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October 02, 1959 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1959-10-02

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

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Boris Smolar's

'Who Is a Jew?' Sammy Davis Jr. Convinces Goldwyn

NEW YORK—The New York
Inquirer recently published a
story by Sammy Davis, Jr., in
which "The Man of Many Faces"
explains why he is proud of be-
ing a Jew. In this unusual
(Copyright, 1959
story, Sammy recounts an in-
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Inc.)
teresting episode involving him-
The Big Issue:
self and his boss, Sam Gold-
The issue "Who Is a Jew," which is provoking so much wyn, before the High Holy Days
political heat in Israel, is a subject of scholarly discussion in last year.
the United States. . . . Most interesting views are now advanced
"I am not particularly Ortho-
by Prof. Solomon Zeitlin, of Dropsie College, in a special study dox," Sammy wrote, "neverthe-
on this subject. . . . He develops the theory that in ancient less, there is one period of the
times there was quite a distinction between Jews and Israelites. year which, like most other
. . . The people called Judeans, Jews, were the descendants of Jews, I observe most faithfully.
Judah. the son of Jacob. . . . They were called "the men of This is the period of the High
Judea" (Bnai Yehuda) because they lived in the Judean state, Holy Days."
in the South. . . . Their country was called Judea, their king
Sammy goes on to relate how,
was called the King of Judea, and their language was called
during the time he was filming
Judean. . . . On the other hand, the people living in the North
"Porgy and Bess" for Sam Gold-
were called the children of Israel, (Bnai Israel); their land
was called Eretz Israel, their king was called the King of Israel. wyn in California he had in-
. . . Prof. Zeitlin emphasizes that the kingdoms, the Southern formed his ,boss that he was
and the Northern, constituted two different nations. . . About unable to go on location. "It's
the High Holy Days. I have to
the year 722 BCE the Assyrians conquered the Northern state
be in the Temple on the days
and exiled most of the people to other countries; the Northern you've marked for location
kingdom then ceased to exist. . . . Many people of the Northern
shooting," he told Goldwyn.
kingdom joined the Kingdom of Judah. . . . In the year 586
Goldwyn, of course, thought
BCE the Kingdom of Judah also ceased to exist, but the Judeans
this was a big joke. "But, Mr.
were later permitted by King Cyrus of Persia to return to their Goldwyn, you don't under-
homeland, Judea. . . . Only a small minority of them left Baby-
Sammy insisted, "I am
lonia for Judea. . . . Prof. Zeitlin goes into lengthy historical stand,"
a Jew . . ."
developments to show that the name Israel disappeared after
Goldwyn was shocked.
the period of Ezra the prophet. . . . He cites the fact that even "You're
what?"
in the Book of Esther the name Israel is not mentioned. . .
I told him again, "I am a
Mordecai is called there a Judean, a Jew, and the word
Jew, and I just can't work on
"Yehudim," Judeans, appear throughout the book. . . . After the the High Holy Days."
destruction of the Second Temple and particularly with the rise
Goldwyn still insisted Sammy
of Christianity — when Christians maintained they were the true .
go on location. But Sammy was
Israelites — the term Judeans was abandoned. . . . The Jews
called themselves Israelites in order to combat the contentions more stubborn.. "You know,
of the Christians.... The term "Knesset Israel" — the Assembly Mr. Goldwyn, I'll do anything
for you. But on Rosh Hashanah
of Israel — was coined and the word Judean no longer appeared
and Yom Kippur, I will not
in the Talmud. . . . The word Israel was used and the term work."
Jew, Judaism, became the term for religion. . . . Against this
The argument went on and
background, Prof. Zeitlin discusses the issue of "Who Is a Jew"
became
bitter. Goldwyn re-
and his answer is: "A Jew is anyone who is born of a Jewish

'Between You
... and Me'

mother or one who has embraced Judaism, regardless of whether
he observes or does not observe the precepts." . . . He backs
up his definition by citing numerous historical facts concerning
the Jewish religion. . . . And he advises the religious leaders
of Israel to have the "foresight, wisdom and courage" to adjust
their interpretation of religion to the present religious and
social needs of the Jewish people. . . . He emphasizes that this
was done by the sages of the Second Jewish Commonwealth
who interpreted and modified the laws in order to make religion
a vital force.
Jewish Culture:
A solid contribution to Jewish literature on education has
been made by the Congress for Jewish Culture in New York .. .
With funds received from the Jewish Claims Conference, CJC has
published the second volume of the Education Encyclopedia, in
Yiddish, containing important essays
on Jewish education in pre-
war Poland . . . The Encyclopedia carries factual material on the
Jewish schools in the ghettos in a number of Nazi-occupied
cities in Europe . . . One can also find there studies on the
Jewish child in the United States, as well as essays on education
by such scholars as Dr. A. A. Roback; Dr. S. R. Slayson, Dr.
Kurt Levin and other prominent American Jewish educators
. The volume, edited by H. B. Bass, covers only the third and
fOurth letters in the Jewish alphabet, indicating that this is the
second book of what will apparently be a 10-volume work . . .
Within these two letters, the 510-page volume manages to pre-
sent 24 essays dealing mostly with subjects of direct interest
to people active in Jewish education.

JDC Experts to Air

Jewish Woes Abroad

GENEVA (JTA) — Social
welfare experts from 10 coun-
tries on three continents met
here at the overseas headquar-
ters of the Joint Distribution
Committee for a five-day meet-
ing at which social service
problems affecting Jewish com-
munities in Israel, Europe and
several Moslem countries will
be examined.
Because of the widespread
poverty among Jews living in
virtual ghettoes in Moslem
countries, the problems are of
such "enormous proportions"
that no individual voluntary
agency can cope with them,
Charles Jordan, director-general
of the JDC, told the conference.
"All we can hope to do in
those, areas," Jordan stated, "is
to work through the already-
existing community organiza-
tions in those areas."
Mary Palevsky, director of the
JDC department of social serv-
ice, reported that her depart-
ment provides not only medical,
educational and other services
but also operates economic re-
habilitation and community de-
velopment programs.

Catholic Scholar Writes
Book on Dead Sea Scrolls

NEW YORK—"The Dead Sea
Community: Its Origin and
Teachings" is the title of a new
volume on the Dead Sea Scrolls
which Harper is publishing in
October. The author is Kurt
Schubert, professor of Jewish
religion and culture at the Uni-
versity of Vienna and president
of the Catholic Academic So-
ciety of the Archdiocese of
Vienna.

minded Davis of his contract.
But Davis reminded Goldwyn
of the fact that no court on
earth could ever force him to
go against his religion.
That did it!
Smiling somewhat and sigh-

ing, Goldwyn said: "Sammy,
you're a little so-and-so, but go
ahead with your yarmulkeh
and your tallis. We'll make ar-
rangements to fit. Directors I
can fight. But a Jewish colored
fella' I can't fight!"

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Friendly Act in Vienna
Negated by Fascist Groups

VIENNA (JTA) — An apart-
ment project here was named
the "Theodor Herzl Hof" by the
Vienna municipality in ac-
cordance with a suggestion by
the Jewish community.
Offsetting this friendly act
was the disclosure that activities
of neo-Nazi youth groups are
making progress throughout
Austria. Several new branches
have been established in many
Austrian cities and villages, in-
cluding Vienna and Linz. Mem-
bers appear in public wearing
signs reading: "-We will come
again."

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