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June 10, 1960 - Image 29

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1960-06-10

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

JERUSALEM, (JTA)—A Min-
isterial economic committee -de-
cided to accept a long-standing
offer by Bulgaria to pay com-
pensation of $8,300-for each vic-
tim of a Bulgarian attack on an
El Al plane in 1955 in which
all 58 persons aboard were
killed. The payments would be
made to relatives of the victims.
Israel originally demanded a
total payment of $2,600,000 in-
cluding compensation for loss of
the El Al Constellation plane.
When Bulgaria rejected the
claim, Israel took the case to
the International Court of Jus-
tice at The Hague. That court
ruled it had no jurisdiction.

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iiernard Ise;acs' Newest Book Is Rich Volume of Short Stories -
ReViewed by MORRIS NOBEL in an attempt to cheer up his teresting are the stories, such icompletely disappeared from

.

"HOTER MIGEZZAH", ("A Shoot
out of the Stock"). Stories by Ber-
nard Isaacs, M. Newman Publish-
ing House, Ltd. Tel Aviv, 5720.

Bernard Isaacs' third book is
an attractively printed volume
containing 22 short stories. Pub-
lished in Israel, it bears a Bibli-
cal title, "A Shootout of the
Stock," and with good reason.
Many of the stories point up the
fact that even those Jews who
have drifted away from Jewish
life and have become strangers
to its tradition, are still sub-
ject to the influence of that life
and the power of that tradition.
Even the alien-
ated and the
estranged are
"shoots out of
the stock."
Harold Green,
in the story "I
Was Better
Off Then Than
Now" (this
title, too, is
Biblical in ori-
gin!) is a tailor
who came
from Lithu-
ania and made
good in Amer-
i c a. Before
long he opens
his own shop
and his busi-
; ness prospers. He marries a
prominent girl from his native
city, and their marriage is
blessed with two lovely daugh-
ters. As becoming a successful
businessman, he purchases a big
home in a new neighborhood.
About the only trace of the
Jewish way of life that still re-
mains in the spacious Green
household are the "gefilte fish."
Linda, their younger daugh-
ter who looked a little bit like
her father, is of a rebellious na-
ture and a vigorous and out-
spoken non-conformist. She is
popular, and many young men
seek her company. However, she
is mostly attracted to a religi-
ous fellow, a survivor of a Nazi
extermination camp, who found
refuge. in America, and they get
married.
The story ends years later.
Linda's first husband dies. Upon
the insistence and with the en-
, couragement of her mother she
remarries. Her second husband,
George, is far removed from
Jewish life, but ambitious and
rich. He surrounds her with
attention and luxury. In spite of
all the comforts of her new life,
Linda is sad and • depressed,
much to the' perplexity of
George. Late in the afternoon
on a Yam Kippur eve, George,

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wife, invites her to a game of
"gin rummy?' - • - -
"Suddenly the reason of her
sadness became clear to: her.
She cast a. glance of contempt
towards him, and hurried to her
room. When she reappeared she
was dressed in holiday clothes.
"Where are you g,oing in such
a hurry?"
"To the synagogue."
"To the synagogue? What
happened to you suddenly?"
His words did not reach her
any more. She had • already be-
come part of the human stream
that was converging upon the
synagogue."
• * 5 5
Even though one's devotion
and attachment to his heritage
may have been reduced to a
mere flicker, nevertheless, it
may suddenly flare up into a
new and vigorous flame. This
idea is again forcibly expressed
in "When the Foundations Are
Destroyed" (another Biblical
title!). The "emancipated" father
and mother pride themselves
upon the fact that they are
rearing their children in a truly
progressive manner, without the
"prejudices" and "superstitions"
of a Jewish upbringing. They
believe that when the children
grow up they will fill their lives
with spiritual content of their
own choosing. But they are
stunned to discover that a
strange and unexpected religi-
ous spirit has quietly filled the
spiritual void of their children
and threatens them with con-
version to another faith. The
shock is so painful that it brings
about the tragic death of the
father.
* * *
The same thought—the deep
and lasting power of one's
spiritual inheritance — is again
expressed symbolically in the
beautiful story "The Heritage."
An extraordinary story is
"Not At All Strange," which
describes the experiences of a
Jewish child with his non-Jew-
ish neighbors in Lithuania, and
his 'contact, after arriving as a
young man of twenty in Amer-
ica, with some • non-Jews in the
New World. The character of
the fat "uncle" is sharply and
effectively delineated. Particu-
larly noteworthy is the account
t
of the slaughter of the hog in
"uncle's" yard.
* * *
The problems of marriage, its
conflicts a n d misunderstand-
ings, have always interested
Isaacs. In both of his previous
books he dealt with the relation-
ship between husband and wife.
The present volume, too, con-
tains a fine story about mar-
riage, "He Went Out and Came
Back.'! With his characteristic
deep insight Isaacs brings to life
the main characters of the story.
When Leonard's mother objects
to her son divorcing his wife
because the mother thinks that
the daughter-in-law does not de-
serve to be hurt, Leonard con-
tends that his wife will not be
hurt, as she is different, she is
a modern woman and under-
stands. His mother firmly re-
jects his argument: "A woman
is a woman; there are no two
kinds of women". The unexpect-
ed ending of the story height-
ens its effect.
* * *
The problem of anti-Semitism
is touched upon in the short
monologue "Trick or Treat." In
the refined suburban commu-
nity of Clifford, anti-Jewish
prejudice does not manifest it-
self in overt or vulgar anti-
Semitic acts. It finds expression
rather in little and presumably.
insignificant incidents. But to
the Jew their intent and mean-
ing are unmistakable. The gen-
tle and friendly Unitarian
neighbor, however, is much puz-
zled when his Jewish friend
leaves Clifford just because the
neighborhood children by-pass
his home on Halloween night,
when going from house to house
to beg for "trick or treat."
Isaacs', trip to Israel a few
years ago is reflected in a num-
ber of stories. Particularly in-

'

as "The Desecration of Sunday"
and "Majesty", • in which Isaacs
treats the "disappointments"
with which some American
tourists return froin 'Israel. He
invests these stories with quiet
irony and gentle humor. Any
who has ever talked with
such a. "disappointed" tourist
will recogniie at once that the
author is describing authentic
situations and real people.
* * *
Isaacs has a sharp eye for the
of human conduct and
motives. He is aware not only
of the sorrow and loneliness
which are the fate of man, but
also of his frailty and baseness.
In general this book is mellower
than its two predecessors. The
bitterness and acrimony which
characterized some of the stor-
ies in the earlier books, have

the present volume. The forgiv-
ing and understanding spirit of
Reb Mordecai, the deeply pious
hero of the first story perme-
ates the entire book. In the life
described in this book, just like
in the world of Reb Mordecai,
there is no room- for recrimina-
tion a _ nd reproach. •
* * *
"Hater Migezzah" is a very
readable . book and has further
enhanced Isaacs' reputation as
an eminent Hebrew short story
writer. The Hebrew language is
more than an adequate medium •
of expression for Isaacs. In his
hands it becomes a refined in-
strument capable of creating
scenes that abound in great
beauty of sound and color. It is
to be hoped that at least some
of these stories will be made
available in English.

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VACATIONS -

29 - THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS — Friday, June 10, 1960

Israel Takes Bulgaria's
Offer on. Crash Victims

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