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January 8, 1975     The Jewish Transcript
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January 8, 1975
 

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Page 4 The Jewish Transcript January 8, 1975 -- n n[ nn TRANSCRIPT Published semi-monthly, except July-August (monthly)by the Seattl, Jewish Transcript, a non-profit corporation owned by the Seattle Jewish Federation. HERBERT I. ROSEN, Pres. MURRAY SHIFF, Exec. Director IRWIN L. TREIGER Chairman, Transcript Committee Vice-chairman-SOL M. TACHE R Editorial Editor-ROBERT SECORD Managing Editor-JOHN WARD News Assistant-MYRNA SECORD Office Manager-GERI GREEN Offices-Suite 609 Securities Bldg. Seattle, WA. 98101 624-0136 Second class postage paid at Seattle, WA. Subscription Rate-1 year $6,2 years $9 The Tronscript wecomes expressions of opinion in typed, signed letters to 300 words. Letters are subject to editing. If requested, initials will be used. (Address or phone essential) Salute to V01u nteers If one thing has made an impression on the Transcript staff during the past year, it has been the vigor and en- thusiasm of the literally hundreds of volunteers we have encountered. The number of Jewish community volunteers is little short of astounding. We have been called the People of the Book for centuries. Perhaps there are many who feel we have drifted away from individual scholarship into a mass of organizations, one competing with the other. Certainly there is some truth in such a supposition. But the remarkable thing is thafall of the organizational life in the Jewish community is in one way or another aimed at strengthening our Jewishness. That a people which has been kicked around for so many centuries still has so much willingness to fight to survive, to improve itself intellectually, to retain its own Jewish identity, suggests that our identity means a great deal to most of us. Men, women and young people, rich and poor, sick and robust--it doesn't seem to matter. There is a great reservoir of srength in "American Jewish life at every level, primarily because of the volunteer efforts of those who are willing to give--time, money, skill or all three. As 1975 gets underway, we salute everyone whose efforts are given freely, helping to enrich and sustain our heritage. Good deeds, in the long run, have a way of providing their own reward. Community Relations The Federation board has asked the community rela- tions committee to develop specific recommendations for staffing and funding This committee, in the past, has been a volunteer lay group hampered by inability to act on matters of importance because there simply was not sufficient staff or money to act promptly and with con- finuity. As hard as lay people have worked in this area in Federation, many members of the board have felt that effective community relations are too important and too difficult to be handled without some professional help. The committee's chairman, Barry Ernsfoff, and those working with him, will present their recommendations as to how best to handle community relations in terms of staffing and funding. Community relations, specifically, refers to handling such problems as the following: anti-Semitism, social and economic justice, civil liberties issues, church-state issues, interreligious relations, Jews in Arab countries, Soviet Jewry and a number of problems related to Israel. Seattle has the largest US. Jewish population in the Northwestern states, and Washington state has only one organized Jewish Federation. As effective as the local branches of national Jewish agencies may be, they are not always in a position to speak for the Jewish community at the local level. The need to develop an effective community relations program through Federation is apparent. The Transcript will report more specifically on developments as they take place. It is comforting that Federation is moving in this direction. In these days of instant communication and international, local, and national tensions, this is an idea whose time has come. 'The Last Exodus' By Len Schroeter On Soviet Jewry The Last Exodus. By Leonard Schroeter. Universe Books. 432 pp. $1095. by Harold Ticktin Bismarck once remarked that the best index to a nation's civility is the extent to which its Jews are granted civil rights. By that criterion it is painfully clear that Soviet Russia is somewhere near the bottom of any hypothetical scale of civilization, perhaps exceeded only by Syria, where the word "civilization" has become a total mockery... Heart and Mind The precise dimensions of the squeeze on three million Soviet Jews is explored in depth by Seattle attorney, Leonard Schroeter Schroeter is well qualified to comment on the Russian Jewish scene, having himself traced a line from an early Marxism to a mature anti-Soviet position. As he describes this evolution, from his days as a small-town Indiana Jew to the principal legal assistant to the Attorney General of Israel specifically assigned to the problem of Soviet Jewish immigration, he rather reminds one of the quip that, "If you are not a Marxist when you are 20, you have no heart, but if you are still a Marxist when you are 40, you have no mind." Succinct History Schroeter does two important things: First, he provides a suc- cinct history of the city-by-city Zionist movement in Russia, with detailed discussions of the major figures, the trials and the triumph of this