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September 20, 1963 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1963-09-20

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THE JEWISH NEWS

Incorporating the Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with issue of July 20, 1961

Member American Association of English—Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press Association, 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 a year. Foreign $7.
Second Class Postage Paid At Detroit, Michigan

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor and Publisher

CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ SIDNEY SHMARAK HARVEY ZUCKERBERG

Business Manager

Advertising Manager

City Editor

Sabbath Scriptural Selections

This Sababth, the third day of Tishri, 5724, Shabbat Shuvas (Haazinu), the following scrip-
tural selections will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Deut. 32:1-52. Prophetical portions, Hosea 14:2-10, Micah 7:18-20,
Joel 2:15-27.

Fast of Gedaliah will be observed Sunday

Licht Benshen, Friday, Sept. 20, 6:16 p.m.

VOL. XLIV. No. 4

Page Four

September 20, 1963

New Year Hope for a Peaceful World

Our synagogues will be packed this
Thursday and Friday and again on the
Saturday of the coming week—for the
Holy Days that reawaken in all of us a
loyalty to our faith and a desire to be
associated with our people in a common
heritage.
We gather in our houses of worship
at a time when there is much tension in
the world, when peace is far from assured
and when, to our great sorrow, the inhu-
manity of man to man has been mani-
fested in our own land.
Our Holy Days emphasize the univer-
salism in human relations. Rosh Hashanah
and Yom Kippur, and the faith we teach
and the codes of decency we propagate
through our traditions, are not meant for
ourselves alone but for all who share
with us the ethical principles we have
passed on to mankind.
That is why, during the sacred hours
of our worship on the Holy Days, we give
thought to the downtrodden, to the dis-
possessed, to the men, women and chil-
dren who seek equality with us in the
struggle for justice.
This is a time to give thought to the
outrages that are disgracing the good
name of our land in our own South.
Conditions have been created which have
made it possible for demented people to
resort to murder in their deluded claims
of "w hit e supremacy." Neighbor has
turned against neighbor, and the horrors
that were perpetrated in Alabama pass
on the blame for bestiality to all of us.
What has happened in Birmingham

must serve as a guiding lesson to the
entire nation never to permit anything of
the sort to recur. It must serve as an
admonition to all of us to remove the
injustices which have led to the current
crimes.
This is a major human issue that
demands our primary consideration as
we examine the failings of humankind.
If we should ignore it, we will be doomed
morally and the next generation of
Americans will be burdened with added
guilt. By accepting responsibility we
make it possible for genuine atonement
to lead to the correction of existing evils.
There are other problems that con-
front us as we welcome another year on
our calendar. There are many interna-
tional conflicts, the East-West struggle is
far from solved, the dangers to Israel,. to
Jews behind the Iron Curtain and in
Moslem countries are far from abated.
When turning to our prayers during
these sacred days, our thinking will not
be limited to ourselves and our families.
Our hopes for better days, for an enforce-
ment of human values among all mankind
will embrace all peoples, of all faiths, of
all colors.
May this be the beginning of an era
of good will and of genuine kindness
among all peoples. The world has much
to offer to all, and there is never an
excuse for bigotry and inhumanity, no
matter what the provocations.
Indeed, may the New Year 5724 in-
augurate an era of peace and genuine
brotherhood for all mankind.

How Would We Fare Without the Bar Mitzvah

Is the Bar Mitzvah ceremony essen- our youth give up their Jewish studies.
tial? A British Jewish notable believes Too often, after Bar and Bat Mitzvah
that it is not, that it is vastly more im- many of our youth, who had studied some
portant to emphasize learning and that Hebrew, are unable to read even the
he would not be a bit concerned if the elementary words in the language and
Bar Mitzvah observance were dropped are unable to follow the prayers in the
prayerbook.
altogether.
The Bar Mitzvah ceremony has be-
Since this viewpoint was uttered by
an acknowledged Orthodox leader, it de- come sort of a link between Jewry and
our youth. It has linked the parents to
servies serious consideration.
According to a report in the London what had become for many of them a
Jewish Chronicle, the Dayan, Dr. I. Grun- forgotten tradition. - Bar Mitzvah, even
feld, said that it is necessary to combine with the lavish entertainment that accom-
Jewish learning with secular learning; panies it, has been the cementing factor
that to be a Jew means "to serve" and to that has kept many of our youth in our
be part of the general humanitarian serv- ranks. It is saddening to admit it, but it
ice — that that is what is meant to be is true. There might be a calamity in our
the chosen people. On the question of ranks, except for the handful of the very
dedicated, if the Bar Mitzvah ceremony
Bar Mitzvahs he stated:
were abandoned.
"I would not mind if barmitzvahs were

stopped altogether, as long as the boys car-
ried on their learning of Judaism and as long
as the girls learned to keep the mitzvot of
the home.
"We are not interested in celebrations or
in what clothes are worn on such occasions.
That is childishness. We are interested to
know that girls know how to be good Jewish
mothers and teach their children. Women are
the center of Jewish education, Jewish life
and family life."

