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August 14, 1959 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1959-08-14

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THE DETR OIT JEWISH NE W S Fri day, August 14, 19 5 9 2

Purely Commentary. .

STOCKHOLM—Students of social developments
in Jewish communities and those who desire to
acquire a- more complete knowledge of Jewish
historical facts will benefit greatly from a visit
to the Scandinavian countries.
There are about 6.000 Jews in Denmark, ap-
proximately 900 Jews in all of Norway and about
12,000 Jews in Sweden. Their position as citizens
is glorious, their status as Jews is precarious.
Those who have argued that anti-Semitism has
been a . major cause of Jewish survival will find
support for their viewpoint in Scandinavia.
At the Jewish , community reception for dele-
gates to the World Jewish Congress, your Com-
mentator spoke with young and old, leaders and
laymen: in the main, there appears to be little
hope that Scandinavian Jewry can survive the
wave of assimilation.
Admittedly, 70 percent of the Jewish mar-
riages in Denmark are intermarriages. Some have
given the percentage of intermarriages as close
to 60, and there seems to be agreement that at
least 50 percent of the Jews in Sweden inter-
marry. In fact, one of the leading rabbis in Stock-
holm married a Christian (who turned Jewess), his
two sons intermarried and his grandchildren are
church affiliates.
Norway seems to have. the least serious prob-
lem. This may be due to the small size of the
community—to the fact that there are only 200
Jewish families in the entire country.
There are 600 Jews in Oslo, 120 in Trondheim
and the rest of Norwegian Jewry is spread in
several smaller communities. Oslo has a fine syna-
gogue at 13 Bergstien. Attached to the synagogue
is a school with 40 children.
The fact that the Jewish youth are interested
in Israel and are associated in the Scandinavian
Jewish youth movement is pointed to as a good
omen by Norwegian Jewish leaders.
• Oslo JeWs are kept together by a number of
factors, including the publication annually of a
pamphlet listing all yahrzeits, as well as the his-
torical facts about the community. The, Birkat
Hamazon is printed. in Hebrew in this pamphlet.
The Scandinavian communities have beautiful
synagogues. They take pride in their religious ac-
tivities, and there is much hope for a better future
in the renewed interest that is being shown in
Jewish cultural life.
But the freedoms which invite assimilation -also
lead to an increase in intermarriage, and out of
it springs the pessimism that Scandinavian Jewry
may disintegrate completely and may be swal-
lowed up into the Christian communities.

Law Guarantees Religious Freedom
It must not be assumed that Jewish life is

altogether dead or even on the verge • of dying

Scandinavian Visit Offers
New Vistas in the History
of the Jewish People

in the Scandinavian countries. There is a beautiful
synagogue in Copenhagen. The Stockholm liberal
synagogue is massive and impressive.
True, the Stockholm services on the last Sab-
bath would barely have had two minyanim of
Swedish residents were it not for the influx of
visitors, primarly the American WJC delegates.
But there is a remnant that carries on.
Dr. Kurt Wilhelm, Chief Rabbi of the Stock-
holm synagogue, delivered a trilingual sermon—
in Swedish, English and Hebrew. A Jewish Theo-
logical Seminary graduate, he is, nevertheless, lean-
ing to the left in his direction of services. He has
condensed the service, he has eliminated the "En
Kelohenu" and other portions of the Sabbath
Women are seated in the balcony, and, as in
nearly all European synagogues, there is no mixed
seating. Yet, there is a mixed choir and an organ.
Until 1951, it was compulsory for all Swedes
to belong to a religious community, and affiliation
by Jews with Judaism was automatic. A religious
freedom law went into effect on Jan. 1, 1952, but
few Jews took advantage of it to abandon their
congregational affiliation.
Shehita is forbidden in Sweden and Norway,
but its practice is permitted after the stunning
of the animals by a special electrical machine that
has been manufactured in England. The rabbinate
has approved of the emendation. What else was
there to be done in the matter?
Life of Jews in Scandinavian lands provides
an interesting study. It is an ebbing life. But that
is true also of many other European communities.
Meanwhile, there is a Shearith Israel—a rem-
nant of Israel—that keeps life humming.

