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September 25, 1959 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1959-09-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

On the Eve of a New Year


Incorporating the Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with issue of July 20, 1951

Member American Association of English-Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press Association, National
Editorial Association.
Published every Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co., 17100 West Seven Mile Road, Detroit 35.
.Mich., VE 8-9364. Subscription $5 a year. Foreign $6.
Entered as second class matter Aug. 6, 1942 at Post Office., Detroit, Mich. under act of Congress of March


Editbr and Publisher


Advertising Manager


Circulation Manager


City Editor

Sabbath Scriptural Selections

This Sabbath, the twenty-third day of Elul, 5719, the following Scriptural selections will
be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Nitzabim-Vayelekh, Dent. 29:9-31:30. Prophetical portion. Is.

Licht Benshen, Friday Sept. 25, 6:07 p.m.


September 25, 1959

Page Four

Hope for Softening of Khrushchev's Heart

Something went wrong at the luncheon
meeting of the National Press Club in
Washington last week.
It was the manner in which William
H. Lawrence, New York Times corre-
spondent, president of the National Press
Club, framed the question he addressed
to Nikita Khrushchev in behalf of the
Jewish Telegraphic Agency's representa-
Lawrence asked Khrushchev about the
status of the Jews in Russia, and that was
right up the alley of the chairman of the
Communist Party Executive Committee.
Khrushchev thereupon proceeded to
state that there was no discrimination in
Russia, that all were treated alike, and
that, furthermore, Jews held a position
of honor in Russia and that Jews were
among the scientists who launched the
Soviet rocket to the moon.
The interesting part of Khrushchev's
reply was his mention of a number of
nationality groups who "live in peace and
close relationship in our country." He
said the naming of all the nationalities
that are enjoying such privileges in the
USSR would take up the entire question
period, and he therefore limited himself
to a few, including among them the
Uzbeks and the Jews. Therein. lies the
fallacy of his assertions and the injustice
practiced by the Soviet Union against our
The Uzbeks number approximately
3,000 in the Soviet Union. Yet, in spite
of the minuteness of the group, it pos-
sesses cultural rights, it is listed in Soviet
records as publishing a newspaper peri-
odically. But the Jewish population of
Russia, whose number exceeds 2,500.000,
is not permitted to issue either a Yid-
dish or a Hebrew newspaper. (Hebrew is
proscribed in Russia). They are unable
to sponsor classes on Jewish subjects or
to 1-15is.,', their own theater.
It was intended that Khrushchev
should be asked about the cultural status
of Russian Jewry after his address to the
National Press Club. It is regrettable that
the question should have been framed
so- innocuously. There also is need to
ascertain from Khrushchev why the -Iron
Curtain also is a closed door to Jews who
may wish to emigrate to areas where
they could be free to practice their re-
ligious tenets without interference. While
Khrushchev may have been in earnest
when he said that a man's religion is not
asked in Russia, it is an established fact
that the atheistic tendencies there are
predominant. At best, therefore. no one
can be free to adhere to his religion as
he chooses.
If it is true, as has been said, that
conditions are much better under Khrush-
chev than they were under Stalin, then
there should be better opportunities to-
day to reach Khrushchev with the urgent
queries we have addressed to him. If
Khrushchev is as anxious to assure peace
for the entire world as he keeps repeating
in all his addresses—"peace" is the pre-
dominant slogan among all Communists,
even in areas where they have been
known to foment both "hot" and "cold"
wars—then Israel, for example, should
have an opportunity to share in the bless-
ings of peace without Soviet interference.
Yet, it is Soviet propaganda and Soviet

intrusion in the Middle East that is per-
petuating a state of war between Israel
and the Arab states.
In spite of all pontifical asseverations,
the status of the Jews in Russia remains
menacing and borders on tragedy. So
far, a deaf ear has been given to all
appeals from Jewish organizations in
defense of cultural rights for USSR Jewry
and in behalf of emigration of those de-
siring to leave Russia.
There is no doubt that two different
worlds are in conflict, that the West is
unable to meet East, and that Israel and
Jewry are among those rejected by the
East. Is it possible that the Soviet Union's
antagonism to Jewry stems from a re-
jection of the moral codes taught by the
Hebrew prophets, and by religious teach-
ers of other faiths who were inspired
by our Scriptural teachings? Can it be
that the hatred for Jews that is evident
in Russia is traceable to a rejection of the
basic principles of the Judeo-Christian
teachings for which Jews are primarily
The ideological conflict affects the en-
tire world, but it is especially menacing
to Jewry. That is why we are so deeply
concerned over the status of our harrassed

Delightful 'Act One'