One wonders what would be the result
if the Dayan's ideas were put into effect.
He developed a basic principle in Jewish
tradition and he has exposed the fallacies
of a ceremony that could be considered
totally unnecessary — if our youth really
were to be trained with a knowledge of
their past and present and the aspira-
tions for the future.
Would, however, the abandonment of
the Bar Mitzvah be pracsmatic? Our con-
cern at present is that after Bar Mitzvah

Most-Translated Book

UNESCO's annual bibliography of
translations, released at the United Na-
tions, once again shows the Bible as the
most-translated book.
The "Index Translationum" reveals
that in 1961, the year of the latest compil-
ation, there were 246 translations of the
Bible, including a number of remote
languages.
In four African countries the Bible
was the only book to be translated that
year
This is how the Jewish heritage is
being passed on to many nations, in many
tongues.
How much more should it be treas-
ured by our people in its original — in
the Hebrew text!

Ben Shahn's Artistic Volume
Delineates the Aleph Beth

"The Alphabet of Creation," a legend taken from the Zohar,
produced with drawings by Ben Shahn by Pantheon Books, a
Random House division (22 E. 51st, NY22), is a truly fascinating
short book.
Its impressive typography, designed by Joseph Blumenthal;
the imaginative drawings by Ben Shahn; the adaptation of the
legend from "The Jewish Anthology" edited by Edmond Fleg
and translated by Maurice Samuel (first published by Behrman
House)—these and many other factors make this story from the
Zohar (The Book of Splendor, the mystical work of Moses de
Leon, 14th century Spanish-Jewish scholar) a tale that will
inspire constant re-reading.
Indeed, there is magic in this story about the 22 letters in
the Hebrew alphabet which, "26 centuries before the creation of
the world . . . descended from the crown of God whereon they
were engraved with a pen of flaming fire . . . and one after
another spoke and entreated, each one, that the world would be
created through him."
The appeals started with the last letter of the alphabet,
the Tav, whose claim was that it stands for Torah. It was re-
jected because "in the days to come I shall place thee as a sign
of death upon the foreheads-of men."
Thereupon the Shin appeared, pleading that it stands for
Shaddai. It is also the letter for Sheker, falsehood, and was rejected.
Because Resh stands for Ra, it was rejected. Koph was
turned down because, while it is the initial for Kodesh, holy, it
is also that of Kelalah, curse. Similarly rejected were the letters
Zadhe, with the double meanings of Zaddik, Righteous One, and
Zarot, misfortunes of Israel; Pe, which stands both for Podeh,
Redeemer, the Peshah, transgression; Ayin, Anaway, humility,
and Aerwah, immorality.
Thus the Hebrew alphabet read backwards is probed and
other letters are turned down by the Almighty; Mem, meaning
Melek, king, as well as Mehumah, confusion; Lamed, celestial
tables, but they were shattered by Moses; Khaph, Kisseh, Kabod
and Keter—honor and crown of the Lord—but God said: "I will
smite together my hands, Khaph, in despair over the misfortunes
of Israel."
Yodh means Yah, God, but also Yezer ha-Ra, evil inclination;
Teth, Tov, good, but "the truly good is not in this world . . ."
Heth, Hanun, gracious one, also stands for Hattat, sin; Zayin
begins the verse that ordained the Sabbath, but it also means
weapon, the image of war; Vav and Heh entered together and
the Lord ruled they were "too exalted for use in the affairs of
the world"; Daled, Dabar, Divine Word, and Din, justice, was
turned down because "under a law of justice without love, the
world would have fallen to ruin."
Gimel, Gadol, great, is also Gemul—retribution.
Then came Beth, and because it is the word for Baruch,
blessed, and Bereshith, Beginning, when God created the
Heaven and the earth, its petition was granted.
Meanwhile Aleph remained in his place, and God asked why
it did not present itself. Aleph replied: "Master of the Universe!
Seeing that all these letters have presented themselves before
Thee uselessly, why should I present myself also? And then, since
I have seen Thee accord to the letter Beth this precious honor,
I would not ask the Heavenly King to reclaim that which He has
given to one of His servants."
"The Lord, blessed be He, replied, '0 Aleph, Aleph! Even
though I have chosen the letter Beth to help Me in the creation
of the world, you too shall be honored.' And God thereupon re-
warded Aleph for her modesty by giving her first place in the
Decalogue."
The text, the 46 pictures, the 24 drawings, combine to make
"The Alphabet of Creation" a noteworthy book. The first edition
of this notable work, as conceived by Ben Shahn, was issued in
a limited edition of 550 copies and the current edition is an offset
reproduction.
Ben Shahn, who was born in Russia in 1898, was commis-
sioned by five governments to make murals for them. Leading
American museums have displayed his paintings. He has been
accorded many honors and he has served as Charles Eliot Norton
Professor at Harvard in 1956-57.

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