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June 21, 1963 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1963-06-21

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Graduation 1963


Incorporating the Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with iSSUE' of July 20, 1951
Member American Association of English—Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press Associations, National
Editorial. Association.
Published every Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co.. 17100 West Seven Mile Roan, Detroit 35,
VE 8-9364. Subscription $6 a year. Foreign $7.
Second Class Postage Paid At Detroit, Michigan


Editor and Publisher

Business Manager


Advertising Manager


City Editor

Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the thirtieth day of Siwan, the following Scriptural selections will be read
in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Num. 16:1-18:32, 28:9-15. Prophetical portion, Isaiah 66:1-24.

Licht benshen Friday, June 21. 7:52 p.m.

VOL. XLIII. No. 17

Page Four

June 21, 1963

Serious Challenges to 'Jews in Flight'

In his challenging address delivered
here at the annual meeting of the United
Hebrew Schools, Edwin Wolf II of Phila-
delphia implored his audience to under-
stand that 'American Jewry cannot sur-
vive unless there is created a cultural,
educational and spiritual force that is
the best in our tradition," In his evalua-
tion of existing conditions and of the pas-
sive attitude of our youth to even the
most recent tragic events in Jewish his-
tory. He made the point that the new
•- generation of Jews "knows Belsen and
-.:Auschwitz only by hearsay."
During the Eichmann trial in Jeru-
salem, it similarly was said that young--
Israelis were unaware of what had hap-
pened to the generation that preceded
them, and the trial of the arch-Nazi was
welcomed as a means of keeping alive
the memory of the holocaust.
The problem that was recognized in
Israel two years ago, and the similar per-
plexing situation in Jewish circles every-
where even now, only 18 years after the
defeat of Hitler and the Nazis, poses many
questions: If we agree that the memory
of the tragic years should be kept alive,
how is it to be done? If our emphasis
is to be on our traditions in our educa-
tional and cultural endeavors among
young and old — and there certainly
should be that emphasis—how are the
memories of the sad days to be retained
on a par with the good and the construc
tive days?
The very young will find it difficult
to understand the horrors that were im-
posed upon mankind. Yet, they be made
aware of them in the course of time. It
becomes a serious problem for educators
who prepare the curricula for our schools.
At what age is emphasis to be placed on
the era of Hitler? We are demanding
that German schools should not deflate
that period, that young Germans should
be told about the guilt of their fathers,
yet we find similar difficulty imparting
that knowledge to our own youth.
Under date of May 23. writing from
London for the New York Times about a
play that warns of the dangers of a rising
neo-Na7im T C. WorRlev stated: •

Robert Muller, a tough young drama critic
until he retired last year, offered his first
play tonight at the Saville Theater. It is
"Night Conspirators," a political melodrama
about Mr. Muller's native country, Germany.
He wants to persuade us that there is an
ever-present danger of the rise of neo-Nazism,

and that if the chance came, the men of
influence there would seize it.
The mechanism of his plot is ingenious.
He imagines that Hitler never died in that
bunker but was smuggled out and hidden. His
return to Germany 18 years later is arranged
by a foreign embassy, and five representative
and like-minded men of influence, still dream-
ing the nationalist dream, are faced with their
This gives the dramatist a chance to ex-
plore the past and present political attitudes
of the church, industry, the army, the poli-
ticians and the lawyers.
Their first impulsive decision, to shoot
Hitler out of hand, is modified as the debate
goes on. Eventually they find themselves
planning an immediate seizure of power with
their Fuhrer, now partly paralyzed, as a use-
ful legend in the background.
Mr. Muller's thesis, of course, is disturb-
ing. But the urgency of the questions he raises
does not quite translate itself into dramatic
There are one or two well-contrived
scenes, but far too much of the play resolves
itself into accusation and counteraccusation.
These are at once too shallow for the politically
sophisticated and too academic for the
politically indifferent.
This is likely to leave both parties unsatis-
fied, especially as all the characters are only
abstract conceptions that give the excellent
cast limited opportunities.

'Great Jewish Short Stories'

