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January 01, 1960 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1960-01-01

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

Purely Commentary

The Shame of Uninformed Oracles

Our entertainment idols have betrayed us.
We have made oracles of them, and they have turned into
shams.
We have given them platforms on which to express them-
selves, but they have failed to resort to the treasures of our
common heritage.
Their imitations and pretenses become especially evident,
in their true colors, during holiday periods.
Often—too often—entertainers we had learned to admire
make their appearance on public platforms on Kol Nidre nights.
They would render us a much greater service by refraining from
singing the Kol Nidre hymn, which some of them often do while
desecrating the sacred night.
It was on Hanukah that the sham of our entertainers again
became evident.
On one program, it was a Christian who spoke of the
Judaeo-Christian heritage, while the Jew who was being queried
admitted that he had just vague recollections of the festival as
commemorating a victory on a battlefield.
But especially humiliating is the self-ridicule to which some
Jews resort when they speak of a "Hanukah bush."
Gertrude Berg rendered us a particular disservice when she
gave a monologue about a Jewish grandfather who was asked

Betrayal of Hanukah
By Philip
Spirit and Menorah
by Sham Entertainers SiOMOYitZ

tion of facts which often emerges as self-ridicule. What a respon-

sibility rests upon the Jewish ed-cP fors!
*

by his grandchildren for a Christmas tree and who, in Mollie
Goldberg's words, finally consented and, "with one Talmudic
gesture," told the children that they can have their "Hanukah
bush."
. It isn't funny—this way of buying herself an audience.
Mollie knows better. She knows that Christmas and Hanukah are
two unrelated festivals, that one is Christian and its trees are
for Christians, and the other is Jewish and its symbols are the
menorahs.
The two festivals often—as this year—occur during the
same period in the year. That does not make them related. That
no more justifies the conversion of a menorah into a bush than
it would condone the transformation of a Christmas tree into a
menorah.
If there is a relationship between the two festivals it is only
in the historic truism that if Hebraism had not triumphed over
Hellenism in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes who was defied
by the Maccabees, any attempt to give the world a monotheistic
belief might have been delayed for centuries. Judaism's triumphs
made it possible for Christianity to emerge and to co-exist with
Judaism.
The best minds in Christianity do not deny the right to
co-existence to their Jewish fellow-men. But the best minds do
not demand of them that they turn the menorah into a bush.
The great Christian theologians would be horrified if that were
the rule.
It is because this is not the rule that there must be recog-
nition of thetrath that only the theatrical shams, and the counter-
W- iio relegate to themselves the right they have not earned
to interpret Jewish ceremonials, are responsible for such dis-
tortions.
It is because of such pretense and imitative shams that an
Eddie Cantor glorifies intermarriage as a vindication of the
intermarriage of his own daughter(s), in his latest book.
Hanukah, as a Feast of Lights, should serve to bring greater
light in the understanding of Jewish values, traditions and
facts of history. Some of the theatrical shams know better than
to glorify the non-existent Hanukah bush. They are apparently
merely building audiences for themselves. We had believed that
the stage Jews who ridiculed Jews and Judaism had disappeared.
It seems as if the stage Jew is back in our midst. He blabbers
. nonsense about Jews and Jewish observances out of sheer ignor-
ance. That is why it is so urgent to increase our educational
campaign to enlighten the ignorant, to cause them to know the
truth so that they may not distort it, because Jews with knowl-
edge about themselves could not possibly resort to misrepresenta-

'The Bush"



Banality and Idolatry

There is little if any ground for complaint against non-Jews

—columnists and others—who speak of "the Hanukah bush."
It is possible that they believe they are complimenting us because
some in our midst are imitating the Christians. We can't blame
them because they get their information and inspiration from
Jews. It is when our own people become completely aware

of the banality of such counterfeiting that embarrassments will
be avoided.
Indeed, it is about time, now that "the Hanukah bush" has
been made an object of admiration and a matter that is
approved by the unknowing Jews that there should be a
realization of its idolatry. The very essence of the Hanukah
spirit is anti-idolatrous. The battle of the Maccabees was against
the intrusions of idolatry. Now there is self-ridiculing evidence
of its return. It is against such self-defacement and such
banalities that there must be concerted efforts in our ranks.
The season that is holy for our Christian neighbors should
arouse our utmost respect for their beliefs and ceremonials.
By imitating them, while avowing a loyalty to Judaism, we are
not complimenting the Christians but are approving the com-
mercialized elements in Christmas .which the best Christians
desire to obliterate.
The Judeo-Christian principles call for the abandonment
of idolatry.
Judaism leads in the anti-idolatrous aims of faithful people.
To be true to this ideal, we must erase all elements of banality,
idolatry and self-ridicule that is represented in the introduction
of "a bush" as the base for the menorah.

