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Refusenik Might Be Tried for ‘Draft Evasion’

Mikhail Rosenshtein, the 21-year-old son of Moscow refusenik Grigory Rosenshtein, is likely to be tried in June for "draft evasion," according to the National Conference on Soviet Jewry.

Mikhail, a recent paramedical graduate, applied for permission to emigrate to Israel in 1978, after his father’s application for the family was rejected four years earlier because of alleged access to "state secrets, " Promised an exit permit in June, 1979, Mikhail never received one. There is speculation that the charge of draft evasion is being used to place Mikhail and other refuseniks in a "Catch 22" situation: many, including Mikhail, seek exemption from military service because it is used as a means to further delay permission to leave on the basis of state security.

The Rosenshteins are one of a growing number of Jewish families trying to raise their children in a traditional, religious manner. Grigory teaches them history and customs, while his wife, Natalia, instructs them in Hebrew. They have held seminars on Jewish religion and culture in their home, and celebrate the Jewish holidays. The youngest son, Efraim, became Bar Mitzvah in a private ceremony in September 1982.

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