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January 20, 1961 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1961-01-20

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THE JEWISH NEWS

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
8, 1879.

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor and Publisher

AU STRIAN

REPA

GOV
ERNMENT
RATrON DEPr.

SIDNEY SHMARAK CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ HARVEY ZUCKERBERG

Advertising Manager

Business Manager

City Editor

Sabbath Scriptural Selections

This Sabbath, the fourth. day of Shevat, 5721, the following Scriptural selections will be read
in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Bo, Ex. 10:1-13:16. Prophetical portion, Jer. 46:13-28.

Licht Benshen; Friday, Jan. 20. 5:14 p.m.

VOL. XXXVIII. No. 21.

- Page Four

January 20, 1961

U. S. Jewry Faces Its Educational Challenge

American Jewry is an entity. It has
a great responsibility to the Jewries
throughout the world, especially . those
who are in need of assistance in their
battle for physical and spiritual suste-
nance, and it lives up to that duty. Yet,
in its internal affairs, in handling its
manifold problems, it resorts to its own
resources. . .
Especially in matters related to edu-
cation, the Jews in this country are seek-
ing ways of creating a systein that will
provide the means necessary for the
formation of a well-informed community
that is rooted in Jewish traditions and
that is able to interpret them within the
framework of American libertarian ideal-
ism.
*
*
*
In large measure, the efforts of the
American Jewish community are succeed-
ing. Great advances have been made in
establishing higher standards for our
schools and in encouraging adult educa-
tional programs.
It stands to reason that we never at-
tain all we aim for. Always • hoping for
- the greatest advances, we are tirelessly
seeking ways of encouraging parents to
enroll their children in our schools. At
the same time, we tell the parents that
they, too, must seek - knowledge. While
the maximum is seldom attainable, it is
safe to say that the progress of the past
century in the field of Jewish education,
has been phenomenal.
Nevertheless, there is endless bewail-
ing, at international gatherings, of an
alleged collapse in Jewish cultural. activi-
ties in this country, and the intimations
are that American Jewry is on the verge,
of total assimilation. This is a most de-
plorable attitude, and the exaggeration of
the negative aspects of the issue is most
regrettable.

Much remains - to be done in acquiring
the high standards desired for the Jewish
educational programs in this country.
Naturally, we strive to enroll nearly all
of the Jewish children in our communal
schools. But even the compulsory public
school systems cannot attain totality in
literacy, and the advances made by Jew-
ish schools in the last two decades are
heartening and compare favorably with
any other system.
However, we are never fully satisfied,
we recognize shortcomings, we seek im-
provements and increased interest. But
it is doubtful whether the judgment that
is passed on American Jewry by ,Euro-
pean and Israeli leaders can stand the
test of reality, and we - challenge the
pragmatism of the constant taunting of
American Jews by those whose major
concern should be an exchange of expe-
riences with us, in order that both Israeli
and Diaspora Jevvries may best be served
by improved educational programs.
*
*
As we stated at the outset, American
Jewry is an entity, and we nearly always

depend upon, our own resources. The
most serious problem facing the Ameri-
can Jewish educational system is the lack
of teachers. We have an exchange pro-
gram with Israel for the utilization of
available Israeli Hebrew teachers in our
school systems. But if we ,.were to depend
entirely upon Israel for our teachers,
Israel would be impoverished — since
Israel, too, urgently needs good teachers.
We must, therefore, come to the reali-
zation that American Jewry must - resort
'to its own manpower in the conduct of
its schools, and our kinsmen in other
lands must accept it as a fact for them-
selves as Well as for the Jews - of America.
- Therefore, we must deal with realities
.practically. We must face the issue as it
exists without permitting external judg-
ments, which often are clouded by mis-
understandings, to affect our thinking
and our planning, and wemust recognize
that we are always dependent upon our
own resources.
*
*
*
Here we come to the root of the prob-
lem. We need more teachers, and there,
is 'need for the best training programs
for the preparation of teachers fcT Jewish
schools in America.
Those who have any conception of
educational activities in all spheres know
that the teacher-shortage problem is a
universal one. Our public schools are as
seriously affected as our Jewish schools.
But it is' more difficult to attain our goal,
because it must, of necessity, be bilingual
— and in the several classes where Yid-
dish is taught, it is. tri-lingual. Then there
are the specialized classes, like Talmud,
which require very able teachers.
The community must recognize that
there are great responsibilities to solve
these issues. FOrtunately, they are being
faced with dignity, and we hope they can
be met successfully.
*
*
*
- • To the credit of the Jewish commu-
nity it should be pointed out that; in
tackling the teacher problem, attempts
are beina made to provide the salaries
that should
b be offered the teachers who
are so urgently needed. It is in the Jewish
school system that pension plans now are
in force, and teachers in Jewish schools
today have the same status of dignity and
respect that is accorded to teachers in
our public schools.
This type of approach must continue.
It can serve to encourage more of our
young people to enter the Hebrew teach-
ing profession. It should serve as an ad-
monition to our kinsmen everywhere that
we are not blind to the realities of the
educational duties, and it should convince
Jewish leaders in other lands that solu-
tions to our educational needs must come
from ourselves for ourselves, just as
their shortcomings — which are as great
as ours — even in Israel — -must be elim-
inated through their own efforts.

