THE JEWISH NEWS
Incorpora 4 ing the Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with issue of July 20, 1951
Member American Association of English—Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press Associations, National
Published every Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co., 17100 West Seven Mile Road, Detroit 35,
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PHILIP SLOMOVITZ CARM1 M. SLOMOVITZ
Editor and Publisher
This Sabbath, the fifth day of Nisan, the following Scriptural selections will be read in our
Pentateuchal portion, Lev. 1:1-5:26. Prophetical portion, Isaiah 43:21 44:23.
Licht benshen, Friday, March 29, 6:36 p.m.
VOL XLIII. No. 5
March 29, 1963
Honor to Heroes of Warsaw Ghetto
Last August, the President of the
United States was authorized, in a resolu-
tion adopted by the U. S. Senate Judiciary
Committee, to designate April 21, 1963,
as a day on which to observe the courage
that was displayed by the heroes in the
Warsaw Ghetto who defied the Nazis and
rose up in revolt against the German
In the spirit of this resolution, Presi-
dent Kennedy, in a proclamation issued
earlier this month, called upon the people
of this country to observe the 20th anni-
versary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
with appropriate ceremonies on April 21.
Commending the heroism of the Jew-
ish heroes, President Kennedy said
"though they lacked both military re-
sources and a military tradition, they were
able to conduct their struggle against the
overwhelming forces of the Nazi occupiers
for more than three weeks, thereby_ pro-
viding a chapter in the annals of human
heroism, an inspiration to the peace-loving
people of the world and a warning to
would-be oppressors which will long be
The President's proclamation realisti-
cally pointed out that while the result of
their uprising "was known by the Jews
to be foredoomed," the 70,000 remaining
Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto—who sur-
vived out of a total of 400,000 who were
herded into a several-block walled-in area,
to be sent from there to extermination
camps—"engaged the Nazis in battle."
His proclamation stated:
"With deadly efficiency, most of the
other inhabitants had been transported
by the Nazis to concentration camps and
had there been exterminated.
"The surviving Jews, suffering from
malnutrition and disease, with pitifully
few weapons and virtually no hope of
assistance from any source, determined
to sell their lives as dearly as possible."
During the coming month, there will
be many commemorative events, to mark
the 20th anniversary of the Warsaw
Ghetto resistance to Nazism. The Polish
government is cooperating in the setting
up of a monument in tribute to the ghetto
fighters, and non-Jews are sharing with
Jews in many lands a sense of admiration
for those who defied the Nazis, at the
functions at which their heroism will be
In our own community, the tribute
to the Warsaw Ghetto fighters will be
expressed at another annual commemo-
ration, on April 7. It will be an occasion'
for evaluating the events that transpired
Good relations have existed between
Israel and West German y. The Israel
unofficial legation in Cologne has spear-.
headed business activities between the
two countries and there existed a feeling
that the _Bonn government desired to
cement the best feelings between Jews
For some time, however, it has been
known that former Nazis have been guid-
ing the military policies of Arab govern-
ments, including Egypt. A new crisis has
arisen and Israel's Foreign Minister,
Golda Meir, has been forced to condemn
the anti-Israeli developments.
If a new war should break out between
Israel and her Arab 'antagonists, Nazis
will be responsible for the build-up of
Arab military power — with the aid of
Soviet arms. Let it be known who the
war-mongers are in the Middle East.
with the rise of Hitlerism, and more espe-
cially it will provide an opportunity for
our community once again to reaffirm
our kinship with oppressed. Jews wher-
ever they may reside.
Major in the discussions today relating
to the Hitler era is the mooted question
of resistance—whether Jews resisted the
Nazis sufficiently and how resistance
might have offset the enormity of the
Raul Hilberg, in "The Destruction of
the European Jews," the most important
and completest available documented nar-
rative history of the Hitler period, pub-
lished by Quadrangle Books, showed how
the fear of overwhelming odds against
them deterred Jews and non-Jews alike
from resisting the Nazis hordes. There
were too few rebellions against the Hitler-
Dr. Solomon B. Freehof has for some time now carried the
ites, but the limited few stood out for distinction of being one of the most noted authorities on Jewish
their heroism, and Prof. Hilberg's docu- Responsa. His "The Responsa Literature," which was published
mentation makes this s t at em e n t in by the Jewish Publication Society in 1955,
reference to the Warsaw Ghetto fighters: introduced his extensive studies on the sub-
ject. His present volume, "A Treasury of
"The largest single clash between Responsa," just issued by the JPS, is the
Jews and Germans occurred in the result of many questions posed to him on
ghetto of Warsaw. Let us say at once Jewish Law and traditions and his research
that for the further development of into such material.
