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April 05, 1963 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1963-04-05

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

Rabbi Dresner's Book Touches on
Aspects of Jewish Life; Charges
of Funeral Violations Disputed

High German Official Admits Signing Nazi Orders Against Jews

COBLENZ (JTA)—Dr. Fried-
erich Karl Vialon State Secre-
tary to the West German Fed-
eral Ministry of Economic Co-
o p e r at i o n, admitted in open
court here _ that, during World
War II, he had signed docu-
ments, "in the absence of my
superior," having to do with the
confiscation of the property of
Jews being then annihilated by
Nazi commandos.
He appeared as a witness in
the trial of Georg Heuser, a


former leader in the Nazi SS,
and 11 co-defendants, being tried
for the mass murder, in White
Russia, of about 170,000 men,
women and children, including
35,00040,000 Jews.
Vialon's appearance as a wit-
ness came after two efforts to
put him into the case had been
made by the defense. Charges
against him had been sent to the

court in a "brown book" sup-
plied by Soviet authorities. Un-

der oath, he conceded that the
documents supplied by the So-
viet Union "were not falsified."
He said he was, indeed, a high
official in the Riga office of the
Reich Commissioner for Eastern
Territories, but maintained he
knew nothing about the exter-
mination of Jews.

Many aspects of Jewish life ing to established traditions,
are touched upon in a series of Rabbi Dresner asserts that "it is
essays by Rabbi Samuel H. Dres- inhuman to require that the
ner, in "The Jew in American grief-stricken mourner `go shop-
Life," published by Crown (419 ping' for burial arrangements,
and criminal to urge him to
Park Ave. S., NY 16).
spend large sums on the funeral,
Dr. Dresner deals with the which Jewish law tells us must
Sabbath question, with issues re- be as simple as possible."
lating to child training, with the
Declaring that "present-day
Jew and alcoholism and the Jew
in a Christian world, as well as abuses of funeral and mourning Seek OK on Israel
moved some of the Extradition Pact
nearly a score of other vital practices
rabbis and congregations of
Springfield to action," Ortho-
Of primary interest in his dox, Conservative and Reform ident Kennedy asked the Senate
book is the issue dealt with becoming equally concerned, to ratify an extradition treaty
under the title "The Scandal Rabbi Dresner lists the follow- with Israel that was signed last
of the Jewish Funeral," a mat- ing as the adopted Soringfield Dec. 10. The treaty covers mu-
tual extradition agreements in-
ter to which he has given con- regulations:
volving individuals charged with
siderable attention and which
1. In keeping with Jewish tradi-
has resulted in the adoption of tion which teaches the equality of non-political offenses of a crim-
men, and that therefore there inal nature.
an important set of principles all
should be no distinction at time
by the community of Spring- of death between rich and poor,
there will be one uniform casket
field, Mass.,, where he serves used
for all funerals. This casket
as rabbi of Congregation Beth will be draped with a cover of the See the world's largest collection
custom hardware, also
lighting fixtures and wall panel-
2. In keeping with- the above tra-
ing from the four corners of the
no flowers will be permitted
In the' initial essay, "Rome and dition,
at funerals. Instead, friends and rel-
America," which is based on
tribute to the charities of their con-
Gibbons' "Decline and Fall of gregations
and other worthy causes.
For an exciting lecture pre-
the Roman Empire," Dr. Dresner
3. The oasket will remain closed at
senting, "Jewels" for your
all times. The living should be
points to many faults in Ameri- helped
home, a decorating program
to remember the departed
to present at your next club
ca's way of life which could as they were in life, not with the
me et i n g. No obligation or
of death.
parallel the situation that led to image
solicitation. Call Miss Sharon,
4. Out of respect to the departed,
KE 7-1100.
Rome's decline, and he admon- the body should never be left alone;
shomer (guard) should remain
ishes us that "ours is a society a with
the departed at all times until

