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May 01, 1959 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1959-05-01

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Purely Commentary


W. K. Kelsey's Views on the 'Separation' Principle

The Detroit News' brilliant commentator, W. K. Kelsey, is
one of the most liberal writers we know. He hasn't an iota of
bias in his heart. He doesn't know the meaning of the word
prejudice. We know of no other man who would fight as ardently
against religious discrimination as he would.
We respect, therefore, his views on the American principle
of the separation of church and state, but we must differ with
him. In hisdisciission of the banning of the reading of the Lord's
Prayer in the N. Y. Nassau County schools, he quoted several
Old and New Testament gems and declared his love for Biblical
stories which "he found exciting." Then under the sub-head
"Going Too Far," Mr. Kelsey had this to say:
"The First Amendment of the Federal Constitution says:
`Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.'
"The commentator is under the impression that when
this amendment, the first in the so-called Bill of Rights, was
ratified by three-fourths of the states existing at the time, the
people were providing against a statute making the Church of
England, or any other church, the official body 'of faith in the
United States, and nothing further.
"Certainly they were not legislating to keep the Lord's
Prayer, excerpts from the Old and New Testaments, and some
of the best (and worst) religious music out of the public
schools. It was not they, but this nutty generation, which is

doing that."

There is some inconsistency in this view. If our Founding
Fathers sought to keep "any church" from becoming "the official
religious body of faith in the United States," as Mr. Kelsey
wrote, they were also doing much more than that: they were
preventing any wedge from being forced to pry open an avenue
towards the introduction of religion into our public schools or
any other public institution.
• It is not only the Biblical quotation that matters: there is
also the issue of interpretation. It depends on who does the
quoting. There is more than one version; for instance, of the
Ten Commandments, and while it does not matter how the
Commandments are grouped, as long as they are adhered to, it
may make a big difference as to who interprets them, and how
it is done.
There should be no objections to religious interpretations in
Schools of higher learning, where comparisons of religious-teach-
ings can be discussed in principle by mature students. But when
religious instruction is introduced in public schools, where
untrained teachers may tend to impose their views on young
pupils who come from homes of differing faiths, the danger of
the imposition of religious views exists and is inevitable.
Any breach that would tend to destroy the separation idea
is menacing to the basic principleS - Oraiir– democratic way of
life. That is how Jefferson and Madison felt; that is, why three-
fourths of the original 13 States approved the Bill of Rights and
made the separation idea a basic principle in our democracy.
-Mr. Kelsey could have had a different argument. He might
have said that this is. after all, a Christian :country.. Wedges
already have hammered into the First Amendment and already
have split it. The "In God We Trust" on our currency, the
phrase "Under God" that was added five years ago to the Pledge
to the Flag, have introduced religious ideas into our daily
practices and into the symbols of our Americanism.
Nevertheless, the idea of separation, still being on our law
books, beckons all Americans to defend it. It is • not only the
minority religions that must fight for it. Its strongest supporters
happen to be Protestants, who form the majority of our popu-
We respect Mr. Kelsey's views, but we can not accept his
advocacy of the use even of the Old Testament as part of public
school teachings. Of course, we share his love for the Biblical
stories, but we desire to have the teaching of them left to the
religious schools and to the homes in the fashion of the accept-
ance of dogmas in the respective homes.
Those who wish to advance religious teachings as part of
secular school curricula have the right to establish parochial
schools. For those of us who desire to perpetuate the public
school educational system, religion must be completely separated
from it. If we permit the wedge, which Mr. Kelsey regrettably
accepts, to enter into our educational system, we shall soon have
more parochial schools and less public schools. We doubt whether
Mr. Kelsey means to accept such a revolution in democratic
living and thinking.

The Vindication of Alfred Dreyfus

From time to time, new evidence crops up to throw light on
historic cases, the consequences of which created international
complications. The famous Affaire Dreyfus was certainly among
the most sensational court cases in history.
Other sensational cases about which the public is frequently
reminded were the Leo Frank tragedy of Atlanta, Ga., and the
Massachusetts Sacco and Vanzetti case. In all these happenings,
there still are people who believe that the accused were guilty.
That is why it is so urgent that vital evidence should be placed
on the record.
A bit of such evidence, relating to the Dreyfus Case in
France, was made public in the Sunday Times of London, Eng-
land, in the form of the following letter from Mrs. Virginia
E. MacLean, of London:

