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September 27, 1963 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1963-09-27

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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

Yom Kippur Scriptural Selections
Pentateuchal portions: Morning, Levit. 16:1-34, Num. 29:7-11; Afternoon, Levit. 18:1-30.
Prophetical portions: Morning, Isaiah 57:14-58:14; Afternoon, Jonah 1:1-4:11, Micah 7:18-20.
Sukkot Scriptural Selections
Pentateuchal portions: First and Second Days, Thursday and Friday, Levit. 22:26-23:44,
Num. 29:12-16.
Prophetical portions: Thursday, Zechariah 14:1-21; Friday, I Kings 8:2-21.

VOL. XLIV. No. 5

Page Four

September 27, 1963

Atonement-- By and For All Mankind

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning
of the Ten Day Period of Repentance. We
f ollow its observance with Shabbat
Shuvah, the Sabbath of Return and of
Repentance, and then we shall usher in
the holiest day of the year—Yom Kippur.
Once again emphasis will be on atone-
ment, and this year the need for atone-
ment is universal. There is so much that
mankind has to deplore, so much for
which there must be forgiveness!
While soul-searching ought to be an
obligation every day in the year, it is well
that there is at least one specific day on
which an entire people takes an account-
ing of itself and examines its conduct.
And because Yom Kippur has assumed a
universal aspect it is relevant to all man-
kind.

One of our eminent scholars, Dr. Mor-
ris Joseph, thus explained Yom Kippur's
true meaning: -

The Day of Atonement seeks to
complete and crown the work of this
season by finally reconciling the soul
with the Almighty. The rabbis say that
the All-Merciful requires but one thing
—the heart. Sincerity — this is the only
title to Divine love. God demands
nought else, but this at least He will
have. There are those who ascribe some
magical atoning power to the mere
utterance of prayerful words, however
insincere or unfelt. They have, they
imagine, but to say "I have sinned,"
without feeling the slightest pang of
sorrow in order to be forgiven straight-
away. Others pin their faith to the mere
fact of fasting. Others believe that The
Day of Atonement itself will strike out
their offenses from the Heavenly
records.
All such notions are wrong. In the
58th chapter of Isaiah, which appro-
priately forms one of the scriptural
lessons for Yom Kippur, we find them
emphatically condemned. The prophet
sternly rebukes those who think that
God can be pleased with mere fasting
without any serious attempt at self-
correction. In language as just as it is
eloquent, the prophet describes the true
fast, "Is not this the fast that I have
chosen? To loose the bonds of wicked-
ness, to undo the bands of the yoke and
to let the oppressed go free? Is it not
to deal thy bread to the hungry and
that thou bring the poor that are cast
out to thy house? When thou seest the
naked that thou cover him . . . Then
shalt thou call and the Lord shall
answer; thou shalt cry and He shall
say "Here I am."
The rabbis say "He who says I will
sin and repent" repentance is of no
avail. If thou hast sinned against thy
brother first go and reconcile thyself
to him for otherwise The Day of Atone-
ment cannot absolve thee.

Would that this could be said to the
nations of the world! We still live in- an
era of suspicion, and all peoples, like the
individuals, are first concerned with
themselves, and they think of the general
human welfare much later.
If, therefore, there could be an attain-
ment of an universality -- the reaching
of an accord first among individuals and
then, as a natural sequence, among

groups of people, the objective of Yom
Kippur would become attainable.
* * *
Yom Kippur, as a symbol of faith,
needs understanding. Without knowledge
of its deep meanings of its mere observ-
ance becomes valueless. There is much
that needs to be explained, especially to
our youth.
Since we also usher in, at this time,
a period for study, it is vital that our
festivals and Holy Days should be under-
stood, that the meaning of our observ-
ances should not be diluted.
Often, we hear negative notes about
a holy day because its values are under-
rated. Many, for example, are perplexed
by the Kol Nidre prayer. What really is
the meaning and the significance of Kol
Nidre?
A prayer or a melody? Both. It is

first a prayer, opening the Yam Kippur
service. The prayer is a simple one, ask-
ing that all vows and oaths made during
the year be absolved and forgiven. As
such it is in complete harmony with the
Yom Kippur service, with its general
, motif of seeking forgiveness for all sins.
The Talmud warned that this abso-
lution through the prayer of Kol Nidre
applies only to vows between man and
God. It does not apply in any way to an
obligation between man and man, which,
if broken, cannot be forgiven, ev62. on
Atonement Day, unless the wrong has
been righted.
Kol Nidre came into its special sig-
nificance in the days of the Spanish
persecutions of the Jews. Many were
forcibly converted to Christianity and
took vows to that faith and against their
own. But most of them could not change
the inward bent of their hearts by the
outward expression of their lips, and
they continued to practice Judaism in
secret. These Marranos as they were
called—would assemble especially on
Yom Kippur, in some concealed place,
to take advantage of the Kol Nidre
prayer to renounce their vows to their
new faith, and to ask God's forgiveness
for this sin. It was then that the prayer
took on a powerful, unforgettable
meaning in Jewish hearts. For the
whole life pattern of this generation of
Marranos—a pattern as brave as it was
horrible and dangerous — was com-
pressed into this short prayer. Indeed,
its very utterance sometimes proved
fatal, for spies of the dreaded Inquisi-
tion would often discover them at this
very service, and would turn them
over to the Auto-da-fe.
*
*
*