Moss Harts Autobiography

One doesn't have to be associated with the theater to become
interested in "Act One," the autobiography of Moss Hart, just
published by Random House.
It is an enchanting book, by the genius who directed "My
Fair Lady," that will hold the interest of the reader from
beginning to end.
To top it off, having read this book, those who are fortunate
to acquire the facts gathered in it about the theater and theatrical
folk will become more intimately acquainted with the stage, with
stagecraft, with the trials and tribulations of playwriting. -
Hart's story is a detailed account of his youth, of his family.
background, of his struggles to make his mark in the entertain-
ment world.
Anecdotes galore, exciting approaches to producers and
especially the complications that were involved in rewriting
scripts and in revamping entire scenes for production, give this
autobiography special status. -
"Act One" is an exceptionally well narrated story. Moss .
Hart emerges from it the splendid story-teller who is able to _
write his ideas down in a wonderful style.
To the merit of the autobiography should be added the
acquaintance the reader gains with many of the great names in
show business with whom Moss Hart came in contact. Especially
revealing are the eccentricities of George S. Kaufman, with whom
Hart worked very closely in preparing for the stage his first
great play, "Once In a Lifetime."
Initial flops almost doomed "Once in a Lifetime." But. Hart
persisted, and Kaufman was helpful. They went to work, labored
tirelessly, made the necessary changes, and then came "the
blaze of glory."
The genius of George Kaufman becomes evident, and Hart
pays him the tribute that is due the man whose knowledge of
the play—of playwriting, directing, staging—is perhaps greater
than that of any other living man.
"My relationship with George Kaufman," Hart states in his
autobiography, did not include intimacy. His nature did not allow
him those easy interchanges between people that ripen into
swift friendship. The paradox was that he had a quick sympathy
and understanding that made one feel at times that one was on
the brink of intimacy, but he invariably retreated behind a
barrier of cold detachment that he either chose to maintain or
could do nothing about. . . ."
The names of the very great in show business pass in review
in "Act One"—Moss Hart first met them at a party at the
Kaufmans—and his first reactions to a gathering with Alexander
Woolcott, Heywood Broun, Harpo Marx, Ethel Barryinore, George
Gershwin, Dorothy Parker, F.P.A. and others provide delightful
After reading "Act One," the reader will crave for the
speedy arrival of the second act in the interesting life of Moss
Hart. The first act attests to the remarkable abilities of the
playwright. The coming acts are certain to add to an under-
standing and knowledge not only of the man Moss Hart but
also of his own plays and of the plays and playwrights of our time.

It is now generally believed—as the
JTA Washington correspondent, Milton
Friedman; the editor of JTA, Boris Smo-
lar, and our contributing columnist,
Phineas Biron, state in this issue that
the Khrushchev statement will be greatly
helpful to the position of the Jews in
Russia. The fact that Khrushchev credited
the Jews with a place of honor in his
country, and that he revealed the im-
portant role played by Jews in the launch-
ing of the rocket to the moon, may, some
believe, improve the sad position of the
Jews in Russia who are undoubtedly
suffering from the constant anti-Semitic
outbursts in the Russian press and over
the Soviet radios.
We hope these contentions are correct,
but we are skeptical. It is doubtful wheth-
er a single and a very brief statement,
made in reply to a question in Washing-
ton,- can possibly counteract the vicious
propaganda that is emanating from the
Our reference is to the vile attacks
on Israel and on Judaism, in many Rus-
sian periodicals and especially in news-
papers in the Ukraine. In all the attacks,
the implications are that the Jews are
guilty of many crimes, and the upshot Good Story for Children
of the entire campaign is not merely to
attack the Jewish religion and to discredit
Israel, but also to villify the Jews.


* * *

These are the conditions under which
we must labor in all attempts to secure
a measure of justice for our kinsmen in
the Soviet Union.
Whatever the cause for the Russian
Communists' hatred of Jews and Juda-
ism, the struggle for justice for USSR
Jewry continues and will undoubtedly
remain a difficult one. All we can hope
is that the softer-than-Stalin's heart of
Khrushchev will soon respond more read-
ily to appeals for fairness for the millions
of Jews in Russia, for whom we would
like to see treatment comparable to that
accorded the Uzbeks.

The Book of Hanukah'

From Ktav Publishing Co. (65 Suffolk, N. Y. 2) comes
another children's book of real merit—"The Book of Hanukah"
by Edyth and Sol Scharfstein, both of whom already had
collaborated in producing several splendidly illustrated story
books for Jewish children.
Ezekiel Schloss and Arnold Lobel executed the illustrations
for this fine book.
It is the combination of story and good pictures that makes
this a notable book. Children will love it because of its fine
approach toward an understanding of the Hanukah festival, and
because the Maccabean story, as. related to the children in the
course of this book's action, is told so simply and can be
understood so readily.
Interspersed in the story are poems and riddles. There are
songs and suggested activities—all related to Hanukah.
Combined, all these elements make for a fine Hanukah
story.. While several weeks remain before the festival* arrives, it
is not too early to write about this book—published this week—so
that parents may secure it in advance for their 5-to-8-year-olds.

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