beleagered aliya. Second, and perhaps more im- portant, Schroeter provides the reader w.ih a comprehensive survey of the dissident movements in Russia. He analyzes post-Stalin Soviet society, which cannot seem to make up its mind whether to return to the Krushchev thaw of the middle 1950's or all the way to Stalin. Schroeter has little patience with governments... indeed, if any state comes in for criticism, aside from his devastating exposure of the Soviets, it is Israel, with its ad hoc policy toward burgeoning Soviet Zionism. Often, official Israeli responses to the urgent cries for help from Russian Jews are comparable to the kind of bureaucratic reflex for which the Soviets have been roundly denounced. Moreover, there are overtones of cover-ups and withholdings of information we Americans are now all too familiar with. Work Around Gov'ts. Schroeter implies that popular protest, firmly girded in principle and unmovable by pleas for "regular channels" is the only way to move the innate bureaucratic tendency of constituted govern- merit. Obviously, this is much easier in Israel or the West, where "regular channels" include a free press and a free judiciary. For the Western reader, Jewish or non-Jewish, The Last Exodus is a mind-opening experience precisely on this score. Schroeter reminds us censorship in Russia is so complete that, theoretically, no one knows It exists, because it is forbidden to state that there Is censorship. True Oppression In the U.S. " ,, newsworthiness is used to "confront" society and its repressions. No such concept exists in Russia. Not only is news of crime and natural disaster left routinely Continued on Page 9 -mE SMocK 0000TMgNT nj ID ,,Nb  Ins srael rLAm by Carl AIpert From Moscow with Love Haifa--"You are listening to Shalom V' Kidma, the broadcasting station of peace and progress which comes to you every day from Moscow at 5:30 o'clock Greenwich time..." Every day, for the last 10 years, Israells who are Interested have been able to listen to Moscow's Hebrew br.oadlc, on 257, ,40 and 41 meters The daily 30-minute program is pretty much what one might expect in the way of propaganda, but with some distinctive characteristics of its own For one thing, the text is delivered in a dull, monotonous fashion. It lacks the dramatic hyperbole, the colorful exaggeration and hysteria of similar broadcasts from Arab capitals. :l'he latter at least provide a source of amusement to Israells since the distortion of the news is so obvious. The Russians, on the other hand, adhere fairly closely to actual facts in the news, in an obvious attempt to win credibility. It is when the announcer begins his polemics that we hear talk of Israel's alleged daily murderous acts against the Arabs; of Israeli genocide against its neighbors. We are told that Israel hates peace, and wants to keep the fruits of its aggression. We are puppets of the American munitions makers and of the oil monopolies who are upsetting world economy. The oil monopolies, it turns out, are American companies! Perfect Hebrew The male and female voices deliver their lines in almost per- fectly accented Hebrew--but read the text like 10-year-olds who haven't the faintest idea what they are reading. They pause In the wrong places and end sentences up In the air. The script is written in perfect Idiomatic and grammatically correct Hebrew. The writer must get tired some days. It's not always easy to fill 30 minutes, and so the program often repeats major portions of previous programs, irrespective of the Importance of the content. Thirty minutes must be filled. The Soviet commissars don't understand Hebrew anyhow, so what's the difference? Who are these broadcasters? Perhaps former members of the Russian embassy staff in Tel AVlV, who learned Hebrew when they were in Israel? .I_ Former immigrants to Isra Jews or otherwise, who were s,:n, he'e a= plenl=, end remaincl; I enoogh to learn Hebrew Ulpan at Jewish Agency expense' 8 One story has if that the girl i.s, Sabra, married to a Russian iw" migrant who went back to the Soviet Union--with his w fe. In all fairness if must be $all that attacks against israel are oT e second in importance on T program. In first place is the bu IId'd given to Russia and 1 achievements We are told ', , 01 progress in Russian industrY, ,5 the stability of the country economy" of the Soviet's yearning desire for world peace. Double Talk The attitude to the U.S. Is ar" bivalent. On the one hand, Radl0 Moscow assails U.S. imperlallS and war monger rig; on the otll hand it hails detente wit Washington. Free trade betw.ee Russia and America is stressed' is obviously very important  them. el And then back to the Isra theme again. Following a sessl0 of threats against us, the voice=5 from Moscow become wheedling: After all, the USSR recognlZ; Israel's right to exist and ., secure, but we must give uP ou, policy of conquest. Arafat wants only an In" dependent Arab state, but car" tainly not at the expense of israel" So says Moscow, reassuringly' l The message becomes dull an boring. Many an evening I ha; , fallen asleep In the mlddle of ;I broadcast. I really shouldn't ray , this to the propanganda chiefs ; Moscow, but their programs - i Hebrew are uninteresting. ! They are fearfully repetltl;#; The announcers don't know w they're reading and the scO writer is cheating on h!S minutes. Presumably all -Id forgiven if the name of Le,'00 Brezhnev Is mentioned at leas times in each broadcast.