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October 04, 1963 - Image 2

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Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1963-10-04

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Friday, October 4, 1963 — THE DETROIT JEW ISH NEWS -- 2

Purely Commentary

Recent Deaths—Serious Losses in Passing

of Herman Pekarsky, Waldman and Eli Almi

The passing of a number of prominent community figures
leaves us in mourning over the losses American Jewry has
sustained.
For Detroiters, the death within a period of less than a month
of two former social service directors — Dr. Morris D. Waldman
and Herman Pekarsky — was especially saddening.
Waldman was the creator of the Jewish Welfare Federation.
He was a controversial figure, yet his devotion to Jewish causes
was unquestioned. He was a powerful and creative leader.
Pekarsky's association with our community left indelible marks
here. He created many friendships and he continued them during
the years of his services in New Jersey. His anxiety to make Jews
well informed recently was reflected in his devoted efforts in
behalf of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. He will be greatly
missed in national American Jewish circles.
Saddening also is the realization that we shall no longer have
the benefit of the philosophical writings of Eli Almi. He was one
of the most creative of the Yiddish writers, and he possessed
marked ability to produce indelible works in Hebrew and in
English. An authority on Spinoza and other philosophers, his many
books elevated him to high status in literary circles.
His real name was Almi Eliash Sheps, and much of his
writing also was under the names of Eliash and Sheps. He was
as expert on Buddha and Buddhism as he was on Zionism, Jewish
history and Hebraic culture.
At the age of 8 he began to write poetry, and at 18 he
did, reportorial work for the Warsaw Moment, then one of the
leading Jewish newspapers in the world.
He commenced his journalistic career in 1913, when he
arrived in this country, on the Yiddish Tageblatt and wrote also
for the Dos Yiddishe Folk and the Kempfer. He was associated
with many literary, sociological and philosophic movements.
Blessed be the memory of the righteous.

Serious Study of Extent of Intermarriage

The 1963 American Jewish Year Book, just issued by the
Jewish Publication Society of America, contains an important
study of intermarriage trends. In the initial essay in this volume,
"Studies of Jewish Intermarriage in the United States," Erich
Rosenthal, associate professor, department of anthropology-sociol-
ogy, Queens College of the City University of New York, evaluates
facts and figures gathered in Greater Washington and in Iowa.
Especially noteworthy is his conclusion: "That intermarriage
usually spells the end of belonging to the Jewish group is demon-
strated by the fact that in at least 70 per cent of the mixed families
in Greater Washington the children were not identified with the
Jewish group. This finding, which repeats earlier European experi-
ences, takes on special significance if viewed against the fact
that the fertility of the Jewish population of the United States is
barely sufficient to maintain its present size. In the absence of
large-scale immigration, it may well be that intermarriage is going
to be of ever increasing significance in the future demographic
balance of the Jewish population in the United States."
This is not an exaggeration. Those who have watched develop-
ments in European countries, notably the Scandinavian, know
that mixed marriages result in the eventual disappearance of those
who intermingle with non-Jews through marriages.
This has been in evidence also in Germany, where the rate
of intermarriage has increased rapidly even within the remaining
small community that has either survived the holocaust or has
gathered some East Europeans who now form part of the 30,000-
odd remaining Jews there.
In its report on the status of Jew_s in Germany today ("Home-
stead in Accursed Land?"), the German periodical, Spiegel,
stated:
"In only one-third of the marriages being consummated today
by Jews in the Federal Republic are both partners Jewish. The
scarcity of eligible women, (there are 2300 women between the
ages of 16 and 40 as against 2600 men in the same age group)
forces the Jewish young men either to look for a partner outside
Germany or to marry a Christian partner, which usually leads to
baptism in the next generation."
Prof. Rosenthal's study in the American Jewish Year Book
is replete with tabulated sets of figures which include this statisti-
cal table:
JEWISH MARRIAGES, FIRST AND OTHER, IOWA, 1953-59
All marriages First marriages Other marriages
No. Per cent No. Per cent No. Per cent
In-marriages
391
. 57.8
289
63.7
102
45.9
Intermarriages 285
42.2
165
36.3
120
54.1
All Jewish
marriages 676
100.00 454
100.00 222
100.00
Another tabulated set of figures shows that intermarriages
in cities numbering 10,000 or more the percentage of intermar-
riages was 34.2 while in those with populations of 2,500-9,999 it
rose to 64.1 per cent and in rural areas to 67.0 per cent.
The implications of intermarriages for group cohesion are
evaluated by Dr. Rosenthal as follows:
"The analysis of the Washington Data has revealed that the
intermarriage rate rises from about 1 per cent among the first
generation—the foreign born immigrants—to 10.2 per cent
for the native-born of foreign parentage and to 17.9 per cent
for the native-born of native parentage (third and subsequent
generations). The considerable differentials that were ob-
served in the intermarriage rates among the first, second, and
third generations have a threefold significance:
"1. They show that the Jewish community of the United
States is subject to the processes of assimilation and
amalgamation in such a manner that the ethnic and
religious bonds that welded the immigrant generation
into a highly organized community are becoming pro-
gressively weaker.
They cast doubt on the doctrine of the persistence of
religious endogamy in American life and on the idea
of the return of the third generation.
"3. They reveal that a total intermarriage rate is not very
meaningful. Since intermarriage is virtually completely
absent among the first-generation immigrants, the gross
rate hides the process of assimilation that is at work
among, subsequent generations.
"The studies presented here reveal the effect of the size

