A Yom Kippur Reminiscence About Detroiters 40 Years Ago
By DANIEL L. TICKTON
The neighbors were inclined I was an extra clause in the con-
The day's light just fading. to look upon us with "disfavor." tract. Let this be a warning to ward J. Jeffries was the judge.
Now, in a time of abundance
He tells us that he might even
of Synagogues and Temples, and people streaming into shul way
To further endear us to the other congregations!
now be irritated if a super-pious
even Uf a few mushroom syna- ahead of time, putting on black neighborhood, after midnight
(Editor's Note: Nate Gold- Jew tried to get to Heaven by
gogues, it is a matter of amuse- Yarmelkas and white Kitties, slichot services, Borinstein got stick confirms: he
was the cor- blowing the Shofar after mid-
ment when I think back to the and black gartles tied around out the shofar and started poration counsel
in the case night—but 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.,
time when there were but a the waist.
getting into shape for Rosh mentioned by Mr. Tickton. Ed- that's a different story!)
dozen or so shuls in Detroit.
Save for the electric glow Hashanah. Tkiah, shvorim,
juju juustasuuutit.sts_ SL Q.
There really wasn't the need from the two huge chandeliers truah, tkiah gedolah . . . and 0 _31........_,..suuus_Ltuuuz
for more shuls at the time, as hanging from the ceiling, all on for about an hour in the of
the Jewish community was not else is candle light. Candles on early morning stillness.
as large it is today, and it tables, in candelabras, in sand-
Monday morning, first thing,
was more localized, probably filled boxes, on window sills; the neighbors got themselves a
90% living and working within
lawyer and started rolling the
a few blocks of each other. And
Back on Iroquois and Gratiot legal procedures of hauling us
then, too, the available places Avenues during that year, even into court for being a public
of worship were more fully as now in the 'new Jewish com- nuisance.
munities in Detroit's suburbs,
And when we did get to
But there were not enough we faced the problems of pro- court, we found ourselves up
rabbis so that each shul could viding places of worship and against Nate Goldstick, then an
have one of its own. Instead. holiday facilities for the area's assistant Detroit corporation
each rabbi made the rounds of Jews.
lawyer, assigned to the Detroit
the shuls in his circuit, timing
Unlike today's orderly and Police Department, with serious
Throughout the ages, our Rabbis and
the services so that he would planned process, we tended charges facing us! No building
admonished us to be charitable.
arrive at each shul during a then to act hastily, unpre- permit, creating a disturbance,
recess period in the prayers so paredly and sometimes we may building code violations! And to
The Holy Day liturgy tells us to strive
that he could deliver his drasha. have been considered bene- top it all off, Goldstick con-
the evil decree by practicing Charity,.
When the rabbi was not based volently unscrupulous.
sidered this sort of thing a dis-
in any particular shul, someone
to Penitence and Prayer.
There were about 40 middle- graceful behavior on our part.
had to take over the routine class Jewish families in that Things didn't look too good.
running of the shul in his ab- locality at that time, mostly
The prominent Babylonian Talmudist of
By the time we came up for
sence—and let me tell you, the store-keepers. The people got a hearing—it was just four days
the eighth- century said :
"lowly" shammos was a power together and raised sufficient
before Rosh Hashanah—a New
to be reckoned with. (I remem- money for the down payment of
"It is incumbent on every Jewish house to
York cantor had been signed for
ber Couzens, shamos of the Beth $500 on the land contract of the services and seats were all
practice charity, and to help the needy ac ord-
Hamedrash Hagodol, Rubiner of a single home on the corner of sold out.
ing to its power. For he who with compassion
the Beth Jacob, and Wolfson of Gratiot and Iroquois, elected a
offers aid to the poor gives also a gift to God ...
The judge ruled against us,
Mr. Laurie president; Aaron but he must have been of the
On Yom Kippur, the problem Green, vice-president; Ira Kauf- spirit of Solomon. We were to
"The merit of the man who incites to charity is
was especially acute. How was man (then in the hardware remove this public nuisance
greater than that of the man who simply gives'
the rabbi to get around to mak- business), treasurer; Mr. Zeli- within 30 days—days after the
out of his overflow .. .
ing all his sermons, when the man, secretary; Harry Maxman, holidays would be over. And he
day's prayers were by them- gabai fruit dealer Max Lieber- warned Mr. Borinstein that the
"By benevolence man rises to a height where
he meets God . . . "
selves sufficient to occupy all man and shoe repairman Gille- shofar could only be blown
of the holy day?
son were trustees.
during reasonable hours. 9 a.m.
