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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 14, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Thursday, November 14, 1974 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 5 Oppressive religious climate in Israel? By Eva Brewster, freelance writer Sarid, ISRAEL Few genuinely religious people Christians or Jews can im- agine that a government whose laws are based on biblical principles could be stifling to some people. The statement from some 500 Rus- sian emigrants in Belgium that an "oppressive religious climate" forced them to leave Israel was therefore received with considerable surprise in Canada and elsewhere. To find out what really happened to this group of Russian Jews, I talked to Schlomo Rosen, minister of immigration in Israel's new cabinet. According to Mr. Rosen's in-depth and very reliable in- formation, there is only a small nucleus of genuine Zionists in Russia who started the drive for a Jewish exodus originally. Many of them are now in Russian prisons and labor camps. Secondly, under the Communist regime, only a small number of older Jews have been brought up with religious laws and still prac- tice what they were taught. The latter originated mainly from the border countries, e.g. Latvia, Estonia, Poland and are people who genuinely wanted to come to Israel, ad- just well to life in a com- petitive, free society and are happy here. Only about 20 per cent of emigrants manage to get out of Russia proper and they are mainly younger intellectuals from Moscow and other large cities who only want to leave Russia. They are the scien- tists, writers, artists and uni- versity graduates who have discovered only comparably recently that restrictive com- munism is throttling their initiative and intellectual growth. To them, a visa to Israel and Israeli citizenship is merely a means to an end. Their ambition is to end up in Berry's World 1974 by NEA. Im "This catalog says if we, order something, the company promises not to sell our name to an- other direct mail the U.S., Canada, Belgium or Holland where they hope to be able to freely develop their professional aims and, in- cidentally, grow rich in the process. Of this 20 per cent, 80 per cent never come to Israel at all. An international organization, JOINT who help refugees from communism or any other oppressive regime to settle in the country of their choice wherever possible, assists them in Vienna's tran- sit camp. However, a defini- tion had to be made and a line drawn as to who is actually a refugee and what constitutes an "oppressive It was decided that all Rus- sian emigrants be given refugee status until such time as they reached, and were permitted to stay at, their chosen destination. Therefore, once these Russians had arriv- ed and been helped to settle in Israel, they were no longer considered refugees and would neither require nor get any further assistance from refugee organizations. It appears those who left Israel and turned up in Belgium pen- niless found they no longer qualified for aid and had to find a good reason to be recon- sidered as refugees. Since nobody can reasonably claim that the Israeli government is an "oppressive the "oppressive religious climate" was the second best definition to, once again, at- tain refugee status. Their real reasons for leav- ing Israel were many: Some families had sons of military age they did not want to be called up to perhaps die in a war. There were academics doctors, lawyers, dentists for instance who found their Russian training did not qualify them for the much higher standards required in Israel and who would either have to go back to university or change their jobs. Having held good positions in Russia, they couldn't face up to the truth of an inferior Russian education even if they were young enough to make a fresh start. Some had held high posts in the Communist hierarchy; others were "Grozenes" (natives of Grozny, U.S.S.R. city, north of Caucasus moun- tains) known for their wealth in Russia from supplying com- modities in the black market that were unattainable elsewhere. Both of these groups were suddenly faced with the fact that they would have to work hard to gain the comforts they had come by so much easier in Russia. And, of course, there were a few Com- munist provacateurs and spies who had been smuggled in with the rest. It is believed that the 20 or so refugees per- mitted to return to the Soviet Union via Vienna belonged to that category. But what about the religious climate in Israel? Could the Russians, whatever their real reasons for leaving, rightly claim this to be oppressive? Yes and no. No. because even the most orthodox of the Rabbinate make allowances for Russian immigrants and close one, if not both eyes to irregularities nobody else would get away with probably in the belief these people have suffered enough and that their secular and political background en- titles them to an extra degree of religious ignorance. However, a great deal of irritation, to say the least often real suffering is caus- ed by the tyranny of the religious sections in the government