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January 05, 1962 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1962-01-05

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Purely Commentary

THE DETROIT JEWISH 'NEWS — Friday, January 5


100th Anniversary of Birth of Morris Rosenfeld
to Be Honored at Community Council Event Jan. 21

A. Morris Rosenfeld centenary transliteration .and with an En- He went on tour through West-
marking the 100th anni- glish translation).' In 1898 Prof. ern Europe and Galicia (Aus-
Margaret Echard's N'ew Novel . . . Its Jewish Theme
versary of the birth of the Yid- Wiener published a complete tria), and was acclaimed in Crac-
Dealing 'with Inbreeding Disease Among Europeans
dish poet, author and "singer of translation of Rosenfeld's verse, ow, Czernawitz, Vienna, Buda-
A new novel by lVlarget Echard (author of Crime Club and the sweatshop," who, in his writ- under the title of "Songs of the pest, and London. .
other stories), "Sb Brief a Journey," to be issued today by ings, reflected the feelings and Ghetto." Thus the Yiddish poet
Rosenfeld's collected works
Doubleday, has special interest for Jewish readers for a number ideas of the first East European now gained' international renown. were not issued prior to 1943.
of reasons. It touches upon the problem of intermarriage, it immigrant generation in Amer- He was invited to read his verse The most important of his works
deals .partially with Jewish characters, it makes 'reference to the ica, will be presented by the Yid- at Harvard (1898), at Chicago are' contained in six -volumes of
research work in the City of- Hope in Duarte, Calif., and it dish culture committee of the University (1900), at Wellesley "Shriftn" (published by Internat-
devotes itself to consideration of the related Tay-Sachs and Jewish Community Council Sun- and Radcliffe Colleges (1900). zionale Bibliotek) ; three volumes
Niemann-Pick infants' diseases which are said to have been day, Jan. 21, 8 p.m., at the Jew-
of "Geveilte Verk" (Naiste Shaf-,
ungen, 1912); "Dos Buch Fun
prevalent among East European Jews due to inbreeding among ish Community Center, it was
Liebe," in two parts (Ferlag M.
announced by Irving Pokempner,
related families.
Gurevitch); and two biographies
Dr. Peter Fell, who specialized in pediatrics, married a culture commission chairman,
of Judah Halevi - and Heinrich
non-Jewish girl. It was a happy marriage for 20 years when the and Jack Malamud and Joseph
Heine. Rosenfeld's verses were
Jewish doctor'S wife Julie finally gave birth to a son. The Bernstein, Yiddish culture com-
translated into French, German,
parents were unhappy about the marriage, bUt there was no mittee co-chairman.
Czech, Romania n, Russian,
evidence of discord in the Feils' marriage until much. later.
Rosenfeld, who was born in
Hebrew, Japanese, and other
_They were about to break up their wedded life when Peter's Poland, and who lived in Amster-
father, also a physician, became ill and came to live with them. dam, London and New York,
The committee charged with
Their life together continued.
represented a pioneer generation
the program, in addition
It was during- the elder's visit that the question' of inter- which shaped the pattern of
consists of Mrs.
American Jewish communal life
marriage arose, and Dr. Emil said to Dr. Peter:
Morris Friedman, Samuel Hoch-
"Forgetting , is no good without understanding. I want your today.
man, Harry Kaminer, Benjamin
wife to understand. No gentile knows how a Jewish parent feels
Rosenfeld's early literary edu-
Laikin, Sidney Shevitz, David
when his son or
Sislin and Mordecai Teller.
not personal. It is so much deeper than that.
Tickets are available from or-
It is a' matter of centuries of mass murder, of ghettos, of trying to akim Zunzer, Michael Gordon,
ganizations and from the Jewish
convert us at sword's point. You say this is America. This is a Abraham Goldfadden, and others.
Community Council, 163 Madison,1
Christian country. There is no Christian country. There are only Rosenfeld wrote his own first
WO 2-6710.
Christian persons and Jewish persons,
poem, in Yiddish when he was 15
they are. Peter, some of our Jewish citizens can trace their -years old. For a time he lived in
American ancestry back to colonial days, and yet there are some London in great poverty. Finally, r
Americans who look on freedom as a right for some and a priv- in 1886 he and his family . emi-
Boris Smolar's
ilege for others. I known this is not true of Julie's family. But I grated to the United States. In
have met with it. While your mother lived, she met with it. And New York, Rosenfeld worked as
when she learned of your marriage, it was as though she had a tailor in the sweatshops whose
learned of your death."
inferno he immortalized in his
The non-Jewish novelist thus evaluated a Christian-Jewish famous poems of the shop.
In 1890 he became the official
In the course of her story, Margaret Echard' tells of the
(Copyright, 1962,
deep interest, Peter took in the City of Hope, and of a. case of a poet of the Arbeiter Tzeitung,
