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May 03, 1963 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1963-05-03

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Purely Commentary

Dr. Haber's Promotion to Deanship



A distinct honor has been accorded to Prof. William Haber
by the University of Michigan. By naming him Dean of the
College of Literature, the Arts and Sciences, our state univer-
sity has given recognition to a man with recognized ability not
only to teach but also to govern.
Dr. Haber, during the nearly three decades of his associa-
tion with the U. of M., has guided many hundreds of students
among the leaders in industry and government and who, to this
day, look to him for inspiration.
He has been an adviser to state and federal officials and
Michigan's Governors came to him for guidance in vital matters
of state.
In Jewish communities, Dr. Haber has emerged as one of
the most popular leaders. As head, until two months ago, of the
Bnai Brith Hillel Foundations Commission, as international
president of ORT, as a•strong supporter of Israel and as a former
adviser to American officials on refugee and displaced persons
problems, he has become one of the most authoritative person-
alities in Jewry. •
It is heartening to know that merit was so well rewarded
and that Dr. Haber was chosen from among 70 candidates for the
high U. of M. post. And it is a joy for us to congratulate him on
his promotion.


Christian-Jewish Relations in Israel

A report recently given, at a meeting of the Zionist Organi-
zation of Detroit, on the existing relations in Israel between Chris-
tians and Jews, has been challenged by non-Jews who maintain
that an has been a measure of intolerance for which members
of an extremist orthodox group are blamed and the government
is accused of having failed to act firmly and properly in dis-
couraging demonstrations of bigotry.
Because items such as the recent reports about an Acre
incident and a purported attack on a Finnish mission in Jerusalem
have been brought as evidence of an existing prejudice among
an uncontrollable element, it is urgent that all facts should be
made known regarding the recurring demonstrations in order
that the best relations should be re-established among all faiths
in Israel.
Important data about incidents that have been labeled "petty
quarrels" that "lead to charges of state bias" is provided- in a
report to the Jewish Observer and Middle East Review of London
by its Jerusalem correspondent, Amos Ben-Vered, who analyzed
the recent incidents as follows:
Relations between Christians and Jews in Israel, always
somewhat uneasy, suddenly flared up into open denuncia-
tions last week—over a meaningless quarrel between a
Franciscan monk and a Jewish watchmaker in Acre.
The watchmaker opened a window in front of his shop,
which is below the monastery. He had obtained a municipal
license, as well as the landlord's consent. But the monk
objected, on the grounds that the window defaced the
monastery front. When police upheld the watchmaker, the
monk drilled a hole in the roof of the shop—which is the
floor of a balcony in the monastery.
Subsequently, the two men brawled in the street. Police
opened an investigation, and the matter might have taken
its usual course, had it not been for the sudden intervention
of the Latin Patriarchal Vicar, Bishop Pier Chiaperro.
The bishop called a press conference, at which he
charged the police with being biased and said that this
assault "on the Church" was intolerable.
Apparently feeling that his case was not too strong,
he called another press conference the next day. This time
he gave vent to feelings which are known to have existed
in Church circles for a long time. He attacked the Ministry
for Religious Affairs, alleging that it was financing anti-
mission activities such as the Keren Yaldenu fund (for
establishing youth clubrooms and supporting families who
had withdrawn their Children from mission schools).
In a State which professes religious tolerance, Bishop
Chiaperro said, it was not appropriate that the Government
Ministry charged with caring for the religions should dis-
criminate against one of them.
While the defense of the hole-drilling priest was seen
by responsible circles in Israel as ludicrous, the charges
against the Ministry for Religious Affairs were taken more
seriously. They partly reflect the growing sense of frustra-
tion on the part of the Church authorities, who see their
economic lures failing to attract converts in appreciable
The frustration is 'two-sided. Several cases of violence
by Jewish rowdies have been reported recently. The Fin-
nish mission school in Jerusalem was attacked and a priest
beaten up—which necessitated an official apology by the
Cabinet to the Finnish Government.
Some time ago, a Jewish crowd forcibly detained Jewish
children who were on their way—on the Sabbath—to attend
a cinema show in a Jaffa mission school. While the mission
was legally within its rights, the performance being classed
as "private," the lure of entertainment to bring children
into the mission's rooms was denounced by all sections of
the Jewish -public. The performances were later discon-
According to the Ministry of Religious 'Affairs, there
are more than 600 missionaries in Israel. Conversions to
Christianity average about a score—though Ministry officials
say that this figure is not reliable because some of the
converts emigrate and others are afraid to declare their
new religion openly. The means employed by some of the
missions in recent years have included the promise of
fares and entry visas in a South American State, work in
a monastery or a 'grant for the convert to set himself up
in business. These methods have now been largely discon-
tinued mostly through the persuasion of Israel officials,
who explained the adverse image of the Church thus created.
But there remain the mission schools, which are ef-
ficient, have a high educational standard—and are mostly
free, including board. More than a thousand Jewish children
study in the schools, and indirect influence on them is
always feared, although the schools' themselves deny any
active proseltizing.
The mission schools are combatted by Keren Yaldenu


