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U.S. Jewish Families to Experience Soviet Immigration to Israel Through Unique UJA Program

The United Jewish Appeal, in conjunction with the Jewish Agency in Israel, has begun a special program to enable American Jewish families to experience directly the immigration and resettlement processes of Soviet Jews seeking new lives in Israel, Paul Zuckerman, UJA general chairman announced yesterday before he and some 250 top American Jewish community leaders left for a three-day UJA “Prime Minister’s Mission” in Israel.

Participating families will share at first-hand with Russian immigrants the inspiration of initial reception at Vienna, the flight to Israel, and the very real problems which occur during the difficult period of early absorption in a new society,” Zuckerman explained. “We hope that the families will grasp the meaning of this historic immigration in all its complexity–the dislocations, the anxieties, the hope, the achievements and problems as well as the emotional stress and financial cost. We want them to bring that understanding back with them and communicate it dramatically to their communities.”

One of the major problems in the UJA campaign is to interpret the culture shock of moving from one society to another and particularly–as in the case of Soviet Jews–leaving a closed, repressive state for a free, democratic one. In order to help create such an understanding, and have it spread throughout the American Jewish community, families are being selected to “live in” with Russian Jewish families from the first moment of their step into freedom in Vienna as they arrive from the USSR through to a point in Israel when the absorption process is well under way.

Families to participate in the week-long programs are being selected by Federations and Welfare Funds throughout the country on the basis of community leadership and the ability to understand and express the human relationships they will encounter. The first two families selected for this special program will depart for Vienna during the last week in August and the first week in September, respectively. They are : Ralph and Frances Stern and their children, Ronald and Sharon, of Morristown, N.J., and Milton and Harriet Perlmutter and their children, Frank Genesia and David, of Newark, N.J.

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