Rabbi Judah Levin (then the
With a little carpentry work, to 9 p.m., which turned out to
chief rabbi) was rabbi of our the house was soon refurnished be more than ample time, be-
shul as well as several others. into a single room with seats cause you should have heard
When I think back to those placed on every square foot of Borinstein blow during the serv-
This is the lesson we learn on the eve
days of 1917, I can feel again space available except on the ices—a Gabriel couldn't have
Hashanah. May he serve as an ex-
the emotions, devotions and porch, which was left intact. done better.
ample for our actions during the New Year
faithfulness to the Torah pre- And, lo behold, after all the
But this wasn't the end of
valent at the time.
alterations were over and the our tzores. During one of the
5720 and the years to come.
Even without a calendar one tickets sold, it was discovered short recesses in the Yom
could tell that Yom Kippur was that there would be some 20 Kippur service, we were all
approaching, merely by noting persons more than there was shocked to hear a Mrs. Katz,
the mood of the people. They available room for.
at whose house our imported
became milder, more conside-
It was decided that even the cantor was staying, complain c.3 -2111- rtrtrifim 5 6
rate of each other, and one porch, which opened out into that someone had consumed
could easily note that more the street, would have to be two chicken drumsticks and
time was spent in thought and utilized. Next day, carpenter's half a bottle of milk that were
tools were once again on the in her ice-box.
Our shul, the Farnsworth scene, and, under the super-
You should have seen the way
Shill (Mogen Avrohom), was a vision of a Mr. Borinstein, the everybody eyed the cantor dur-
sight to behold on Yom Kippur separating wall between the ing the remainder of the serv-
ices. Especially the balabosta,
house and the porch fell.
was she mad! She had planned
Awake, ye slumberers, from your sleep, examine
to save the chicken to break
the fast with.
your deeds and humbly return to God, the source
When confronted after Yom
of justice and truth. All ye who are absorbed- in
Kippur, the cantor stood mute
foolishness and forget yourselves, ye who pass your
on the charges. The officers re-
fused to pay him. The nerve.
days in emptiness, remember your Creator, look into
The cantor, brandishing his con-
your soul, and amend your ways. Forsake your im-
tract, threatened to sue. The
pure thoughts and your wicked deeds, and follow
shul leaders consulted a lawyer,
kindness and righteousness.
and after being convinced by
him that they would lose their
case in court—there was noth-
—Ma imon ides (1135-1204)
ing in the contract about fast-
ing—also a cantor is hired for
his musical talent, not for his
piety—they paid him off.
The next year when we hired
a cantor, you can be sure, there
"Penitence, Prayer and
Charity Avert the
A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL
THE CALL OF THE SHOFAR
On the New Year 5720, we
extend heartiest greetings to
the entire Jewish community.
May the New Year be one
of joy, happiness and pros-
perity for all mankind.
Abstract and Title
Detroit 26, Michigan
11 Offices to Serve You
Merchants Plan Fight
on Sunday Blue Law
PHILADELPHIA, (JTA) —
Five Orthodox Jewish mer-
chants of Philadelphia have
filed suit in the United States
District Court here challenging
the constitutionality of Penn-
sylvania's new Sunday blue
Although these merchants
keep their stores closed on
Saturday in observance of the
Jewish Sabbath, they are not
permitted to remain open on
Sunday under the new laws
which make no exception for
those observing any other day
than Sunday as their Sabbath.
Attempts to amend the Sun-
day closing bill in the State
Legislature before its passage,
so as to provide exemption for
those observing other than Sun-
day as their Sabbath, were un-
May all of you be blessed with a
joyous and prosperous year,
Mr. and Mrs. Irving Hermelin and Family
Mr. and Mrs. Harry Rubenfire and Family
Mr. and Mrs. David B. Hermelin and Family
Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Stollman and Family
"To Be Sure—insure" - - General insurance
13625 W. 8 MILE ROAD