Culture, Sculpture and Photography

On the eve of Yom Kippur of 1944, when the
Jews of Denmark, who were evacuated from their
homes in small fishing boats, were taken at once
to the services in the Malmo synagogue, Cantor
Israel Isaac Gordon was chanting the service.
The 6,000 Danish Jews whose lives were saved
with the aid of their wonderful. Christian fellow
citizens will never forget that day, and those who
were in the Malmo synagogue will never forget
the service.
Cantor Gordon is now on a modest pension,
but he continues to serve his communities in
Malmo, as well - as in Stockholm. Mrs. Gordon is
-presently visiting with her son, Willy, and his wife
and two young children. Willy is one of the major
subjects - of this report. He is one of the very
outstanding sculptors of our time, and his nu-
merous works dealing with Jewish themes—with
personalities and events in Jewish life—have won
for him wide acclaim.

Generation of 'Jewish Beatniks'
Feared if Youth Go Unanswered

As a result of his splendid creative works, some
of which are in Israel and other museums, the
•Swedish government has now commissioned him
to devote two years in preparation of a monument
in tribute to ore—to mining in Sweden. Such an
assignment is, in itself, a mark of great recogni-
tion - of the artistry of this young sculptor.
As a very young boy, Willy Gordon had already
done considerable painting. Deeply devoted to
Jewry, many of his subjects were Jewish. He in-
jects into his work deep feeling. He is a creative
artist who is destined to gain world fame.
There are not many Jews here, yet they are
contributing out of proportion to their numbers
to the artistic elements of Scandinavia. We learn
that Sweden stands out as the country with the
largest number of photographers in the world : per
capita. The ablest woman • photographer is Anna
Rivkin-Brick. It may well be that she is Scandi-
navia's outstanding photographer. She has been
hailed as having turned photographs into poetry.
At the WJC Plenary sessions, Anna Rivkin-
Brick must have taken—personally—more than
1,000 photographs. She was at every session, climb-
ing platforms, going to all of the receptions and
taking pictures wherever there was an opportunity
for a good shot. Her pictures are certain to be
prized by the delegates from 43 countries who
purchased them. Yemenites and Indonesians, Amer-
icans and Africans, leaders and laymen—all ad-
mired her work.
She is a remarkable woman. She was written
several books, and her picture stories for children
have been translated into many languages. She is
the author of illustrated works on Israel, and is
now working on two more.
Mrs. Rivkin-Brick labored an entire week. Came
Friday night and she was with her husband, Daniel
Brick, at the Institute of Jewish Culture he or-
ganized, where Orthodox services are held and
where the Stockholm community had arranged for
kosher meals to be served to the WJC delegates
desiring them. She was there again on the Sab-
bath day, welcoming delegates, assisting in the
serving of meals, relaxing with her fellow Jews
on the day of rest. Indeed, Anna Rivkin-Brick is
an eysher chavil—a woman of valor.
Daniel Brick was not only the organizer of the
Institute for Jewish Culture and Information at
Valhallvagen 104 in Stockholm. He remains its
guide and volunteer director. He is editor of Judisk
Kronika, the monthly Stockholm Jewish chronicle.
At the Jewish Institute,. another Jewish artist,
Pavel. Fleischmann, is displaying his paintings.
They are fine studies of JewiSh characterS, of Bibli-
cal themes, of historic occurrences. Fleischmann's
collection includes motifs of Russian Carpathia
and other subjects. This artist has endeared him-
_ self to WJC delegates who have seen his works.

Detroiter Misses Youth Delegates at Stockholm

Editor's Note: Isaac Scha-
ver accompanied his parents,
Mr. and Mrs. Morris Schaver,
to the World Jewish Congress
in Sweden. He was one of
the youngest observers at the
sessions. He gives his impres-
sions for readers of The
Detroit Jewish News in the
following article.
* *