coalition. Only an infinitesmal part of the truth such as the fight over the definition as to "who is a surfaces from time to time in the press of other countries. Restrictive laws on what you may or may not eat which, in biblical times, were essential to public health and hygiene but are now con- sidered outdated by the ma- jority of Israelis, are the least of their problems. The serious issues often go much deeper. For instance, a child born of an adulterous union is publicly called a mamser (loosely translated: But this according to orthodox rules refers only to a woman's il- stone STORES In this uncertain world. if s nice to know we guarantee everything. We make it easy to be sure of wheel alignment. because we guarantee alignment for 40.000 miles. You're sure of starting for as long as you keep your car with the Lifetime Supreme battery. Our no-gimmick guarantee covers every passenger tire even retreads. In addition to all our written guarantees, there's our Customer Satisfaction Guarantee that covers everything else at Firestone Stores. See the folder that explains how and why we guarantee everything and see the written guarantees for full details. OUT traction guarantee says a lot about confidence... ours-and yours! There's just no way we could guarantee traction if we had any doubts But we know what our winter tires can do That's why we can guarantee to pay up to 57 m towing charge if your Firestones" let you down in ice or snow. SNOW CHAMPION NYLON miles of guaranteed stopping! Town Country WHITEWALL legitimate child. The man, even if he is married and as long as he doesn't take another man's wife, can have children out of wedlock who are considered legitimate. The mamser offspring may not marry anybody but another "bastard." Children of a gentile woman can only marry a Jew after conversion to Judaism; but, even although the father may be Jewish, conversion is made very difficult since the orthodox reject proselytizing. Men belonging to the priestly family of Cohanim are not permitted to marry widows or divorcees and, since there is no civil marriage in Israel all these laws impose real hardship on many young people. While there are different shades of the Jewish creed all over the world ranging from reform, liberal, conservative to orthodox and ultra- orthodox, the orthodox religious Zionist parties in Israel were given a monopoly which dates back to the foun- dation of the Jewish State. Because of this monopoly, they were in a position to define Judaism thus excluding other, less rigid Jewish groups. Therefore, a convert who had become a Jew, say, under the guidance of a conservative Rabbi in America would not be recognized as a Jew by the orthodox in Israel and would have to undergo a further conversion. The religious parties attempt to make the Sabbath a day without communication or transport although for most working people this is the only time they can visit relatives and friends or take their families for an outing. Similarily, they prevent theatre performances and other cultural entertainment on the Sabbath eve thereby, Israelis complain, encourag- ing them to stay at home and play cards. They even enforce their ritual laws on gentile tourists who have to conform to many unreasonable rules in restaurants and hotels and run the risk of having their cars wrecked by ultra-religious stone throwers. There have even been incidents of cars be- ing overturned and set on fire on the Sabbath which, to the vast majority of Israelis, is a much greater violation of biblical laws than driving. From the cradle to the grave, from circumcision to ritual burial, people are torc- ed to obey the often archaic laws of the religious parties. Yet. some of the old. often left-wing guard who most strongly object to such religious influence, still main- tain that this coalition with the orthodox parties is necessary. They give as their reason that even non-religious Jews in the diaspora (abroad) wish their brethren in Israel to obey the Jewish law and often insist their so badly needed practical and financial contributions depend on the moral behaviour of Israelis. For many religious Jews in other countries, this litigation seems rather far-fetched. They can't understand why internal unity in Israel should be jeopardized on such an academic issue. Many authorities among them the Chief Rabbi of London, an orthodox Jew himself are of the opinion that religion should be kept out of politics. Therefore, whatever the real reasons for the Russian emigrants leaving Israel their claim of an "oppressive religious climate" may have some justification even if it obviously did not apply to their particular situation. Canadian heritage By Louis Burke, Lethbridge teacher What Frenchman exists in France who does not know his nation's historical background? What Swede? What Italian? What American even? With regard to our own country, this question, it seems, ought to be put in another way altogether. What Canadian lives who knows anything about his own country? The knowledge of Canada begins in the schools. Canadian educators, in recent decades, from coast to coast from border to the Arctic