Burial of Torahs—Sym bol of Spiritual - Unity

Algerian Jewry conducted a solemn
and very sad ceremony when it buried,
silently, the Torah scrolls that were dese-
crated in the ancient Casbah quarter
synagogue.
There were no speeches—just a silent
procession, and the kaddish was recited.
What it meant was that Algerian
Jewry was cementing its links with its
heritage by emphasizing the spiritual
unity of Israel. It mourned the desecra-

tion of Torahs with dignity, and it re-
affirmed its link with its inheritance by
reciting the prayer for the dead. Then
its life began anew, and the Torah read-
ing continues.
That's the symbol of our spiritual
unity. Undying Israel mourns its losses
whenever there is a calamity, but life
always goes on. The spirit of Israel re-
mains indestructible.

Dr. Robert Gordis Evaluates
Man sQuest for True Religion

In "A Faith for Moderns," published by Bloch, the dis-
tinguished leader in the American Conservative Jewish move-
ment; 'Dr. Robert Gordis, meets many challenges. He offers a
guide for Jewish living among moderns and his inspiration for
religious devotion stems from highly scholarly approaches to the
subjects dealt with in this interesting book.
The mutually indispensable justice and love, the search for
righteousness, "to walk humbly with God," are principles pro-
posed for the ultimate goal in life.
Dr. Gordis quotes the Chinese sage
Mencious who said: "I love life and
I love righteousness; if I cannot have
both, I choose righteousness." His
own conclusion is:
"Vital religion believes passion-
ately that man can have both and

have them abundantly."

Dr. Gordis evalutes the quest in
religion for psychological security.
He states that there is no need to
divorce the mind from the heart,
that the people living in the 20th
century "have it within their power
to achieve a faith by which to live."
He admits that religion has often
been the instrument of evil, but he
emphasizes that it was not its cause.
He assesses the negative factors in
religion and notes the positive contri-
Dr. Gordis
butions of vital religion.
Posing the question "Why not one religion?," and recog-
nizing "the undeniable appeal" of a universal faith, Dr. Gordis
points out that every religion includes three elements—beliefs,
rituals and an ethical system—and that there are "important
divergences" in all of them.
"Those who advocate a universal religion," he writes, "ig-
nore two ,of the three elements, beliefs and rituals, and they
content themselves with urging little more than an ethical code
. . . An ethical code . . . lacking vitality and staying power, will
be unable to face the challenge of man's weakness or meet the
competition of other seductive philosophies that preach the
contradictory gospels of aggressiveness and self-indulgence, of
self-deception or despair . . . In sum, conformity is neither
possible nor desirable. What is needed is universal understanding
based upon knowledge, and an openness of the spirit resting upon
humility . . ."
"Basically," Dr. Gordis declares, "philsophy and religion are
both concerned with man's relationship to the universe, and
both are deeply personal . . . A man's outlook on life, call it his
religion or his philosophy, will determine his character and
fate."
"Even in the quest for objective truth," Dr. Gordis adds,
"religion renders significant service . .. The- scientist has a
perfect right to have his own religion, theistic, agnostic, or
atheistic as it may be. But when he speaks on the issues of
life, he should be aware of the fact that it is as a man and not

as - a scientist that he speaks."

His interpretation of morality and its foundations, his views
on immortality, his explanations of prayer and of man's relation
to God are among the vitally significant elements in faith that are
brilliantly described by Dr. Gordis. His book emerges as an
important contribution to the study of religion in action. "A
Faith for Moderns" is an excellent guide that- helps modern
man "keep that faith."

Rabbi Umen's Reflections

In "The Nature of Judaism," Rabbi Samuel Umen, of Man-
chester, N.H., who formerly held a rabbinic post in Muskegon,' Mich.,
reflects on many subjects. -
In this interesting book, published by Philosophical Library
(15 E. 40th, N.Y. 16), Rabbi Umen covers a variety of subjects,
giving his views that are rooted in Jewish traditions. He evaluates
democracy and religious freedom, culture, existentialism and
Judaism, science, the synagogue and a score of other subjects.
"The Nature of Judaism" reveals that the author has made a
deep study of the subjects he comments upon and that he has
been deeply influenced by Jewish values.

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