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January 01, 1993 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-01-01

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

GRAND VOYAGER

Gorbachev Receives
Torah, Medal

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THE DET RO T J EWIS H NEWS



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ANN ■ MOMMI

Sao Paulo, Brazil (JTA) —
Former Soviet President
Mikhail Gorbachev was pre-
sented with a Torah scroll
and a medal here by leaders
of the Latin American Jew-
ish Congress, in gratitude
for his contributions to world
peace, democracy and
human rights.
In accepting the Torah and
medal, Mr. Gorbachev corn-
pared his quest for freedom
with that of Moses. He said
that once people move for-
ward toward freedom, there
can be no going backward.
For example, he said,
when the Jews left Egypt
and wandered in the
wilderness, many of them
complained and said they
wanted to return. However,
Moses insisted on going for-
ward toward the Promised
Land, even when the going
got rough.
Mr. Gorbachev spoke
warmly of his recent visit to
Israel, and said he saw there
"the great desire of the peo-
ple to have peace." He joked
that in Israel, unlike Brazil,
he did not need an inter-
preter because everyone
speaks Russian.
He said that now that
there is no longer an Iron
Curtain, frequent en-
counters between people of
all continents and all re-
ligions are possible.
"Perhaps what is most im-
portant is one person en-
countering another," he
said. He stressed that there
is no longer a Cold War, but
there are other problems,
such as ethnic conflicts in
the former Soviet Union and
Yugoslavia, and the poverty
in Latin America.
Benno Milnitzky, presi-
dent of the Latin American
Jewish Congress, presented
Mr. Gorbachev with the
Medal of Israel and thanked
him in the name of all of the
Jews of Latin America "for
advancing world disar-
mament, restoring democ-
racy and freedom of religious
expression within the ex-
Soviet Union, as well as the
right to free mobility for its
citizens, regardless of re-
ligion or origin."
The Latin American Jew-
ish Congress is affiliated
with the World Jewish Con-
gress.
Rabbi Henry Sobel, who
presented Mr. Gorbachev
with the Torah, said, "You
have received gifts from
kings and queens, from

heads of state and presi-
dents, from community
leaders throughout the
world.
"Today, in Sao Paulo, as a
rabbi, I would like to give
you the most precious sym-
bol of our faith: a Torah. Be-
cause you have restored to
our Soviet brothers and
sisters the right to study it
.and practice its teachings.
"Moreover, you gave our
brothers and sisters in the
former Soviet Union the
freedom to take the Torah
with them to any country in
which they choose to live."
Mr. Gorbachev and his
wife, Raisa, were in Sao
Paulo as part of a four-
country Latin American
trip. The Sao Paulo meeting, _
sponsored by Latin Ameri-
can Jewish Congress and at-
tended by leaders from all
segments of the community
and more than 300 commun-
ity members, was the only
Jewish event on Gorbachev's
agenda in Latin America.
There are some 150,000
Jews in Brazil, half of whom
live in Sao Paulo.

Appointees
Are Welcomed

New York (JTA) — Two new
appointments at the top of
the American Catholic hier-
archy bode well for the con-
tinuation of positive
Catholic-Jewish relations,
say observers of the inter-
religious affairs scene.
The archbishop of
Baltimore, William Keeler,
was elected recently to a
three-year term as president
of the National Conference
of Catholic Bishops. And
Cardinal John O'Connor
was appointed to head
Catholic-Jewish relations for
the conference's Committee
for Ecumenical and Inter=
religiousAffairs.
Cardinal O'Connor, who is
the archbishop of New York,
takes over the position from
Archbishop Keeler, who has
served in the position since
1988. Archbishop Rembert
Weakland of Milwaukee is
chairman of the Ecumenical
and Interreligious Affairs
Committee.
Both Archbishop Keeler
and Cardinal O'Connor are
regarded as friends of the
Jewish community when it
comes to interreligious dia-
logue.

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