JOHN MERTON W I S E,
who was elected Circuit Court
Judge in April, assumes his
post Friday, for a six-year-
term. Judge Wise held the
post of Traffic Court Referee,
from which he resigned last
week, for 15 years. A 1930
Wayne State University grad-
uate, he is president of the
WSU Law Alumni Associa-
tion. He lives with his wife,
Sadye Ann, and one of their
The Spirit of the Ages
two daughters, at 20259 War-
While on the subject of Hanukah, which we are to celebrate rington. The other daughter
for another three days, there is the obligation to remind our
is married. He is active in
people of the spirit of the ages which makes Hanukah, and all many Jewish communal at-

our festivals, a part of the indestructible power of our faith.
If there are Jews in our midst who believe that the Christmas
lights are or were needed to inspire similar illumination by
Jews, they are wrong.

While it is often true—as has been expressed in an old
saying—that "wie es christelt zich so judelt es zich"—that as
the Christians act so do also the Jews—it is impossible for
Jewry to accept the now oft-quoted interpretation of Herman
Wouk, in his "This Is My God," that Jews have seized upon
Hanukah jollity as a substitute for Christmas because they can
not accept the Christmas connotations. Such a viewpoint, too,
is based either on defeatism or on a lack of knowledge of the
joy that permeated Jewish homes during the eight days of the
Feast of Lights througlioi:::, ages. The Wouk interpretation
is strictly a Marjorie Morningstar attitude.
No matter where our people have been, the menorah shone

brightly. There were times when it needed to be lit in secret
cellars, out of fear for the consequences of detection of the
existence of Jews in communities ,where the lights were out
for all people, where darkness dominated.
But the spirit of Hanukah never needed any other inspiration
than that of our historical truths, of our spiritual values, of -
Jewry's power to exist and to defy all outer obstacles.
Woe unto us if we ever needed the enthusiasm of our
neighbors for their festivals to inspire us to an enthusiasm for
our own.
There are common festivals we observe together with our
neighbors—Independence Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving Day,
the civic New Year.
We respect our neighbors' religious festivals; and we hold
fast to our own, thereby gaining the respect of self-respecting
Christians. That is the way it should be. That is how it will
remain.

Gov. Williams to Launch Drive for JNF
Freedom Forest at Sunday Conference

Gov. G. Mennen Williams will
launch the Michigan Freedom
Forest in Israel at the annual
conference of the Jewish Na-
tional Fund this Sunday, at the
Davison Jewish Center.
Registration will begin for
delegates at 9 a.m.
The Governor, recently back
from Israel, will speak at the
conference luncheon session,
where he is expected to pro-
claim the entire month of Jan-
uary as "Michigan Freedom
Forest Month."
Gov. Williams is one of four
major person-
alities who
w i 11 address

sessions of the

conference.
Keynot-
ing the con-
ference, which
will begin at
is
10 a.m.,
Philip Slomo-
vitz, editor
and publisher
of The Jewish
News.
The major
morning a d -
dress will be Gov. Williams
delivered by Mendel N. Fisher,
national director of the JNF,

Wise to Assume
Judgeship Friday'

up-to-date on JNF projects in
Israel.
He also will reveal the sig-
nificance of the 2,000,000-tree
U.S. Freedom Forest, which will
be comprised of 51 separate for-
ests—one for each state in the
Union and the District of Col-
umbia.
The luncheon session will
feature the major speaker at
the conference, Justice Samuel
Freedman, of Winnipeg, Can-
ada, chancellor of the Univer-
sity of Manitoba, and the first
Jew to head any major non-
sectarian university.