Ocean, have completely neglected this part of the nation's education. In sub- stitute, students by the thousand in the last decade have been processed through a series of innocuous studies known as Social Studies. Our history and geography appear therein as appendices; dangling entities rather yellowed and quite ready for surgery which many- so-called educators would gladly volunteer to perform. In Canada west, this educational rut gets deeper and duller. History is the record of things past, but it also holds the secrets of the future. To go forward, then, one must examine the footprints of the past; the way already travelled. Only in the study of that record lies the hope for things tomorrow. Any neglect of the past keeps us in the whirlpool of the present and prevents progress. Briefly summed, Social Studies in its pres- ent form resembles a merry-go-round, but unhappily there is nothing merry about this educational go-round. Its Canadian historical and geographical content appears to be minimal and gets less and less as the young person goes through school. This could not. and does not, happen in any other country the Dilemmas of modern Spain, or Canadian world over. New Zealand, China, Mexico. How extraordinary educators' Schools neglect the study of Canadian geography, indeed, some teachers even re- ject it as a viable educational subject. They study South America, South Africa. South Vietnam and a dozen other places to the com- plete detriment of Canadian studies, and most of such studies are mickey mouse af- fairs called research papers. True, a student should have some knowledge of far away places, but certainly not at the expense of Canadian studies. Australia is not more important than Saskatchewan; India is not more problematic than Newfoundland; Russia is not more ex- citing than the Northwest Territories. There is. moreover, no part of the world more im- portant for the Canadian student to study than Canada. He must first learn about what goes on in his own backyard if he or she ever hopes to understand the problems of others. This is the correct educational principal and not the reverse as so many people in education parade for public consumption. Canadian studies both historical and geographical must come first in Canadian schools, or the nation will surely pay the price of this neglect. Indeed, an enormous price is being paid now. and the bill tomorrow staggers the human imagination. It is not that educators should turn around and neglect the rest of the world. But why do most of them ig- nore Canada in their educational policies and principles? Coping with aging By Doug Walker, editorial page editor "Aging is not a dilemma, of modern or any other man or woman, but a fact of said Dr. Helena Z. Lopata. a sociologist at Loyola University, Chicago, during the Winnipeg Centennial Symposium on Dilemmas of Modern Man. creates the dilemmas are some of the ways in which the process of aging or the stage of life known as 'old age' are perceived." Although old age and chronological age are not synonomous it is commonly assumed that old age begins at 65, the time at which, sup- posedly physical and mental decline general- ly sets in. Increasingly, people remain physically active and mentally alert well beyond 65 and may not be incapacitated before death. Unfortunately, there is something of a stigma attached to being old and in Western societies youth is idealized "no Miss America has been even near 65 years of age." as Dr. Lopata wryly observed. The longings for rejuvenation, as a result "of this great emphasis on youth, are foolish and futile. "A youth pill is highly improbable." declared Dr. Nathan Shock, chief of the Gerontology Research Centre, Baltimore City Hospitals. He referred to attempts to delay or reverse the 'effects of aging through drugs and special treatments, none of which have stood the test of controlled experimental work. Aging seems to be too complex a phenomenon to be affected by any single therapy or treatment such as injection of Gerovital or of sex hormones. Although aging is just a fact, there are dilemmas created by the increasing numbers of old people in the world. The number of elderly people is increasing even more rapid- ly than the general population, according to Sir Ferguson Anderson, professor of geriatric medicine at the University of Glasgow. While life expectancy is increasing for everyone, it is increasing more rapidly for women than for men and thereby creating a social problem. This prompted Sir Ferguson to wit- tily observe that "nothing would improve the mental health of older women more than ex- tending the life of older men." There is a concern that the increasing number of elderly people will greatly add to the need for medical and social services. Indeed, the moderator of the session on ag- ing posed the question of whether there would be enough working people to support the old people in a decade. Dr. Shock said this kind of concern is based on the false assumption that any increase in life span will simply extend the period of disability. "It is much more likely." he said, "that research on aging will reduce the