In the current film "I Accuse," Michael Trubshawe plays
the man to whom Count Esterhazy confesses that it was he, and
not the wrongly-accused Captain Dreyfus, who had betrayed
French military information to the Germans. This confidant, not
named in the film, was my maternal grandfather, Edward Platt,
better known as "Paul Trent," the novelist.
After my grandfather died in 1946 I acquired the only copy
of his unpublished memoirs, in which he describes this incident,
which ultimately secured Dreyfus's acquittal.
On August 31, 1898, Esterhazy came to England as an exile,
styling himself "Count Jean-Marie de Voilement." By then his
duplicity lad been suspected but he had not confessed.
In the section of my grandfather's memoirs for 1899-1900,
when he was a solicitor (he did not become a novelist until
1909), he states that, after having been introduced to de Voile-
ment by a friend, de Voilement came to his office to consult

Commentators Differ

By Philip


P. S. vs. Kelsey . . • Data


Vindicating Dreyfus

Hias Supervises
Settling Refugees
in Western Lands

Count Esterhazy and went on to say that he himself had written
the bordereau. (The famous scrap of paper giving details of
Direct JTA Teletype Wire
French fortifications at Nice.) He thought that this information
To The Jewish News
might prove to be of value, especially to a newspaper . . ."
NEW YORK — The United
My grandfather took down a long statement at Esterhazy's Hias Service Staff in Vienna and
dictation, and then visited Sir (then 1'1r.) Henry Norman, assis- other cities in Europe is con-
tant editor of the now defunct "Daily Chronicle." Norman said tinuing to process Jewish emi-
he would publish the facts, and requested an interview with grants from Eastern European
Esterhazy. countries who wish to be re-
When Edward Platt called on Est.erhazy that same evening settled in western hemisphere
he found he had left, and received a letter from him the next countries, James P. Rice, execu-
day from Amsterdam. Platt immediately went to Holland but tive director of the worldwide
failed to extract anything from the Count. On his return he Jewish migration body, said
reported his failure to Henry Norman, who made a very sub- Tuesday.
stantial offer of money for an exclusive story.
Rice, who returned from
Platt returned to Amsterdam and persuaded Esterhazy to
come to London. On his arrival they had a short conference Europe Monday, reported to
and on the following day Platt and Norman helped Esterhazy Carlos L. Israels, Hias president,
make a final draft of his statement. Later, in the evening, the that there was 'a small group of
three of them visited a notary public and Esterhazy swore a migrants who, for various rea-
formal oath that his confession was true. sons, especially family reunion,
The Count left London two days later and settled in Hert- wanted to emigrate to countries
fordshire. He died in 1923 and was buried at Harpenden. other than those originally pro-
A postscript to this story was added on June 18, 1957, when jected for them. Hias, he said,
was seeking visas for these
the Alfred Dupont collection of manuscripts was sold in Paris.
Among the items was the famous "written admission" by Ester- people. Hias is a beneficiary of
hazy which he had signed in London in February, 1900. It the United Jewish Appeal.
In the past four years, Hias
fetched 425,000 francs (425 pounds).
While these facts have become generally known long ago, has resettled close to 35,000 .
the revelations of the source of the acquisition of the Esterhazy Jews in the United States, Can-
confession is of great significance. In any event, even the mere ada, Latin America, Australia
referral to the falseness of the accusations against Captain Alfred and elsewhere. Of these, more
Dreyfus, and the exposure of the guilty—including the military than 14,000 were Jewish men,
clique in France that was set on sacrificing Dreyfus in order women and children who man-
to protect a few army officers — is important in righting and aged to leave Hungary following
the revolt of 1956. An additional
documenting historical facts.
800 to 1,000 Hungarian Jews
remain in Western Europe,
in Shape of a Megillah Scroll
A Unique Haggadah
according to Rice, will be re-
We are indebted to El Al Israel Airlines for a unique gift— settled this year, mostly in the
a Passover Haggadah in the form of a Megillah Scroll.
United States under provision
It was made by the Magdim publishing house in Tel Aviv. of 1957 U.S. refugee legislation..
It contains the major portions of the Haggadah and was, of
necessity, abbreviated.
Herut Labor Group Grows
Artistic, multi-colored and typographically beautiful, it is
one of the most effective documents to be published in Israel. to Membership of 140,000
It is one of the many fascinating products that prove the
tional Federation of Labor, the
creative genius of the Israelis.
trade-union organization spon-
The great merit in the Scroll Haggadah is that it contains sored by the right-wing Herut
all of the major selections from the Passover Seder ritual, and Party, has grown in a quarter
the eliminations in no sense affect even the most .traditional of a century from a member-
ship of 35 workers to 140,000,
observance. , .
This Haggadah Ys -entirely in Hebrew. :That's its only draw- according to a report made at
back for widest possible use by English-Speaking Jews, for Beersheba, where the Federa-
whom the English translation is very important if the banal tion held its 25th anniversary
Sedorim .that were described by HerMan - Wouk : .-and. Myron celebration and its ninth na-
tional convention.
K au f man a are to be avoided and eliminated ,

. Agazri
in Attack °tit IJ A•


_ .