STARLIGHT, Pa. (JTA) — be ignored," he warned. "The
The American Jewish educa- age that produced beatniks
tional system runs the risk of should look well to the mean-
producing a generation of "Jew- ing of those confused and des-
ish beatniks" unless it can give perate characters. If we are not
young Jews "straightforward, to have a crop of Jewish beat-
realistic and constructive" an- niks the Jewish community had
swers to their questions, Dr. Ira better bestir itself and give an-
Eisenstein, former president of swers that are straightforward,
the Rabbinical Assembly of r e a.1 i s t i c and constructive.
America, and one of the leaders Youth is willing now to be edu-
of the Reconstructionist move- cated, but will our adult lead-
— As the ring-
ment, warned.
Rabbi Einstein was address-
The Institute, which will run ing of applause filled the beauti-
ing more than 100 teen-age re- through Tuesday, will be fol- ful City Hall of the city of
gional officers of the Bnai Brith lowed by the international con- Stockholm at the Fourth Plen-
Youth Organization who are at- ventions of Aleph Zadik Aleph, ary Assembly of the Wild
tending a 23-day Leadership boys' division of the Bnai Brith Jewish Congress, I was deeply
Training Institute at Camp Bnai Youth Organization, and Bnai moved.
Here, in one room, 43 world
Brith Girls, teen-age girls coun-
Brith, here.
Jewish communities were rep-
The young delegates partici- terpart of the organization.
pating in the Institute were spe-
cially selected for leadership
potential. They were granted
scholarships from the national
BBYO and their local Bnai
Brith adult communities.
The ern Israelite reported.
"Jewish youth no longer
"She was a carefully selected,
"meanest thief in all the South-
wants to run away from the
land" has saddened the hearts pedigreed baby doe, three
Jewish heritage, they want to
of the 200 youngsters attend- months old, with big brown
adopt it," Rabbi Eisenstein said.
ing Camp Ajecomce, the At- eyes, a pink bow bestowed
"But they recognize that they
lanta Jewish Community Center upon her by the campers and a
cannot live with it as it has
bleat like a human baby.
day camp.
been handed down to them. Un-
"The campers were taught to

fortunately, they have, by and
treat her gently and address
large, found few teachers pre- month-old baby goat.
The police, the Humane So- her quietly. Before long, Billy
pared to adapt it to their needs
and to the times in which we ciety and amateur detectives in- would have been strong enough
spired by newspaper stories of Tor the children to ride her."
He added that Jewish young the kid-napping have been un- The consolation offered the
particularly thoSe in able to find any trace of the be- campers for Billy's disappear-
leadership positions in Jewish loved mascot. ante—the rabbits, chicks and
"Billy, as she was called by rock garden at the camp—did
youth organization:, — are in
desperate need of a "modern the Ajecomce day campers, not last long. Either the same
who are not overly concerned criminal, or another, stole the
guide to the perplexed.
"The challenge presented by - with sex, was not just any•ordi- rabbits from their cage a few
this_g_e_n_eratio_n cannot for long nary goat," the Atlanta South- days later.

Thief •Gets Goat of Day Camp;
Troubles Multiply with Rabbits

By Philip
• Slornovitz

resented by their foremost sues were taken up, and both
leaders. It made me think— were presented in a clear and
Jews, wherever they may be, factual manner.
dispersed in the Diaspora, or
The first issue was the crisis
collected in one Jewish state, of sales of arms to Germany. At
have a common bond which first, many delegates express -d
unites them.
their wishes to interfere in the
As I scanned over the differ- matter. But Dr. Goldmann, by
ent faces, I recognized some. his ingenius debate and clear
There was Dr. Nahum Gold- logic, convinced them that it
mann, president of the world should be left to the State of
Jewish Congress; Moshe Shar- Israel. This, I think, was a sig-
ett, former Prime Minister of nificant contribution to show in
Israel, and many others. And I what capacity the World Jewish
felt that something was missing Congress can act authoritative-
—it was the lack of presence ly, and where the state of Israel
is sovereign in its own policies.
of youth!
Goldmann, Sharrett, Zalman
The second issue concerned
Shazar, Rabbi Israel Gold-
the Russian attitude and ac-
tions toward the Jews of
stein—these are the leaders
and pillars of the Congress,
that country. To my sorrow,
the bulwark of the Jewish
all the facts about their mal-
people. But where will the
treatment which I had heard
about in the States were con-
future leaders come from?
At the Congress I could see firmed.
no young men which would fill
To this problem there was
their places. This I think is hardly any solution which one
alarming for two reasons: 1. could offer, except to keep try-
Lack of future leadership; and ing to influence the Russian
2. Lack of ideas and viewpoints government through
of the younger generation. Who opinion. This also, I thoUght,
was there to argue against was a significant contribution.
Bezalet Sherman, of America,
I was most impressed by
when he stated: "The culture
these wise solutions which
of the youth of America is the
proved logic was overcoming
jitterbug and rock 'n roll."
I listened with great interest
In conclusion, I think I
to the addresses of the Polish should mention the generosity
observers stating their "com- and liberality displayed by the
plete cultural freedom." and Swedish government. Besides
with the same amount of inter- opening up the entire facilities
est I heard the answers which of their Parliament building
refuted their claims. It was for the use of the Congress, the
plain to me that these observers Swedish Prime Minister and
were prompted by other influ- other important officials warmly
ences as to what to say.
greeted a great and important
In the Congress, two main is- functional body.

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