Tragedies and joys, hopes and occasional despair will be
found in the writings of Jewish story-tellers. The universality
and the vast variety of Jewish experiences are mirrored in the
many Jewish stories available from the rich storehouse of
narratives by Jews.
In "Great Jewish Short Stories," collected and edited by
Saul Bellow, published by Dell Books (750 3rd, NY17), we find
the best available narratives, a couple that are very ancient,
some dating back to the early days of Hassidism, and primarily
selections from modern Jewish writers.
In an enlightening introduction to this paperback, Bellow,
The full text of the London corres-
pondent's review and comments on the one of the best known literary critics, winner of many awards
Muller play is given here because it, too, for his novels and other works, indicates that in some cases
raises the question of approach to the he had chosen "the best translation rather than the best story
issues related to the possible re-emerg- of a given author," adding that "there is no way to disguise
ence of another Hitlerite danger.
my own irreverence or my Jewish obstinacy." He declares: "A
Serious concern exists over the atti- story should be interesting, highly interesting, as interesting as
tudes of our youth to their people's needs. possible—inexplicably absorbing. There can be no other justifi-
The Jewish college-bred men and women cation of any piece of fiction."
are said to be escaping from their Jewish-
collection proves his points. He started with two selections
ness. They are said to be "in flight" from from His
Tubit, the Apocryphal work, and proceeded with a Hassidic .
obligations to Jewry. Is it possible that story of Reb Nachman of Bratzlay. Then come the works of
their desire to forget the past, even the Sholem Aleichem, Martin Buber, Heinrich Heine, Isaac Loeb
most immediate past, is partly respon- Peretz, Samuel Joseph Agnon, Stefan Zweig, Joseph Opatoshu,
sible for it? Can it be that we have failed Israel Joshua Singer, Isaac Babel, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jacob
to reach them because we have not Picard, Albert Halper, Bernard Malainud, Leo Litwak, Isaac
Rosenfeld, Philip Roth, Grace Paley and Isaiah Spiegel.
learned how to approach them?
Neo-Nazism is dangerous to the entire
As an indication of the significant choices of stories in-
world, but it would be especially damag- cluded in this volume, it is only necessary to indicate that
Peretz is represented by four—Bontsha the Silent, The Golem,
ing to Jews.
Educators face serious problems Cabbalists and If Not Higher.
in preparing proper curricula. Communal
Assessing the function of the story in Jewish history, Bellow
leaders, too, will have to be better pre- states: "The story testifies to the worth, the significance of an
pared to face the issues of the future— individual. For a short while all the strength and all the radiance
especially that of retaining the Jewish of the world are brought to bear upon a few human figures. In
loyalties of our youth. The admonitions defeat, a story contains the hope of vindication, of justice. The
is able to make others accept his version of things.
related to these challenges can not and story-teller
And in the stories of the Jewish tradition the world, and even the
must not be taken lightly.
universe, have a human meaning. Indeed, the Jewish imagination
has sometimes been found guilty of overhumanizing everything,
of making too much of a case for us, for mankind, and of
investing externals with too many meanings. To certain writers,
Christianity itself has appeared to be an invention of Jewish
of Nazism only 18 years after our armies storytellers whose purpose has been to obtain victory for the
destroyed the Hitler menace.
weak and the few over the strong and numerous."
Perhaps there is less to fear from the
To illustrate the curious mixture of laughter and trembling
lunatic fringe than we imagine. At a time in Jewish Humor, Bellow recounts another tale:
when the American people overwhelm-
Three Jews were boasting of their rabbis, and one said,
ingly condemns racism in the South, in `My rabbi's faith is so great and he fears the Lord so much that
an era in which the Nazi ideas and anti- he trembles day and night, and he has to be belted into his
Semitism are held in contempt, it becomes bed at night with straps so that he doesn't fall out.' The second
futile for a bigot to arise in our midst said, 'Yes, you have a marvelous rabbi, but he really can't be
to urge the isolation and the eventual compared to my rabbi. Mine is so holy and so just that he
destruction of the Jewish people and the makes God tremble. God is afraid of displeasing him. And if
the world has not been going so well lately, you can figure it
Negro race in this country.
for yourselves. God is trembling.' The third Jew said, 'Your
Another ugly chapter was introduced out
rabbis are both great men. No doubt about it. But my rabbi
by the lunatic fringe in our community, passed through both stages. For a long time he trembled, too,
but the people from and around Farm- and in the second stage, he made God tremble. But then he
ington—nearly all of them non-Jews- thought it over very carefully and finally he said to God,
indicated last week that they do not tol- `Look—why should we both tremble?'
erate indecencies and anti-American pro-
In his introduction, Bellow takes issue with Meyer Levin,
grams. By their expressions of contempt, and objects to the ''curious surrender to xenophobia."
those who shouted down the Rockwell
His selection indicates his having delved into the old and
stormtroopers also indicated that they are the new sources. He has selected a story by a Detroiter, Leo
aware that "eternal vigilance is the price Litwak, the son of the Isaac Litwaks. He appreciates Sholem
of liberty" and that they will practice it Aleichem and the Hassidism and knows the works of the Singers.
to prevent Hitlerites from raising their His "Great Jewish Short Stories" is a splendid anthology of
Jewish narratives.
ugly heads in our midst.

No Room for Ugly Bigotry in Our Land

Admittedly, the only way to deal with
bigots and rabble rousers is to give them
the "quarantine treatment." But when
the visit of leaders of an avowedly Nazi
"American" party is publicized and ad-
vertised and when a defender of Hitler-
ism and Nasserism utters his threats of
destruction of large groups of Ameri
cans, it is understandable both how a
crowd can be gathered to hear them and
survivors from the Hitler extermination
camps can express their resentment.
That is how the appearance of the
American Nazis here caused the trigger-
ing of condemnations, attacks, stone-
It all started, in Farmington, when a
survivor from the Nazi holocaust shouted
, I lost four
at Rockwell: "You
children in the Nazi ovens " And when
a non-Jew, standing nearby, joined in by
shouting: "He knows what he's talking
about . . ." he, too, expressed the resent-
ment that comes naturally from an Amer-
ican who can not tolerate the resurgence

Saul Bellow's Collection:

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