prosperous but uneasy," that "re- the funeral. During this, period
should be recited.
KE 7-1100
24200 Telegraph
ligion in our time must be a Psalms
5. Rather than engage in idle con-
Open Mon.-Wed. 8-5; Sat. 8-4
challenge to live not in terms of versation, visitors to the place where Tues. & Thurs. Eves. 'til 9 p.m.
the departed reposes should be en-
what each can get out of the couraged to - recite from the Book of
world, but also in terms of what Psalms and other literature which
be made available for this
the world will get out of us"; should
that religion "must cease being 6. According to Jewish tradition,
is not required to visit the funeral
convenient and comfortable . . it
with all these
parlor prior to the funeral, or that
it must discipline, set standards, the family be available for such
visits at the funeral parlor. It is,
make demands . . . cry out that however, a mitzvah to be present at
you'd expect
our country stands between dic- the funeral service - and to visit the
during the shivah period.
tatorship and freedom and that family
7. No special gloves shall be pro-
. . . every citizen has an obliga- vided to the pallbearers.
Meals provided by mourners
to cost more than it does!
tion to strengthen this land by for 8. those
attending shivah services
should be discouraged as an impo-
loyal and devoted service."
sition on the family.
In "Going to Synagogue,"
Rabbi Dresner concludes with
Rabbi Dresner compares the the plea:
Catholic and Protestant re- "The chaos which characterized
sponses to a poll showing that, Jewish life in the past is slowly
disappearing. A crystallization is
respectively, '74 per cent and 42 now
taking place on many, levels:
per cent of them attend re- in the organization of Jewish com-
munity councils, the raising of the
ligious services whereas only 27 level of Jewish education, and,
per cent of Jews gave an af- above, all, in the emergence of the
as the central institution
Dial the exact warmth you want, in the
firmative answer, and he as- synagogue
of the Jewish community. It is high
serts: "We boast that we have time that the synagogue took action
room you want. Turn the heat down in
in an area of life where Jews are
given prayer to the world: per- helpless victim s, re-establishing
roams not in use—lower heating costs.
as electric light
standards of burial and mourning
haps we have given it away!"
in accordance with the law and
4 0w—
He concludes with a plea:
spirit of Jewish tradition."
(The charges listed by Rabbi
"We Jews in America have
Dresner are not applicable to
many synagogues—great and
Detroit, responsible funeral
beautiful synagogues endowed
directors and community lead-
with endless prayer books—
ers declared here. They assert-
and for us here it is no prob-
ed that traditions are scrupu-
lem to enter these synagogues
lously adhered to and that
or use the prayer bobks and
You get full use of ALL floor space.
pressures upon mourners never
There's none taken up for fuel
are resorted to. On the cont-
"The Jews of the past knew
how to survive adversity and
is made to provide comfort for
mourners and to assist them
"Will we Jews of America
in living up to Jewish laws).
know how to survive prosper-
(Rabbi Dresner, when contacted
by this reviewer about a report that
ity and freedom?
Springfield congregations had not
"I pray in my heart and approved the code he had formu-
lated and which has been quoted
soul that we shall."
above from his book, replied:
In "The Scandal of the Jewish
("The Reform, the largest Ortho-
and my own Congregation (Beth
Funeral," Rabbi Dresner charges
hpersoev atvhee eghnt psouttes ...
a voef aped
Turn a dial and the heat's on
that there are "common flagrant um e h
w hen and where you want it.
as I indicated in a
violations of the law and spirit footnote. The essential
No tvaiting for heat to build
of Jewish tradition in regard to has been in some oases to 'recom-
a single casket and a cover.
up elsewhere in your home.
burial and mourning," that there mend'
No cold spots or drafts, no blasts of hot air.
. . . A congregational meeting was
are pressures in the selection called which voted to rescind these
rules in my own congregation.
of expensive caskets, that fu-. They
had the power only to recom-
neral parlors often are trans- mend • this to my board, and the
There's little to wear out,
board upheld these rules. The rules
formed into fashion shows.
are very much in effect, partly
nothing to rust out, no
and partly recommend-
Quoting Jewish laws and point- mandatory
ed. The Jewish Community Council

`TopC im,13




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has announced the appointment of
a committee to look into the estab-
liShment of a communal Jewish
funeral" home which, of course,
would solve all problems. Our own
congregation has appointed a spe-
cial committee to bring in a report
after six months as to the effective
implementation of our rules, that is,
those parts which are on a recom-
mended basis. You can be sure that
the multi-million dollar funeral in-
dustry is not going to take what
we are doing here lying down. They
have batteries of lawyers and an
endless amount of public relations
machinery and propaganda to throw
at us, and they are using it con-
stantly. Nevertheless, the tide is
beginning to turn. I can name four
or five communities already in which
real concern has already taken the
form of clear-cut expression, Bos-
ton, Chicago, Minnesota and other
areas are beginning to act. . . . The
fat is going to be in the fire, and
the sooner we meet this matter
head-on the better."

• —P.S.

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