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October 03, 2003 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-03

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Two rabbis broached the subject of
Jonathan Pollard, a former United
States Navy intelligence analyst who is
serving a life sentence for spying on
behalf of Israel. Bush said he would
look into Pollard's case, but offered no
comment about the chances of him
receiving a presidential reprieve.

Not Easily Persuaded


Rabbi Amy Schwartzman, of Falls
Church, Va., — the only woman rabbi
at the meeting — said she was disap-
pointed that more of the participants
did not challenge Bush on some of his
policies, although she said she was
grateful for the opportunity to meet
"I did feel I was sitting with a group
who was supportive of the president,
who came to praise the president and
not to challenge him," she said.
Rabbi Schwartzman talked with the
president about the recently announced
increase in poverty in the United States,
saying the rising numbers were of great
concern to Jews. When President Bush
said new jobs would help alleviate
poverty, the rabbi countered that afford-
able childcare was also needed to allow
more working parents to pursue jobs.
Participants — mostly pulpit rabbis
rather than Jewish organizational leaders
— were chosen by the White House
from names submitted by each stream's
rabbinical organization.
Rabbi Nevins noted that the group
— mostly Orthodox, with six.
Conservative and two Reform rabbis —
may have been chosen because "the
White House knows that support for
the administration is strongest among
our religious right and weakest on the
Some at the meeting described the
president as warm and engaging and
said he had a firm grasp on the issues.
"I was struck by the president's
warmth, humility and eloquence,"
Rabbi Nevins said, adding that Bush
was straightforward, not pandering.
"Even though I continue to disagree
with many of his policies, I must con-
cede the integrity of his vision for
America," Rabbi Nevins said. "I give
him credit for being principled and
strong in support of Israel, despite mas-
sive global pressure against his positions.
"In other words, he may not have
won my vote, but he did win my
respect. I'll reserve judgment on the
election until we see what the Dems
have to offer."

— Matthew E. Berger ofiTA contributed
to this story

Babi Yar Massacre
Is Commemorated

Kiev/JTA — Ukraine's president
marked the 62nd anniversary of the
Babi Yar massacre. Ukrainian offi-
cials laid flowers Monday at the site
in Kiev where more than 33,000
Jews were killed and dumped into a
ravine in September 1941. Between
100,000 and 200,000 people,
including non-Jews, were killed
there during the war.
Meanwhile, demonstrators in New
York protested the building of a
memorial and center at the site of
the Babi Yar massacre. Organizers
said 45 people demonstrated outside
the American Jewish Joint
Distribution Committee's headquar-
ters in New York.


Nazi Halftime
Show No Score

Dallas/JTA — A school band direc-
tor apologized for a performance
that included Nazi symbolism dur-
ing a high school football game.
Charles Grissom, band director at
Texas' Paris High School, said he
had intended for the "Visions of
World War II" show, which includ-
ed a rendition of Nazi favorite
"Deutschland Uber Alles" and a stu-
dent waving a Nazi flag, to be part
of a historical performance.
The flags and music of France,
Britain, Japan and the United States
were included, but the show back-
fired. "We were booed," Grissom
said. "We had things thrown at us."


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West Bank Barrier
To Be Expanded

Jerusalem/JTA — Israel approved
construction of a new section of its
West Bank security fence.
The cabinet decided that the 25-
mile stretch will not include the
Jewish West Bank city of Ariel, a
move to mollify U.S. concerns that
the project was endangering peace
efforts by prompting Palestinian
charges of a "land grab."
Instead, Ariel will have its own
fence, and a decision about connect-
ing it to the larger fence will be post-
poned for several months.

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