incidence of disease and disability and will in fact lengthen "middle age' rather than prolong senility." Even now only about five per cent of the population over the age of 65 require hospitalization or institutional care. The other 95 per cent of the population over 65 are living active and productive lives. The goal of gerontologic research is to reduce the number of people needing institutional care and to make life for all in old age more meaningful. The primary device for coping with aging is continued physical and mental activity, it has been found. "Numerous studies have shown clearly that individuals who continue to par- ticipate in community activities are less adversely affected by aging than are those who withdraw and become more and more concerned with their own feelings and problems." said Dr. Shock. He also said that maintenance of a program of daily physical exercise is beneficial, as is proper diet and the minimizing of stress such as cigarette smoking (aging in the lungs is accelerated on the average by about 10 years as a result of smoking Sir Ferguson Anderson said it is generally agreed that old people are happier and possibly healthier in their own homes. He ad- vocated the implementation of a system of visiting nurses to call regularly on old people to help them cope. He also believes, naturally, that doctors need increased educa- tion in geriatrics. In a world where so many things seem to be going rather badly it is refreshing to learn that there is so much optimism about the possibility of most people living their later years happily and in good health provided some of the threats to human survival are removed no doubt. ON THE USE OF WORDS By Theodore M. Bernstein 4 WHEEL DRUM til OuVt ATT Lininrjj; to FRONT DISC BRAKES NC.KV DIM: r I 8-ofl' We moke it eas OUR cwerr PLAN OR STORES Cornir3rdAvi.48tliSt.S. Phone 327-8548 ELECTRIC HOT SERVER JOFA HOCKEY STICKS Books in brief "The Rainbow" by Hearl S. Bnck. (John Day, dis- tributed by Longman's Canada This is a posthumous novel about the modern American theatre. The author, who died last year, is best known for her Nobel prize winning Chinese novel The Good Earth, which was first published in 5931. The Rainbow probes beyond the masks behind which ac- tors, directors, and others hide from their public, from each other, and even themselves. The story is told through the eyes of one who comes on the theatre scene as a financial backer. Pearl Buck displays her recognized story telling ability in a genre new to most of her readers. This is an interesting novel on the un- usual people connected with the stage E G MAROON Color word. Occasionally you will hear or read something like this: "Mr. Gonzalez is a stout, dark complected man." The word com- plected is shunned in good usage. Probably it is what is called a back formation a nonex- istent word coined from an actual word that is erroneously supposed to be derived from it. Connection is derived from connect and inflection is derived from inflect; therefore, someone or someones must have thought at one time, complexion must be derived from a word complect. But no. The root of complex- ion is the same as the root of complex. There is no such word as complect or complected in this sense; they are irregular inventions So say the man is dark-complexioned. Two-timing. Lawyers have plenty of repetitive cliches wtil and testament, for ex- ample, or communicate and transmit or indemnify and hold harmless. But they have no monopoly of such expressions Many are :n common too common use Here is one "The commission is working on forty-eight separate and distinct projects Drop either of those words (or both, for Ihat mailer ar.d see if there is any difference in meaning. Here is another "India's attitude has he-en that Kashmir is Part and parcel of her country- What does parcel contribute to the sense of Ihe sentence" A third example "He disclaimed any and all ;hr ganp Vote for one 1 -idnblrdl-v re- pressions of that kind were originally used for emphasis, but now they are hackneyed and bromidic. if you'll pardon the repetition Out of place. The following sentence il- lustrates a fairly common misplacement of an adverb "The period from mid-Marrh to April 6 is believed to have been the time of 1he heaviest and most potentially controver- sial Republican contributions The most doesn't modify potentially, as this placement suggests, but rather Thcrefore. proper placement would make it read, potentially the most controversial Word oddities. It is not the longest word in the language, hut it may well be the silliest, and Shakespeare was kidding when he coined i1 11 appears in Love's Labor's Lost." Art V Srpnc 1 and 'if the pnnler is up 1o it' it iike this honorificabililudimlatibus Its meaning'' Honnrablcness Distance, oi course, lends enchantment. An example of how poor positioning of a phrase Vjm p. sentence into nonsense The sf'ir.d arc Sdifi to be so effective that on occasion monitors have eavesdropped on a jungle seduction involving a Nnnh Vietnamese soldier and a woman auxiliary, "ban iw miles away The more Iban miles away' should. br insert erf ifter 'seduction ;