Responsa are letters written by experts,
the destruction process, this armed en-
counter was without consequence. In replying to correspondents seeking guidance
information, and Responsa Literature
Jewish history, however, the battle is and
covers a multitude of subjects, eras, issues,
literally a revolution, for after 2,000 laws and traditions.
years of a policy of submission the
Rabbi Freehof's newest work contains 63
wheel had been turned and once again such letters, written over a thousand - year
period. His "A Treasury of Responsa" is a
Jews were using force."
for laymen. Rabbis and scholars who
This is a most interesting commen- book
do research in many Jewish fields of learning
tary and it has special significance by will find this book of great value, and its
virtue of the questions that were posed special significance certainly is that the lay readers will be
by the youth in Israel during the Eich- fascinated by its contents.
mann trial: "why didn't Jews fight back?"
The variety of subjects covered here indicates a universality
That is why most of the literature in Jewish thinking and in the position that has been held by
dealing with the catastrophe now probes Jews throughout the centuries. The very first letter, on "The
of Tradition," was written by Rabbi Sherira ben Hanina,
into the question of resistance. That is History
of the Pumpeditha academy who lived in the second half
why the Warsaw Ghetto episode in our a of gaon
the 10th century. As in all instances of the quoted Responsa,
history is so vital and so symbolic of the Dr. Freehof has written an introductory biographical sketCh of
emergence of a new spirit that defies the scholar under discussion. Thus, in the instance of Sherira
Gaon, there is a four-page biographical text and a six-page text
persecutions and humiliations.
of the letter.
Then comes the second text, in which Rabbeni Gershom
The Jewish Community Council of
Judah (960-1040) explains "A Rabbi's Livelihood.'' It is a
Detroit has been among the first Jewish ben
much shorter text, it opens with a quoted question and concludes
communal organizations to initiate com- with the rabbi's answer in which appears the declaration:
memorations of the Warsaw Ghetto hero-
"The right of free competition applies to men in general,
ism. It has become an annual event in but not to a scholar who engages in the Torah and in the
this city, and many men and women have affairs of Heaven. It is proper to give such a person special
come to consider it a sort of pilgrimage status in order that he may not be distracted from his study.".
to the graves of the victims of Nazism to
Such subjects as "Polygamy in Turkey" (Samuel di Medina),
attend the Council - sponsored tribute "Jews and Music" (Judah Leon of Modena), "Church Melodies
in the Synagogue" (Joel Sirkes), "Kaddish for the Martyrs"
(Jacob Moellin), "Community Government" (Meir of Rothen-
This year's commemoration, because burg),
"Contract with a Teacher" (Isaac Alfasi), "Converting
it is the 20th anniversary of the Warsaw for Marriage" (David Hoffman), "Artificial Insemination" (Isaac
Ghetto Uprising, and because it has now Walkin) are among the subjects under review.
become a worldwide celebration; assumes
Did a young man have a right to leave Palestine in order
greater significance than ever before. to be married elsewhere? 'The Right to Leave Palestine" is the
Once again, our community is in the Responsum of Rabbi Yom-Tov Zahalon of Sated (1557-1638), who de-
forefront in observing the event.
creed that the young man acted in accordance with law by leaving.
A chapter dealing with "Marriage with Falashas" quotes
Once more, it is to be hoped, such
"the Falashas with
a commemoration is an occasion for David ben Zimri (1479-1589) as having classed
and may be accepted
re-dedication to the goal that no one who into the Jewish community." But in the instance quoted the
is in danger from oppression should be woman whose husband was a Falasha was not proven to have
left unaided, that all who need help in been killed and therefore was considered an agunah and her
the battle against tyranny should be sup- remarriage was declared not legitimate.
ported, that the persecuted and the eco-
There is an interesting ruling by Solomon ben Simon Duran
nomically dispossessed should have our (1400-1467) on the. Jewishness of the Marranos. They were de-
clared to be counted to the end of time as Jews: "Children of
apostates (the marranos), as long as their mother is of
The Warsaw Ghetto commemoration these
Israel, even over many generations and even if it was a Gentile
is, therefore, a call to action for a rebirth man who married this apostate Jewish woman, are, to the end
of libertarianism, for the strengthening of all generations, Jewish."
of the struggle for freedom, for a recogni-
On the basis of the Talmudic principle, it is proper for a
tion of the truth that as long as a single mourner to say kaddish for a father who was slain while an apos-
group anywhere remains enslaved the tate, David ben Hayyim haKohen Radak, 16th century Corfu
entire world is endangered by slavery. rabbi is quoted.
Therefore, the goal is for liberty for ail,
Scores of other Responsa are frotn 'great scholars of the
so that anything even • remotely akin to last ten centuries.
Dr. Freehof's Treasury enriches Jewish literature and en-
Nazism should never again be able to
lightens the reader on Jewish law and traditions.
raise its ugly head.
Historic Opinions on Jewish
Law in Freehof's 'Responsa'