Study of Intermarriage
in D. C. and in Iowa
Shows Disturbing Trends

By Philip
Slomovitz

of the Jewish community upon the rate of intermarriage. Again,
the gross intermarriage rate conceals the fact that with decreas-
ing size of the Jewish community the level of intermarriage is
likely to increase. For the Jewish community of the size found
in Greater Washington (about 80,000 persons), the intermar-
riage rate was 13.1 per cent. However, the intermarriage rate
of immigrants from larger communities, particularly from the
one centered in and around New York City, was significantly
lower. The analysis of the marriage-formation data for Iowa
also showed that with decreasing size of the Jewish community
the intermarriage rate increases sharply."
Because the experiences in Greater Washington and in Iowa
undoubtedly are matched by many other communities in this coun-
try, the new study is of great value. If the problem is to be faced
properly, the facts must be known. The new, very rich in contents,
American Jewish Year Book thus makes a very great contribution
to Jewish sociological and demographic studies.

Sukkot Quiz

Why is it customary to
adorn the Sukkah with vari-
ous sorts of decoration?
The basis of this practice is
drawn from the Biblical state-
ment in the Song of Moses which
proclaimed "This is my G-d, I
will glorify him." (Exodus 15:2).
This is claimed by the rabbis in
the Talmud to mean that what-
ever commandment we perform
should be done in a dignified
and artistic way instead of being
crudely performed. Thus say the
rabbis, one should have a beau-
tiful Sukkah, as well as a beau-
tiful Ethrog, etc. on the Succoth
festival (Shabbos 133b). Some
have made it a practice to hang
up the seven fruits with which
the Holy Land has been blessed.
This has been considered by
some to be a symbol of the har-
vest which takes place in the
fall of the year. It is recorded
that, for some reason, the Maha-
ral of Prague did not look with
favor upon the practice of hang-
ing fruits in the Sukkah — per-
haps because it may have re-
sembled some pagan practice in
an ancient harvest festival.
* * *
Why do some hang figures
that resemble birds in the Suk-
kah?
This practice has been con-
sidered to be a symbol of the
prophecy of Isaiah who said:
"As birds hovering, so will the
Lord of Hosts protect Jeru-
salem." Hanging the birdlike
form is thus symbolic of the pro-
tection of the Almighty. Some
would make bird figures out of
egg shells with beautiful color-
ing to hang in the Sukkah, per-
haps because the egg is the
potential source of bird life and
we live in hopes for the poten-
tial deliverance of our people to
become a reality as the bird
comes from its egg.

* * *

Why is a special prayer re-
cited upon entering the Suk-
kah each time which spells out
an invitation to seven Biblical
guests to join us, i.e., Abra-
ham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph,
Moses, Aaron, David?

This seems to be a practice
originated in the Kabbalah.
Some claim that it is a general
reference to the call for hospi-
tality on the part of each Jew
on every holiday. These seven
were known for their hospitality
and thus their spirits are in-
vited to join with us as we
practice this Mitzvah of inviting
guests. Others claim that since
Succoth is the festival on which
prayers for rain are offered,
these seven are invited into the
Sukkah to provide us at least
with the virtues of a good ances-
tor so that the Almighty will
send plentiful rain and bestow
upon his people the blessing of
prosperity.