U. of M. Honors for
Dr. Haber ... Israel's
Christian Missions

By Philip H istorical Society
Slomovitz Views Prominence

which is a volunteers organization engaging in positive
denigration without incitement to violence. The organization
establishes rival classes and clubrooms, and tries to create
conditions to prevent the destitute from turning to the
missions for economic reasons.
Leading articles in some of Israel's papers comment-
ing on the quarrel, drew a line between the churches'
normal activities and the missionary activities. The latter,
though legally permitted, go against the grain not only of
religious Jews such as the Minister for Religious Affairs,
Dr. Wahrhaftig, but also of "secular" Jews (who might,
for that matter, be members of the League against Re-
ligious Coercion).
Yet observers feel that these principles, as related by
Dr. Wahrhaftig himself to a delegation from the missions,
are not sufficient.
What could help to alleviate the tension is a statement
by the Minister and by the Rabbinate, denouncing the
molesting of nuns or priests which has again increased in
frequency after a long period of quiet.
It is most regrettable that incidents of this nature should
occur to mar an otherwise excellent record established by Israel
in its program of providing the utmost in religious freedom for
all faiths.
In his "Faith Walks the Land", Israel I. Taslitt, the spokes-
man at the recent ZOD meeting, whose interpretations of the
status of missions in Israel was challenged by a distinguished
Christian minister who lived in Jerusalem for 28 years, shows
how well the Christian groups have become integrated in Israel's
society. Yet, there are aggravations. Some of the missions in
Israel. reportedly display slogans with "insulting connotations."
A subsequent article in the London Jewish Observer stated:
"The mission schools flourish in the slums of Israel, as
they did before the war in the slums of Whitechapel (London).
They have never solved any problem and have often created
many new ones. This seems to be the situation in Israel today,
where the militant missions confront the militants of the anti-
missions in Israel, as it was in,the East End of London, and its
solution will be removal of the social conditions on which the
missions flourish. This, the Israelis must do. However, the mis-
sions also have a responsibility, and if they do not exercise it,
then the leaders of the churches responsible should step in and
prevent the deliberate exacerbation of Jewish sentiment."
The background and the status of the missions should be
understood. The churches sought to establish missions in. Israel,
having commenced their conversionist activities more than a cen-
tury ago, hoping, of course, to capture as many Jewish souls as
possible. The Roman Catholic Church alone has assigned 850 monks
to teach 1,200 Jewish children in their missions, but it has been
asserted that no direct attempt is made to impose the Catholic
beliefs upon the children. There may be another 2,000 Jewish
children in missions conducted by other faiths, and through fi-
nancial and other material inducements it is said that not only
the children but also their parents are being confronted with
proselytizing schemes.
-While the given figures have not been corroborated, it also
is believed that the presence in the affected areas, mostly in
Jerusalem, of a few hundred converted Jews, many of whom are
themselves acting the roles of missionaries, creates the major
problem and is a primary cause of irritation and of resentment
among Jews.
There is no doubt about the immensity of the problem. There
are Christian groups in Israel whose missionaries are not abusing
privileges and are not unduly influencing the children with bribes
of clothing, food and other bait, while resorting also to financially
tempting offers to their parents. But there certainly are some
missions that create irritations, thereby 'inciting extremists to


resort to violence.

The solution has been indicated: conditions must be created
in synagogues and centers, for the Israeli youth, so that there
should be no need for them to be tempted away from Jewish
ranks into strange faiths. This is the only way in which Israel
can battle the proselytizing tempters.

Who Will Succeed Ben-Zvi?