Ho' - y:er in Saddle

- .


1 01•11,1 ■0■ 112,110.17.111M.VIMI.•Mr.!..11•11/.04 ■•1 ■ 04 ■ 04•••011•1•4).41•013.11•1•141 ■ 11.0ifIl

Boris Smolar's

Between You
. and Me'

Henry S. Moyer, of Scarsdale,
N.Y., on ascending the presi-
(Copyright, 1959
Agency, Inc.)
dency- of the American Council o
Jewish T
(Continued from Page 1)
for • Judaism's "Philanthropic
Fund" last week renewed the the Romanian Jews • permission to remain in Vienna . . . The
Council's attack on the UJA, official figures I secured for the months of December and Jan-
Israel and all organized Jewish uary show that only six Jews — and not. 60 as the Council for
philanthropy and humanitarian- Judaism claimed in its fund-raising drive — have at that time
ism out-side of its own selective remained in Vienna.
The Motives:
It appears presumptuous to talk about helping "stranded"
In this new broadside, the
ACJ has kited its original fig- Romanian Jews in Vienna with $5,000, as the Council for Judaism
ures of 60 stranded Jews in does, since the JDC, Hias and the - Jewish Agency are there
Vienna to 95, though official on the spot, spending huge sums to take care of the arriving
Viennese government figures Jews from Romania and their transportation. to Israel and other
show that just .six Jews in the countries . . . What kind of aid can the Council's $5,000 be for
Romanian exodus elected to re- "stranded" Romanian Jews in Vienna? . .-Why cannot the
Council cooperate with the JDC and the Hias? . . Why does it
main in Vienna.
The Council charges that the do its utmost to undermine the United Jewish Appeal, which
UJA grossly exaggerated its enjoys the confidence of the entire American Jewry? . . . How
estimates of the Romanian does this $5,000 compare with the enviable record • of the JDC
exodus proportions and that the aid given in hundreds of millions of dollars during the years
Jewish Agency has "overstimu- of the existence of this organization which is the pride of
lated emigration" and "delib- American Jewry and enjoys world wide reputation? . . . Why
erately created refugees" to the has the Council seen it necessary to serve as a disruptive element
detriment of world Jewry. This, in philanthropic Jewish fund-raising in - the United States? .. .
they claim, was done to further In the light of these questions, one is inclined to suspect that
the selfish aims of Israel, Zion- political motives—and not the interest of aid to Jews—are really
ism and the United Jewish behind the separate fund-raising effort of the Council . It is
entirely laudable that Jews should want to help their fellow-
The Council membership num- Jews in distress — and I believe that American Jews are entitled
bers but a few thousand and to differences of opinion on how this may be done . .. But the
stands in opposition to nearly long record of the Council is far from showing anything con-
all other Jewish organizations, structive . In the opinion of many, the Council's philanthropic
both Zionist, secular and religi- fund was established two years ago only because the Council
ous, who are unanimous in their could not withstand the long-time criticism that its entire pro-
support of the State of Israel gram was destructive and offered nothing constructive . . . The
and the efforts to rescue op- Council's fund-raising effort, and its present injection in the
pressed Jews from countries Romanian refugee situation, is therefore looked upon as being
where they are persecuted and primarily another propaganda device — hardly a serious effort
to offer Israel as a haven for to truly aid Jews in need . . . The position of the United Jewish
Appeal is that it will help a Jew get to wherever he wants to go
Jews everywhere.
The "Philanthropy Fund" be- and can go . . . What has the Council really done to urge that
gan three years ago and was U.S. to admit Jews from Romania? . . . The actual fact is
brought to bear recently as a there is no place where the vast majority of Jews, oppressed,
propaganda weapon in its fight distressed, threatened, can go today except to Israel . .

against TJJA's rescue

Israel -- does not want to see or to admit.
him professionally. "To my amazement; he revealed himself as Romanian emigrants via Israel.

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