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Inc.)
Jewish child who was discovered to have suffered from the
Behind the Scene
dreaded Tay-Sachs fatal disease among children. A physician at labor, first appeared.
The calling of an Ecumenical Council by Pope John XXIII
"Dos Liederbuch" (1897) at-
the City of Hope explained to Peter "that a strange character-
year in Vatican City has provoked deep interest among
istic of Tay-Sachs_ and Niemann-Pick, still unexplained, is that tracted the attention of Leo this
leaders of major Jewish organizations in this country . . . There
they occur predominantly in Jewish families." He told Peter Wiener, professor at Harvard,- have been only 20, such Councils in the history of the Catholic
about the Ashkenazim, the Jews of eastern and central Europe, who became an enthusiastic ad- Church, the last one in 1869 . . . The Ecumenical Council concerns
and the Sephardim, the Jews of Portugal and Spain, and pro- mirer of Rosenfeld's rare talent. itself with matters affecting faith and practice of the Church, and
Wiener published a number of Jewish leaders hope to be able to submit requests related to
' - ceeded to say:
"It's a strange and interesting medical fact that one in 50 Rosenfeld's poems (in English easing Jewish-Christian tensions . . . They are especially en-
of the. Ashkenazim carries the Tay-Sachs gene, while only one in
couraged by the fact that. Pope John has vigorously denounced
a thousand of the Sephardim carries it. By the laws of heredity, appeals to personal loyalty and anti-Semitism and ordered the elimination of anti-Jewish phrases
that means one birth in 10,000 of the Ashkenazim will be a Tay- social obligations, rather than from some Catholic prayers . . . Some Jewish organizations
Sachs child, while of the Sephardim it will be one in four million." focus on . the - intrinsic impor- have already formulated suggestions. and submitted them -to the
He proceeded to point out that "ghetto life of middle Europe had tance of - the cause itself.
special secretariate of the Ecumenical Council which is pre-.
something to do with it. The Jews of Spain and Portugal. appear
"By permitting myself to be paring the agenda . . . One suggestion urges the attenuation
to have lived in less cancentrated,communities — hence, less in- "honored" I am contributing in the Cathecism of the emphasis that it was the Jews who
myself to dishonesty. I have not crucified. Jesus .. Another suggeStion urges re-examination of
Peter's father, playing with his grandson, noticed a limpness been particularly- active in the Christian teaching concerning Jews and the inclusion by Catholic
that -
_Organization. While, in the past, schools in their curriculum: of instruction that would put Jews
- and it was discovered that the Fells' child also had the Tay-Sachs I have worked ardently for the in- a more positive light . . There is a suggestion urging the
cause that the Organization re- Council to issue a declaration on the connection between the
The intermarried couple, never having abandoned love, presents, I have not done so in Old and the New Testament .. . There is a request that Catholic
having decided on a separation as a result of a misunderstanding, a number of years and I am not prayers harmful to Jews be changed, - in addition to' those 'already
patched up their differences. Peter informed his wife that he so certain now that it fulfills modified . . . Other requests received so far by the secretariat
would now turn to research and would abandon his lucrative the vital function which it -pro- ask for the dispelling of misunderstanding on the "banishment"
practice, that she would have to live in lesser luxury,- and she claims that it does.
of the Jewish people from Palestine, and the creating of a
accepted the verdict gladly.
liturgical ceremony dedicated to Old Testament saints . . . The
"So Brief a Journey" is an exceedingly_ interesting story.
of bestowing "honors" last proposal apparently came from Catholic sources friendly
The novelist explains in a prefatory'note that she was given practice
designating someone as the to Jews . . . It is known that the secretariat intends to study
access to the medical information and to phenylketonuria by and
"Man of the Year." The tech- - the requests and may - even be inclined to recommend the ad-
several physicians and by the- late Dr. Esther Bogen, who died nique
popular and wide- mission of three Jewish observers to the sessions of the Council
in 1960 before she could act as critic on the completed Echard spread, is
gimmick in the . . . At present the Council would like to ,see a Jewish special
document. Her son, Dr. Joseph Bogen, contributed data from Organization Man's
publicity consultative committee formed "truly representative of the-entire
his own medical research. . --
some- Jewish people both in Diaspora and Israel" with -whom it
This novel; therefore, not only is valuable as a narrative, one - must raise his voice
in would be willing to deal.
but also as an inspirer of interest in a vital subject: in the .protest.
Tay-Sachs disease; and doctors will certainly be intrigued by the