`Histadrut Month'

NEW YORK, (JTA)—Mayor
Robert F. Wagner proclaimed
the month of October as "His-
tadrut Month" in New York
City to commemorate the
founding 40 years ago of the
Israel Histadrut Campaign.

r

Israel Declares
State of Emergency
in Housing Immigrants
JERUSALEM, (JTA) — The
Israel government has declared
a state of emergency in the
building and allocation of immi-
grant housing in view of the
recent increase in immigration,
a spokesman for the Ministry of
Housing announced.
The spokesman said that Hous-
ing Minister Josef Almogi has
ordered the establishment of re-
gional committees to survey the
possibilities of diverting, for
the use of immigrants, public
housing now under construction
or any other available housing.

N

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Boris Smolar's

'Between You
... and Me'

(Copyright, 1963,
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Inc.)

Jews in Divonne

Divonne-les-Bains is a small township in France situated
on the French-Swiss border . . . It has a native population of
several hundred families, none of them Jewish . . . Nevertheless
you hear plenty of Yiddish spoken on the main street, which
takes less than five minutes to walk from one end to the other .. .
The township is picturesque like scenery on the stage in a play
showing a small town square . . . Here is the bakery and here is
the butcher shop; here is the typical small town French cafe
house, and here is the grocery store; here is the druggist, and
here is the wine store without which no French township exists
. .. Here is the cobbler and here is the small sign of the tailor
. . . And here is the bookstore where you can get on the same
day all the French newspapers published in Paris, all the Euro-
pean editions of the American daily newspapers, and—believe it
or not—all the Yiddish daily newspapers appearing in Paris
. . . The remarkable thing is that in Paris itself you cannot get
these Yiddish newspapers on the stands, except • in certain
sections of the city . . . Here, in this small town with a tiny
population of Frenchmen for generations, you see them displayed
prominently on the stand in the bookstore side by side with
Le Monde, Figaro and other leading French newspapers which
have a world reputation . . . Who buys them? . . . The very
same people whom you hear speaking Yiddish—and a very good
Yiddish—on the street . . . Who are these Yiddish-speaking
people in this small and very beautiful French township? . . . They
are Nazi victims sent here at the expense of the West German
Government to recuperate from shattered nerves . . . They were
either in Nazi concentration camps or worked as slave laborers in
Nazi enterprises . . . Although so many years have passed since
they were liberated, their nerves are still shattered from the
experiences which they had undergone . . . Most of them still see
nightmares in their dreams, or cannot sleep at all . . . The mineral
baths in the little town of Divonne are known for their cure of
people whose nerves are wrecked . . . And the West German
Government—as part of its compensation payments to Nazi
victims—sends these Nazi victims here from various countries in
Europe to help bring them back to normal life .. . Their room
and board and their cure at the municipal bath are paid by the
West German Consulate in Paris for a period of three months,
providing they have undergone first an examination by a German
physician in the German consulates in the countries where they
now reside.

Two Jewish Worlds

Another category of Jews seen in this small French town
consists of wealthy American Jews . . . However, they are not
Nazi victims and do not speak Yiddish in the street, even though
some of them may buy a Yiddish newspaper and secretly read
it in their hotel rooms . . . They are here not for the purpose of
curing their nerves, but because of the casino located in this
border town . . . The roulette tables at the casino here make
Divonne as famous as the town's mineral baths . . . Today the
casino in Divonne is considered the largest in Europe, next to
the casino in Monte Carlo . . . Because of its geographic location,
the casino attracts visitors from all parts of France and Switzer-
land, including many Americans from Paris, Geneva and other
cities . . . They come here in their private cars and in special
autobusses and crowd the roulette tables winning and losing—
mostly losing—considerable sums of money . . . A group of
American Jewish investors took over control of the casino last
year and also bought the two largest and most luxurious hotels
in Divonne, which are the most expensive . . . Naturally, the
Jewish victims of the Nazi barbarities, who come here for a cure,
are not seen in either of these hotels or in the casino. . . They
reside in the cheaper hotels reserved for them by the German
consulates in their respective countries . . . Most of them now
live permanently in France and in Belgium and speak a good
French . . . However, they cling to Yiddish and consider the rich
American Jewish tourists as Jews from a different world . . . They
are not envious of the latter—in fact many of them have adjusted
themselves economically well in the countries where they live—
but they cannot help themselves thinking that, while they are
here for health reasons, the American Jews come here for mere
enjoyment at the casino.

Source of Income

The small native population of Divonne which had never seen
Jews until the last two years, is highly satisfied with both
categories of its Jewish guests . . . Both are a source of income
for the local residents . . . In no time, a few of the visiting Jews
will probably discover that it may pay for them to remain in
Divonne forever, as permanent residents, since the town has a
good economic future . . . A small Jewish community may thus
perhaps be born soon in a place which has never had Jews before.

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