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September 13, 1963 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1963-09-13

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Taking Stock on
Jewish Position

Again we take stock, as
we welcothe the New Year
5724, on our accomplish-
ments as well as on our
It is equally important
for us to take into account
the failures, in order that
our accomplishments may
be vastly greater in the
years ahead.
We always make some
progress in the advance-
ment of our communal pro-
grams. Our schools are func-
tioning, the relief agencies
are fulfilling their duties,
our social services are
among the most effective in
the land.
Indeed, even when we
fall short of our goals in
fund-raising we neverthe-
less raise vast sums to carry
on our major tasks.
Yet, we are not succeeding
so well culturally, our youth
often becomes estranged
from us, leadership qualities
have become so standard-
ized and very seldom are
there new high marks in
inspirational planning for
the creation of a new ideal-
ism that is so vitally needed
in American Jewry.
* * *
We have had to appeal
for so many generations
philanthropically in support
of Jewish causes that in
our time, when the demo-
cratic ideal has resulted in
a reduction of the negative
aspects of Jewish life stem-
ming from anti-Semitism,
many of our people are at a
loss and feel leaderless in
an era of new threats to
Jewry's position. It was less
difficult to appeal to Jewish
devotionalism when the
calls to duty were on the
basis of threats to our ex-
istence. Now, however, the
major challenge is whether
we can do as well in free-
dom as our people did when
the defense was against
Are we weaker in liberty
than we were under ghet-
toism? Are we subjected to
greater dangers that stem
from assimilation now that
we are in a position to live
nobly as Jews than we were
_ when our ancestors were
ghettoized and terrorized?
This is the real challenge
of the hour and undoubted-
ly the most serious issue
for Jewry in 5724.
* *
There has been a search
for an answer to this ques-
tion for many years, and it
can not be provided in a
brief editorial comment.
But a greater effort for such
an answer must be demand-
ed of ourselves.
Many movements in
American Jewish life will
inevitably be branded as
complete failures unless the
youth will assume respon-
sibility, unless the children
of the leaders of the past
will accept responsibility
where parents have left off,
and unless the children
will do much better than
the parents did in most in-
stances. Let this be recog-
nized as the major duty to
be fulfilled by us in the year
and in the years to come.
This is the challenge of


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 Road, Detroit 35, Mich., VE 8-9364. Subscription $6
year. Foreign $7.

Editor and Publisher

Business Manager

Advertising Manager


City Editor

Sabbath Scriptural Selections

This Sabbath, the twenty-fifth day of Elul, 5723, the following Scriptural selections will be read in our Synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Deut. 29:9-31:30; Prophetical portion, Isaiah 61:10-63:9.

Licht benshen, Friday, Sept. 13, 6:27 p.m.

Rosh Hashanah Scriptural Selections

Pentateuchal portions: First Day of Rosh Hashanah, Thursday, Gen. 21:1-34, Num. 29:1-16; Second Day of Rosh
Hashanah, Friday, Gen. 2:1-24, Num. 29:1-16.
Prophetical portions: Thursday, 1 Samuel 1:1-2:10. Friday, Jeremiah 31:2-20.

VOL. XLIV, No. 3

Page Four

September 13, 1963

Spread Knowledge...and Increase Our Strength

Periodically, we return to the discussion of what we consider to be our most vital need: to increase know-
ledge. Because we are a minority among the major groupings in America, we must know and understand
our position as Jews if we are to survive in the midst of majority influences, if our status as a cultural and
spiritual group is to be fully understood by our neighbors. Before we can hope for an understanding by our
fellow-men, we must understand ourselves.
One of the most famous Scriptural quotations is the one from Ecclesiastes: "He that increases knowledge
increases sorrow." If we were to permit this admonition that is applicable to all men and all cultures to deter
us from acquiring learning, we would indeed become so dulled that we would be ranked among the dumb an,i-
mals. That is why, having learned from Koheleth, we must turn to Proverbs where we get this encouragement
"A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength."
It is along the proverbial line that we seekknowledge and entertain the hope that our fellow-men will
acquire information about themselVes, their neighbors, their country.
So that our existence as a people, as a functioning community, may be sound and productive, so that
we may live a positive existence unselfishly, for the good and welfare of humanity, knowledge becomes the
major aspiration of a progressive folk.
In a world in turmoil, in an era in which all faiths and all nations are challenged by emerging threats
to their existence, it is especially urgent that knowledge should increase, that wherever and whenever pos-
sible there should be understanding of human values and needs.
In Jewish rinks especially there is great need for the spread of knowledge. An uninformed people
perpetuates ignorance, but an educated group seeks to increase learning. In a family where there is a desire
for knowledge, the children have the added impetus to acquire information.. Where there is no tradition for
knowledge the desire to acquire it vanishes.
We suffer the most in our status. as Jews because knowledge increases among us so slowly. Often a
non-Jew will rebuke his Jewish friend by telling him that he knows the Hebrew Scriptures better than those
who should boast of it as their heritage.
And because we do not cling to our heritage we frequently sink into an unforgiveable pit of ignorance
that reacts harmfully upon the entire community.
May there be an increased appreciation of the need to spread knowledge in the year we are now wel-
coming. May we realize that giving priority to educational movements is the most important duty for the year
to come. May we prove able to fill this task as we face and recognize our duties in another challenging year
which we welcome with blessings for Israel and all humanity.

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