-
itially believed. In compiling
reports from its Iranian and
ex-Soviet clients, the Refu-
gee Acculturation Program
of the Jewish Federation
Council has counted 45 Ira-
nian businesses burned or
looted and six others owned
by Soviet Jews. These in-
cluded electronics and fur-
niture stores, pawn shops
and dental offices.
Sources in the local Israeli
community hazarded rough
guesses that between 10 and
20 stores owned by Israelis,
mainly selling electronic ap-
pliances and clothing, were
hit. -
No one has tried to count
up the losses suffered by
American Jewish busi-
nessmen, but it seems likely
that the figure will be in the
tens of millions, if not
higher, though insurance
companies are expected to
cover a major portion of the
amount. One of the victims
was Richard Giesberg, and
his experience and attitude
are not untypical.
Mr. Giesberg, a veteran
Jewish community leader
long active in black-Jewish
relations, held the men's
clothing concession at the
large Fedco discount store.
On Thursday (30 April), the
first full day of rioting,
looters cleaned him out of
about 500 suits, 300 sport
coats, 8,000 slacks and jeans,
and 300 jackets. He was able
to save one delivery truck,
and two days later he stock-
ed it with donated food and,
with a rabbi at his side,
drove it to a black church in
the inner city.
At latest count, 30 syn-
agogues and Hillel campus
centers are collecting
clothing and food, which are
mainly delivered to black
churches. Reforms temples
predominate in the aid
drive, followed by Conser-
vative congregations. Even
the Orthodox community,

traditionally little involved
with non-Jewish groups, is
supporting a job-training
and employment program in
minority areas. In the first
riot days, the Orthodox
Union asked for special
Sabbath police protection
and urged member syn-
agogues to remove all Torah
scrolls and silver ornaments
from their sanctuaries, ex-
cept for one scroll for
Sabbath use.
Mazon, a Jewish anti-
hunger organization, is the
community's coordinator to
channel financial aid to
relief programs in the black,
Hispanic and Korean areas.
So far, $35,000 has come in
through donations averag-
ing $85, said Mazon director
Irving Cramer. Some
300,000 pounds of fresh pro-
duce have been delivered- to

Korean
businessmen are
eager to learn how
the Jewish
community is
organized and how
it raises funds.

a dozen churches through
the efforts of philanthropist
Mickey Weiss.
The Anti-Defamation
League has scheduled two
seminars for public school
teachers, as part of its long-
standing prejudice-reducing
training program, "A World
of Difference."
All segments of the Jewish
community are represented
in an emergency committee,
which has appointed two
task forces — one to deal
with other ethnic groups, the
other to evaluate the impact
of the civic upheaval on the
Jewish community.
Rabbi Harvey Fields, pres-
ident of the Southern
California Board of Rabbis,
heads the "outside" corn-
mittee. He reported Monday
that working ties have been
established with black and
Korean political, business
and religious leaders. Rela-
tions with the Hispanic
community are somewhat
lagging, said Rabbi Fields,
because it lacks an organiz-
ed central body.
Learning from previous
mistakes, the rabbi said that
"we're very careful not to
come in offering our wisdom,
but we're asking them in
what ways we can be the
most helpful."
He said that he had receiv-

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