"Will you permit me to with- ComMunal
question as it is posed by the novelist in her story: why were the
Jewish welfare funds throughout the country are displaying
case histories of the disease always Jews?
concern over the growing number of independent fund-raising
Rabbi Plaut's reproof is so appeals which seem to affect federated fund-raising . . . A study
mild. that it hardly scratches
Federations and Welfare Funds shows
'Man of the Year' Gimmick and Other Tricks
the infected surface of Ameri- by the Council of Jewish
Having registered concern over the "gimmicks" that are can Jewish life. Every manifes- that federation and welfare fund campaigns have ,dipped moder-
resorted to in communal programming, we are now in position tation of generosity, which ately in the last decade, while independent campaigns for
- to share a protest against another type of gimmick—the "man of should be viewed as a- natural national and overseas needs have more than doubled .. . More
major agencies have been included in more Welfare - Funds
the year" idea that is being pursued by many movements:
act on the part -of a person who
Under the heading "Someone Had to gay It—Let's Put an is able to participate in a worthy during the last years, but major national religious campaigns—
End to the 'Man of the Year' Gimmick! ", the current issue of cause, has been accompanied, Jewish Theological Seminary, Yeshiva University and Reform
Jewish- Digest carries the following letter by Rabbi Walter by a plaque, or a scroll, or an Campaign—were included in feWer Welfare Funds and sought
more funds independently -. The issue of independent fund-
H. Plaut:
engraved resolution. One would-
"This letter may seem strange and may arrive too late to imagine that charity, as prac- raising appeals and how they affect federated fund-raising was
affect a change in plans. Nonetheless, I would be lacking in ticed today, might-be impossible disoussed at the recent General Assembly of the Council of
integrity were I not.to communicate to you my feelings regard- without repayment in kind with Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds in Dallas, Tex. . . . The
question raised -was—should agencies receive Jewish Welfare
ing the cocktail party in my honor to be held at my Temple. a community honor.
Fund support and also raise funds independently in the same -
When I was called to be the guest of honor, I was informed that
and how far should - Welfare Funds go in providing
others had preceded me in years past; and my first reaction
was that I could act no differently, being part of the Jewish est to an organizational event, information and advice to contributors on independent fund-
it has been found necessary to raising drives . . . Discussed was also the question of whether
community, and I quickly consented.
"Several days have elapsed now and I have had some time honor a politician oil a wealthy independent campaigns reflect the changing interests of con-
for reflection. I deplore the seemingly entrenched practice merchant, as a means of draw- tributors, and whether they are responding more flexibly to
to honor a prominent member of the community (and sometimes ing a crowd in honor of the changing needs than are federated campaigns . . . Related to this
they are not so prominent) as a device to promote the Organiza- person chosen for the "gim- was the question of whether Federations and, Welfare Funds
tion; meaning—to attract attendance and to raise funds. While mick" rather than for the event are expanding their inclusion of beneficiaries quickly enough to
reflect changing needs and interests which are a valid charge
there may be nothing wrong with the Organization, there is itself.
If this means that the causes on the entire community . . . As of today, Brandeis University,
something basically dishonest about this practice because means
and ends become confused. Plaques or 'trophies are given out are being relegated to the back- National Council of Jewish Women and other national JeWish
much too facilely and Jews are called leaders 'not for their ground, then we are facing agencies are included in less than half of all Welfare Funds \
excellence in piety, learning or courage, but' for their social bankruptcy in communal plan- . . . On the other hand, Hadassah, Joint Defense Appeal; Jewish
. prominence and their financial contributions. I do not derogate ning, and it has indeed come Theological Seminary, "Yeshiva University and Medical Schsol,
Jewish philanthropies. They have been American Jewry's great- time for "someone to say it"— the Reform Campaign, Jewish Labor Committee, American-Friends
est single contribution. But I do deplore the basic loss of before we sin1 too. deeply into of: the Hebrew University, _American Technion Society, Histadrut
dignity and, consequently the lowering of the. level of Jewish mediocrity from we may Campaign and American-Israel Cultural Foundation are included
in many Welfare funds.
life that exists every time we conduct a fund-raising event via never recover.

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