Justice Freedman, making
his first visit to Detroit, is

the second Jew to have been
named to the Canadian bench,_
having held the post of Judge
of the Queen's Court of Mani-
toba since 1952.

Chairing the conference ses-
sions will be Prof. Samuel M.
Levin, president of the Jewish
National Fund Council of De-
troit; and Avern Cohn, confer-
ence chairman.
Delegates who will attend
from all major Jewish organiza-
tions throughout the state will
participate in panel discussions,
frame a series of resolutions
and present awards to co-work-
who will bring Detroit delegates ers in the JNF..

fairs.

Senator Symington
Confers with B-G,
-Mrs. Meir, Laskov

TEL AVIV, (JTA) — United

States Senator Stuart Syming-
ton, former Cabinet member,
spent a week-end here studying
Israel's security situation. The
had a long

meeting with Deputy Defense
Minister Shirnon Peres, at which
several Middle East problems
were discussed, and also con-
ferred at length with Brigadier
General Chaim Laskov, the Is-
rael Chief of Staff. Ambassador
Ogden R. Reid and Defense
Ministry officials attended his
meeting with Mr. Peres.
The senator was the first vis-
itor received by Premier David
Ben-Gurion following his recent
illness. The two met in Jerus-
alem for an hour's talk. Syming-
ton was also given a luncheon
by Foreign Minister Golda Meir.
Later, he crossed the Jordan
border for a short visit to Beth-
lehem<

Between You and Me

By BORIS SMOLAR

(Copyright, 1960, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Inc.)

A special award will be given New Year Plans
to Mendel Fisher, who is round-
1960 will be a year marked by intensified efforts on the
ing out his 25th year as JNF's part of Jewish organizations to combat the "polite" form of
anti-Semitism . . . There is agreement among all Jewish groups
national director.
fighting for civil rights that the vulgar form of anti-Semitism,
The major goal of the con- upon which rabble rousers thrive, has practically been reduced
ference will be to . achieve, to nothing . . Today one is ashamed to admit openly that he
within the next two years, the
is anti-Semitic ... However, the Jewish groups are alert to the
completion of the Freedom
fact that the "polite" form of anti-Semitism is far from showing
Forest, which is the greatest
signs of decline . . . This form of anti-Semitism includes rela-

single afforestation project to
be undertaken by JNF.
The woodlands will rise on
the remnants of the ancient
fortress of Bethar, south of Je-
rusalem. It was here that Jews
returned following the Baby-
lonian exile.
It was at Bethar—some 1800
years ago — that Bar Kochba
prepared for his last stand,
knowing that the sheer slopes
which surround the site would
make an ideal fortress.

tions between Jews and some of their non-Jewish neighbors in
the suburbs . . It includes non-admission of Jews into a
number of leading clubs . . . Many American industrial enter-
prises, by "polite" methods, prevent the promotion of Jews

to executive positions . . • In the forefront of the fight against
"polite" anti-Semitism this year will be the American Jewish
Committee . . Plans have been completed by the Committee

to act with determination on all of the above-mentioned three
fronts . Nothing can be done in the suburbs to convince non-
Jewish neighbors that "fraternization" with Jews till dinner
time only is a form of avoiding social contact with Jews in the
evening ... Similarly, nobody can force anyone to invite to his
home people whom he does not feel like having in his house
. . However, some form of education must be conducted in this

field of human relations, and the American Jewish Committee
intends to do something about it „ Similarly the AJC
S. R. Levin Renamed determined to intensify in 1960 the fight against non-admission
for 6-Year Term on of Jews into certain clubs which have actually become a place
of prestige for their members, helping them in their economic
Corrections Body
advancement . . . The center of the AJC activities in fighting
The State Senate, prior to ad- "polite" anti-Semitism will, however, -be a plan to bring about
journment last week, confirmed the abolition—or at least the reduction—of bias against Jews
Governor Williams' reappoint- for executive positions in industrial firms ... This is considered
ment of Saul R. Levin as a highly important in view of the fact that many young American-
member of the Michigan Cor- born Jews are now complaining that as Jews they are not being
rections Commission for an ad- given the opportunity to make deserved headway in the firms
in which they are employed.
ditional term of six years.

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