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March 28, 2003 - Image 20

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-03-28

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over Story

from page 19

Bitter Memories

RABBINIC VIEWPOINT

zi Ben Reuben of West Bloomfield never lived in Iraq, yet
110 he acquired deep-seated feelings of resentment for the Iraqi
people from his parents, who had lived in Baghdad and Basra.
"In 1951, before I was born, they left everything behind except
for one suitcase and went to Israel along with almost their whole
Ben Reuben
Jewish community," he said. "They had to burn family pictures
and anything else that would have been used against them to
accuse them of espionage for Israel. In 1959, Iraq hanged 12
Jews in the middle of Baghdad after accusing them of spying for Israel."
Born in Israel, Ben Reuben, a member of Keter Torah Synagogue in West
Bloomfield, has liVed in Detroit for eight years. Growing up, his parents shared
stories of living in Iraq. "In 1949, they witnessed the anti-Jewish pogrom led
by the pro-Nazi, Iraqi regime murdering thousands of Jews," Ben Reuben said.
His feelings about the Iraqi people go beyond detesting Saddam Hussein
and his regime. "My family were not treated nicely," he said. "How can I have
sympathy for any of the-Iraqi people, even the civilians? They tortured my rel-
atives, and one was jailed and tortured."
As an American Jew, he added, "I worry for the United States soldiers and the few
remaining Jews who are probably living there because they are too old to get out."
Shelli Liebman Dorfman, staffwriter

RABBI JOSEPH KLEIN

RABBI DANNEL SCHWARTZ

Last Friday night, services at Temple
Emanu-El in Oak Park began with
words composed by Rabbi Joseph Klein.
He addressed his congrega-
tion with this prayer:
"Because it is Your will,
our God and God of our
ancestors, that all war and
bloodshed be ended, we
pray for the strength and
the courage to establish
Rabbi
peace in the world. May
Klein
all of humanity soon
acknowledge this, Your
one great truth — that we have been
blessed with Your spirit, the breath of
life, only so that we might dedicate
ourselves to the task of securing a bet-
ter world "for every living thing."

For Rabbi Dannel Schwartz of
Temple Shir Shalom in West
Bloomfield, "prayer is about wishing
for goodness and justice
and love, and being able
to give something of
yourself.
This war is about dis-
arming a man who has
proven to be a tyrant,
not only to his own peo- Rabbi
ple, but to the world —
Schwartz
including Israel."
Although he sees war
as a last resort, Rabbi Schwartz said,
"Since the war has already started, it
is time to pray. We need to pray for
the troops, for Iraqi citizens who are
under bonds and for Israel."

Campus Violence

A new wave of anti-Semitism hits U.S. colleges.

RACHEL POMERANCE
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

New York City
ick Dorfman of West Bloomfield may
be the human face of the latest find-
ings in the Anti-Defamation League's
annual report of anti-Semitic incidents
across the country.
Though the incident has not yet been confirmed
by police as anti-Semitic, the University of
Michigan junior was punched in the head by a
stranger at a bowling alley outside Ann Arbor on
Monday night while wearing a pro-Israel shirt.
A key finding in the ADL's Audit of Anti-Semitic
Incidents, publicly released Wednesday, showed
anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses climbed
to 106 in 2002, an increase of 24 percent over the
previous year.
Overall, the report showed a slight increase in
activity over the previous year, with 1,559 anti-
Jewish incidents reported in 2002, up from 1,432
_
in 2001.
Referring to the group's June survey on anti-
Semitism that showed an increase in anti-Semitic
attitudes, reversing a 10-year decline, Myrna
Shinbaum, ADL's director of media relations, said,
"It's not surprising to see that some of these atti-
tudes have been acted out."
And according to Abraham Foxman, ADL's
national director, unprecedented security at Jewish
institutions in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001,
terrorist incidents has prevented more incidents.

R

3/28
2003

20

The audit revealed a mixed picture in states
across the country, with some states showing an
increase in the number of incidents and others
showing a drop.
For example, a sharp rise in activity was reported
in the San Francisco Bay area, while the number of
incidents in New York, the state with the most anti-
Semitic activity in the country, decreased by 25 per-
cent. State variations depend on local situations and
local culture, according to Shinbaum.
The ADL audit, published since 1988, breaks

"In real numbers, it's not a
huge amount." The report
indicated a total of 100
incidents from several
thousand campuses.

down anti-Semitic incidents into two categories:
Harassment, defined as "threats and assaults direct-
ed at individuals and institutions," comprised 75
percent of incidents reported. The second category,
vandalism, includes cemetery desecration, anti-
Semitic graffiti and other incidents.
The long-term trends point to less anti-Semitism
in the country as America becomes more sophisti-

cated and better educated. But certain world events
like the Palestinian intifada (uprising) have spiked
anti-Israel activity, which, in some cases, result in
increased anti-Semitic activity, according to those
who track such developments.
The rise of activity on campuses marked the third
year of an upward trend, according to ADL. Many
of the events grew out of anti-Israel demonstrations
on campus.
Among the episodes reported was a vandalized
sukkah at the University of Colorado. The incident
followed a visit to the campus by Palestinian
spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi.
Among the audit's findings:
• Reports of anti-Semitic incidents in the San
Francisco Bay Area rose dramatically. In 2002, a
total of 118 incidents were reported, up from 13
the previous year. Incidents directed at Jewish insti-
tutions rose from one to 39.
• Overall, reports of vandalism reached a 20-year
low, with 531 reported incidents in 2002. Over the
past three years,-vandalism incidents have declined
by 27 percent. According to ADL, the decrease is a
result of increased security measures, while would-
be vandals may find outlets elsewhere, like the
Internet..
• While the ADL said that it could not quantify
anti-Semitic activity on the Internet, the group stat-
ed that the Internet. "continued to play a substantial
role in the dissemination of anti-Semitism, with
hate literature being transmitted through hundreds
of sites on the Web.
• The states showing the largest numbers of
reported incidents in 2002 were New York, with
302, down from 408 the previous year; New Jersey,
with 171, down from 192; Massachussetts, with
129, up from 126; Pennsylvania, with 101, up from
61; and Florida, with 93, down from 115.
Michigan had 29 incidents in 2002, which
included one vandalism, as compared to 20 inci-
dents in 2001 and 22 in 2000.17

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