We need never fear the need to re-
turn to elementary explanations of our
prayers and the symbols of our faith.
What is most necessary is that our values
should not be misunderstood. When
understood, we can have faith that our
heritage will not be sacrificed to false
gods.
Yom Kippur is, therefore, more than
an occasion for atonement. It is a time
for self-examination. It is a time for re-
dedication. It is a time also for knowledge
— and it is a time for regret when we
either fail ourselves to acquire knowledge
or to pass it on to our children. May such
a spirit of atonement redound to the bene-
fit of all humanity.

Jakob Steinhardt's Graphic Art
Appears in Impressive Volume

.

Jakob Steinhardt is. one of the very Jewish artists in the
world. At 76, he continues to tower above many of his contem-
poraries. His works have been displayed in museums throughout
the world, and his impressive art will thus be perpetuated with
his name.
"The Graphic Art of Jakob Steinhardt," which has just
been issued by Thomas Yoseloff (11 E. 36th, NY16), with an
illuminating essay of appreciation by H. Gamzu, depicts the artist,
portrays his works, 120 of which are reproduced in this volume,
and all who have a sense of the artistic will treasure this work
as one of the very great collections of woodcuts.

This volume splendidly complements an earlier similar
book published by the Jewish Publication Society of America
—"The Woodcuts of Jakob Steinhardt," edited by Leon Kolb.

Published in large format, many of the reproduced paintings
in this new book are in full pages, and some of the pages contain
two or three of the great artist's works.
"By the choice of his themes Steinhardt is a Jewish artist,"
Gamzu states in his essay. He describes Steinhardt's career since
he came to Jerusalem, in 1933, and he comments that "although
the tragic events of World War II were responsible for uprooting
him, they also, paradoxically, played a large part in his rebirth

as an artist."
He qualifies this assertion by stating that Steinhardt "had
loved the Bible for many years, and the land of the Bible and
its prophets lived in his imagination."
Gamzu describes Stenihardt's work as "a variation on the

eternal theme: the human condition." He speaks of the artist as
"a man of strife and struggle, of longing, deep feeling, and great
understanding."
Born in Poland in 1887, Steinhardt's art interests began at
an early age. He was sent to a high school in Berlin at the age
of nine, began to write poetry, out of lonesomeness soon found
refuge in art museums and started to draw. His mother preserved
his drawings and the Posen art museum curator became enthusi-
astic over them. Famous painters—Max Lieberman, Wilhelm
Truebner, Lovis Corinth—praised them. Steinhardt's career began
in such glory.
He went to Paris in 1909 and met up with some difficulties.
He was drafted in the German army in the first world war and
on the Lithuanian battlefront he came in contact with small
Jewish communities. The diligent study of Holy Scriptures by
the Jews he had met left a strong impression upon him. He began
to portray the characters in Jewish life.
He married Minni Gumpert and settled down for a quiet

life. But his serenity was interrupted in 1933. "The Nazis came
to power, and the persecution of the Jews began. Jewish intel-
lectuals were arrested and thrown into prison or sent to con-
centration camps. One night an armed patrol of Nazi soldiers
broke into Steinhardt's apartment and took him away. They
interrogated him at great length and accused hini of having
disturbed with his wireless set a speech of the Fuehrer. For-
tunately, the officer who questioned him happened to be a
sculptor, and the artist's name was well known to him. He
gave orders for Steinhardt's immediate release and advised
him to leave Germany at once."

Thus his career began in Jerusalem where "he rediscovered
the Holy Land in all its grandeur and dramatic beauty." It was
a critical transformation, but it brought an enrichment and great
contributions to Jewish art, as the current book proves so effec-
tively.
The collection in this book depicts life in the shtetel, among
Old World Jews, in Jerusalem, among Bedouins.
There are Biblical interpretations and portraits of Biblical
characters, scenes of holiday observances in homes and the syna-
gogue.

"The Prophet" is a magnificent work of art. So is "The
Mourner." His "Jeremiah" leaves the reader glued to the page
on which the artist has portrayed his impressions of the great
Biblical character.

"The Flood," "The Last Day," "Hermit" and scores of other
Steinhardt reproductions are so powerful that the reader of this
book becomes aware at once that he has been introduced to a
great interpreter of his subjects.
"The Graphic Art of Jakob Steinhardt" is an extraordinary
work about an extraordinary man and his artistic creations.

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