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March 28, 2003 - Image 34

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

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To Mask Or Not




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puter is chained down in
s of this writing, a
another room, a portable
typical day in the life
phone to assure contact with
of many Israeli fami-
family and plenty of reading
lies runs somewhat
matter. Oh, yes, don't forget
along the following lines, sub-
the Scrabble game, a wonder-
ject, of course, to location of
ful time killer.
the family and to external
Detailed official instructions
events that may yet be expect-
also urge that each individual
bear his personal identifica-
Following the usual morning
tion papers. They don't say
Commentary why, but the pessimist
personal activities, the first
major item on the agenda is to
assumes that in case of a
get the children off to school.
direct hit, the bodies may be
Official instructions from on high are
that each child must carry with him
Inspection okay. All the time the
his personal gas mask in its brown
phone is in constant use, with calls
cardboard carton. Objections are
coming in and going out; friends,
voiced at once.
family, reassurances that all is well.
"Many of the kids in school didn't
The refrigerator seems empty, and
bring their masks yesterday — why
shopping is in order. Do we take the
should I shlep mine?"
brown box? On the first day of the
Some parents insist. Others yield to
American invasion of Iraq, most
the little ones. School principals have
Israelis did follow the advice, but
instructed that no pupils should be
thereafter it is now rare indeed to see
barred if they come without the boxes. the boxes on the streets or on buses.
Reports indicate that with or without
In the meantime, the television is on
masks, 10 percent of the little ones are full blast. Those who are linked up to
kept home because of the tension.
cable alternate between Israeli TV and
Will the Iraqis send Scud missiles
CNN or Fox News.
this way as final acts of desperation?
Staying Calm
No one has forgotten that during the
Gulf War, 39 Scuds landed in Israel,
Very quickly, we settle down to nor-
causing much destruction, but fortu-
mal living. Meals must be prepared
nately few deaths.
and the house kept clean. Business
To the office? Without gas masks.
affairs demand daily attention. A
To university? Without masks. Let's
pause in the immediate occupation to
check our sealed room, the one with
ponder a late report on TV to the
the least open exposure, where the sin- effect that Iraq has found fragments of
gle window has already been covered
a bomb with Israeli markings. Does
with plastic sheeting, held down by
that mean that we are taking part in
masking tape to keep out any possible
the attack, thereby warranting a Scud
noxious fumes and prevent shattered .
reply? Will Iraq accept the explanation
glass fragments from injuring the
that these are Israel-made parts incor-
occupants. Extra masking tape is on
porated in an American bomb? The
hand for use when the signal comes
war atmosphere may sound strange
for us to take refuge, lock ourselves in
and unfamiliar to Americans, but it is
and seal up the door behind us.
almost second nature to Israelis.
Emergency contents checked: gas
There's little to do in the evenings
masks already adjusted, tried on and
except stay home.
ready for use. Those of us who are of
Nature does its share by providing
advanced age have already attached the an almost-daily rainfall, and this is
battery-operated blowers to make it
hailed as a good omen. Very soon the
easier for us to breathe. Plenty of bot-
Kinneret will be overflowing, and the
tied drinking water, daily pills, a few
people of Tiberias will worry about
cans of tuna, bread, a couple of radios, flooding.
battery operated in case the power
The phone rings. "Yes, dear, we're all
supply fails, a modest supply of first
well. No, we're not going out in the
aid items, flashlight.
rain. We're kept busy with phone calls
More? An old-fashioned typewriter
to help new Russian and Argentinean
to record our thoughts, since the corn- immigrants. Yes, they are still coming.
And we're catching up with our read-
Carl Alpert is a U.S. native who made
ing. Did you hear that last announce-
aliyah in 1952. He is former head of the ment on FOX News ... ?"
Zionist Organization of Americas educa-
And another day. All is still quiet,
tion department. His e-mail address is
but we might look back upon this as
just a prelude. ❑

ZBOROWSKI from page 33

to find victims' names and these
important compensation settlements
and payments. But neither might
have come to pass without such
research and documentation as sup-
ported by the Claims Conference.
Funds are also used to support
Holocaust education. Programs that
teach about the Shoah are our gener-
ation's legacy to the victims of the
Holocaust. We pay tribute to their
memory by ensuring that the world
knows of their fate and of the conse-
quences of letting anti-Semitism and
tyranny go unchallenged.

Lasting Legacy

It is my firm belief that any survivor
who needs social service assistance
should receive it. Those who
emerged from the camps, ghettos,
forests and hiding places have
already endured more than any

Future generations
will appreciate the
Claims Conference.

human being should. In their last
years, Holocaust survivors are enti-
tled to care and comfort, and it is
the responsibility of the Jewish com-
munity to supplement the efforts
already being made in this area with
restitution funds.
But a small portion of restitution
funds derived from the sale of
unclaimed Jewish property in the
former East Germany that support
institutions devoted to Shoah educa-
tion, research and documentation
are also continuing the task of those
survivors who carried the obligation
to tell the world what had happened._
These efforts must be continued in
order that the legacy of the
Holocaust may remain with the
world long after the survivors — and
the generation that learned from the
survivors — are gone.
Fifty years from now, and for eter-
nity, future generations will appreci-
ate the Claims Conference assistance
to research and education on the
Shoah, ensuring that the names of
the Six Million are recorded for all
time. Those who perished wished to
be remembered; we must honor their
last wish. ❑

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