Shorts: Bay Area

Deported Russian emigre has baby girl

Yana Slobodova gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Paulina on Dec. 2 in St. Petersburg.

Slobodova is the Russian Jewish emigre piano teacher who was deported at the end of February 2004, after efforts by several Jewish organizations failed to keep her here with her husband, son and parents. Her husband, Alexander Makarchuk, and son are now with her in Russia.

Makarchuk is a naturalized U.S. citizen, and Slobodova’s parents’ request for citizenship is pending. Makarchuk is unable to work in Russia because of a back injury and his American citizenship. Slobodova is not well due to complications from her pregnancy, and therefore is unable to work as well.

Larisa Margulis, program associate at the Bay Area Council for Jewish Rescue and Renewal, spoke to Makarchuk on Dec. 7 and said that he will go to the U.S. Consulate to register his newborn daughter as an American citizen.

After Slobodova was deported, her attorneys filed an appeal for her to obtain humanitarian parole, which would allow her back into the United States while her case is further considered, but it was denied. A second appeal was filed, and a decision is expected soon.

Tahoe synagogue hit with racist graffiti

Congregants of South Lake Tahoe’s Temple Bat Yam discovered their synagogue spray-painted with the phrase “die Jew,” a pair of swastikas and an SS symbol earlier this week.

Several other swastikas were discovered on road signs or on the pavement in and about South Lake Tahoe.

The FBI has opened an investigation of the incident, which could be categorized as a felony hate crime. There are no suspects in the crimes, though the Tahoe Daily Tribune reported that local police plan to question a local adult white male after receiving “unofficial information” regarding the graffiti.

Rose Gabaeff, assistant regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said the presence of the “SS” marking could indicate the work of white supremacist groups as opposed to garden-variety mischievous teenagers.

Nazi-salute case can go forward

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has green-lighted a free-speech lawsuit brought by a man who was thrown out of a Santa Cruz City Council meeting after mocking the mayor with a Hitlerian salute.

After saluting Mayor Christopher Krohn at a March 2002 meeting, homeless-rights advocate Robert Norse was asked to leave. He refused but was removed by a police officer. Norse was jailed for nearly six hours before being released without charges being filed.

Norse claims his First Amendment rights were violated, but the city claims the salute fits within the parameters of its policy of ejecting anyone who disrupts a City Council meeting.

In a 2-1 ruling Dec. 3, the court decided more evidence is needed before it can be determined if Norse’s gesture is inherently disruptive.

In a dissenting view, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote that “even when the factual allegations are construed in the light most favorable to Norse, however, it cannot be doubted that his Nazi salute did occasion a significant disruption in the City Council’s proceedings.”

Russian Chanukah fest set for Dec. 12

A Chanukah celebration for the Russian-language community — or anyone who enjoys food and fun — is planned for 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, at the playground of Argonne Elementary School at Cabrillo and 17th Avenue, S.F.

Organizer Rabbi Shimon Margolin expects 300 to 500 people to attend the free celebration. Information: (415) 221-5280.