At a Temple Bnai Israel meeting in Saginaw on the day of
the funeral of Israel's President Itzhak Ben-Zvi, this Commen-
tator predicted that Zalman Shazar may be the next President
of Israel. Perhaps it was wishful thinking. After all, there are
other notables in Israel who qualify for

the high position. But Shazar would fit
in so well as a successor to the man
who respected Jewish traditions ! Shazar
stands out among Israeli leaders who
attends synagogue services, who loves
to delve into Jewish sacred rites, who
welcomes an opportunity to sing tradi-
tional hymns. This Commentator recalls
an experience in Stockholm, during the
sessions of the World Jewish Congress.
A group of us were on our way to the
Swedish synagogue on Sabbath morning.
We had asked another notable whether
he would join us, and he replied: "If I
do not attend synagogue services in
Zalman Shazar
Jerusalem why should I in Stockholm?"
Not Shazar. He was with us, and was one of those who was
honored with an Aliyah. It won't surprise us one bit if Zalman
Shazar is the third President of Israel.

of Jews in the U. S.

analysis of all Jews recorded in
the Dictionary of American Bi-
ography shows that 25 per cent
of American Jews listed in the
dictionary earned their rights to
such listing in the 40 years be-
tween 1900 and 1940, according
to a report to the 61St annual
meeting of the American Jew-
ish Historical Society.
Dr. Abram Kanof, president
of the society, in describing
In i s findings,
said that "as
the Jewish
story unfolds
in American
history, t h e
numerical im-
portance of
physicians, ra-
bbis and writ-
ers diminish-
es, while that
of musicians,
general schol-
a r s, reform-
Dr. Kanof
e r s , politic-
ians, entertainers and bankers
Professor Salo W. Baron of
Columbia University, a former
president of the Society, re-
ceived the Lee Max Friedman
Award Medal for distinction in
American Jewish Historiogra-
phy. A number of individual
members were cited for their
association as members of the
Society for at least 40 years.
They included Rabbi David De
Sola Pool, former Senator Her-
bert H. Lehman, Lessing J. Ro-
senwald and former Adm. Lew-
is L. Strauss. The Harvard Uni-
versity Library and Shearith Is-
rael Congregation were cited
for the same reason.

Professorship at
Harvard Honors
F. Frankfurter

Plans for the stablishment of a
Harvard Law School professor-
ship in honor of former Su-
preme Court Justice Felix
Frankfurter were announced at
the annual meeting of the Coun-
cil of the Harvard Law School
John O'Melveney, of Los An-
geles, a former student here
under Frankfurter, when the
latter taught at the Law School,
was named chairman of a com-
mittee to raise $400,000 for the
professorship. Justice Fran k-
furter retired from the Supreme
Court last August, after serving
on the high tribunal since 1939.
From 1914 to 1939, Justice
Frankfurter taught at Harvard
Law School.

American Orthodox
Settlers to Erect
Project in Israel

struction started on a center in
Jerusalem to be known as Kiryat
Mattersdorf—a 400-unit housing
project for Orthodox settlers
mainly from the United States.
The center was developed by
Rabbi Shmuel Ehrenfeld, the
scion of the famous Chasen
Sofer, who lived in Mattersdorf,
center of seven Jewish commu-
nities in the Burgenland district
in Austria before the Nazis oc-
cupied the country.

TV Shows and Filmstrips Given Awards

The National Broadcasting
Company and the Jewish The-
ological Seminary of America
will receive the annual awards
of the National Council on
Jewish Audio-Visual Materials
for their presentation of the
Eternal Light program, at a
luncheon May 16 at the Plaza
Hotel, New York, it was an-
nounced by Isaac Toubin, direc-

for of the American Association
for Jewish Education.
Other awards will go to a
16mm non-theatrical film pro-
ducer, to Keren Hayesod—Uni-
ted Israel Appeal, Jerusalem,
for the film, "A City Called
Eilat"; to Union of American
Hebrew Congregations for film-
strip, "The Baal Sham Toy: The
Teachings of Hasidim."

Honorable mention will be
given to United Jewish Appeal
for the film "The UJA Story'; to
the National Film Board Of
Canada for the film, "Willie
Catches On; to Anti-Defamation
League of Bnai Brith for "The
Anatomy of Nazism"; to Jewish
Community Federation of Cleve-
land for filmstrip, "The Adven-
tures of Danny Dollar."

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