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March 27, 1964 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1964-03-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Friday, March 27, 1 969 -- THE DETRO IT JEWISH N EWS --26

3 Jewish Vignettes at Passover in Korea


(Copyright, 1964, Jewish
Telegraphic Agency, Inc.)

Passover. especially this one,
brings back some memories. My
Passover in 1962 was not like
any other one before. Two hun-
dred Jewish servicemen were
assembled in the Retreat Cen-
ter, Seoul, Korea, to participate
in a seder thousands of miles
from home.
The snow was deep and the
air was frosty. Kosher meat had
been shipped in from the States
by the Army. Matzo and wine,
as well as canned chicken soup,
were sent by the National Jew-
ish Welfare Board. The then
JWB representative in Tokyo,
Miss Dorothy Brickman, braved
hard winter weather to be with
the boys in Korea. She came
loaded with camera, f ilm
and tape recording equipment.
Pictures and messages were
prepared for families back in
the States. Dorothy was as wel-
come that Passover as if she
were Elijah himself.

All names except those of
Chaplain Dicker and Miss
Brickman are fictional. The
situations discussed are real.
T h e Jewish chaplain i n
Seoul. Col. Harman Dicker,
made all the necessary arrange-
ments. He arranged for a ko-
sher kitchen: saw to it that
qualified chefs prepared the
seder. He even induced the
U .S . Ambassador, Samuel Ber-
ger, to recite the Haggadah, in
Hebrew and English..
Many of the men came from
camps where I did not serve.
Those from the north were my
parishioners, in a military way
I knew some slightly; sonic
well. They were, in many ways,
a typical cross-section of Amer-
ican Jews.
I will cite three examples of
young men whose presence with
me in Korea affected my think-
ing about Judaism and its cur-
rent needs.
Sergeant Myron Greenbaum
was a New Yorker. His father,
a tailor, came from Russia and
settled in Brooklyn in 1920.
Myron attended a yeshiva and
was educated in the Jewish
tradition. He was, to hear him
say it. less pious than his fath-
er. But what could he do?
Even in Korea Myron ab-
stained from non-kosher food.
He ate vegetables and cheese
when others feasted on steak.
Near his bunk, in a barracks
with no other Jews, he con-
structed a wooded ark in which
he placed a prayer book, a yar-
mulka and an old JWB minia-
ture Torah Schol. The ark was
opened each morning and each
evening for the respective serv-
ice. When the Jewish Chaplain
was unable to be present for
Friday night, Myron served as
lay leader, using his ingenuity
and his position to obtain passes
for other Jewish servicemen in
the area. He conducted the serv-
ices and, when necessary, pro-
vided refreshments out of his
own savings.
The other soldiers respected
Myron. They considered him a
bit unique and not a little ec-
centric. Most of them had never
seen a Jew before. But his ways
made them more conscious of
their own religious background.
If they had to meet a Jew,
Myron was their best bet.
* *
Pfc. Lennie Halber showed
me a photograph of his family.
His wife and two children re-
mained in Sunset Park while he
served in an isolated mountain
position somewhere in Korea.
At home, his father belonged,
to use his word, to the local
Conservative synagogue. Lennie

seldom attended services. His
Jewish education was minimal.
Back in Sunset Park he never
gave his Judaism much thought.
Lennie walked into my office
one afternoon with a picture of
a group of Jerusalem orphans,
ihe found in an Ohio English-
!' Jewish newspaper. I looked at
the picture as Lennie explained
his trip to my office. The Unit-
led States, he told me, is blessed
with so much. We hardly under-
stand poverty anymore. Even
Jews have been partialy im-
munized against compassionate
feelings. But if we, the Ameri-
can Jewish community, do not
come to the aid of our orphans
throughout the world, who will?
Are we not the last to be helped
by others? Jewish servicemen
donate large sums for Korean
relief and Army relief, why
can't we give some to our own
I was struck by his apparent
chauvinism, but it all made
sense. I had to agree. So Lennie
took up a collection. He worked
in the best tradition of any
fund-raiser. He p le a de d. He
threatened affliction of the con-
science. He used his charm and
his anger. And when it was all
over, the Jerusalem orphans
had $543.87.
* * *
Captain Elmer Short was a
good friend. We spent many an
evening at the Officers' Club
killing time and discussing any-
thing and everything. His fath-
er, a prosperous pharmacist,
was president of a Reform tem-
ple in a New England city.
Elmer had a fuzzy knowledge of


On the Air

This Week's Radio and
Television Programs

Time: 12:35 p.m. Sunday.
Station: WJR.
Feature: "A Holocaust Sur-
vivor Speaks"—a special inter-
view by Frank Tomlinson with
Dr. Leon Weliczker Wells, au-
thor of "The Janowska Road."
who served as witness at the
Nuremberg trials, the Eichmann
trial and the trials of the Nazis
in West Germany. Presented by
the Culture Commission of the
Jewish Community Council of
* * *
Time: 11:30 p.m. Sunday.
Station: WCAR.
Feature: Dr. Trude Weiss-
Rosmarin will discuss "Jewish
Education and Other American-
Jewish Concerns," with Joseph
Edelman, director of the Cul-
ture Commission.
Time: 9:15 a.m. Sunday.
Station: WJBK (radio and
television simultaneously).
Feature: Dr. Clarence Hil-
berry, president of Wayne State
University, and Rabbi Leon
Fram, both recipients of the
1964 annual American Jewish
Congress Amity Award, will
discuss "Community Leadership
and Responsibility," with Mrs.
Samuel Linden, chairman of the
Amity Award committee. Pre-
sented by the Culture Commis-
* * *
Time: 8:30 a.m. Sunday.
Station: WXYZ.
Feature: "Archaeology and
the Bible."


Judaism. His education in
things Jewish was, to put it
generously, highly inadequate.
At home he would, now and
then, attend the Temple Friday
evening services. Not much
more. At the University of Cali-
fornia, Elmer received the M.D.
degree and, upon graduation,
entered the Medical Corps.
It was a cold night. The snow
was deep. The road was
w frozen
over and we were listening to
a Jack Benny program on short
wave radio. Then it happened.
A Korean passenger train, on
its way from the border to
Seoul, was derailed near our
camp. The village nearest to the
accident had no hospital and no
physician. It had no telephone.
The message reached us at mid-
night. The accident occurred at
For 22 hours, without sleep
and without food, Dr. Short per-
formed his duties in sub-zero
weather. His operating room
was a peasant hut, without run-
ning water, without lights, with-
out heat. The mess sergeant,
a Catholic from Minnesota, kept
the coffee hot in an Army field
pot. The medics, two Spanish-
speaking boys from Nogales,
were on the scene at all times
assisting the doctor. Water was
delivered from the camp by
the only ambulance avilable.
And when that ambulance broke
down, the water came by Army
Seven Koreans died. Five
were evacuated to Seoul. Six-
teen were saved by quick and
modern surgery. The town coun-
cil had Dr. Short over for a
fish and rice dinner, the high-
est honor it could pay him. The
President of Korea came up
from Seoul to personally bestow
the Medal of Merit.
Dr. Short sent a donation to
his Reform temple, a symbol of
his gratitude for the quiet faith
and the deep courage his Juda-
ism implanted within him. He
was a man who loved the justice
and dealt in mercy and walked
humbly before all men.
* * *
Why do I, a Reform rabbi, re-
cal these vignettes? Because
they impressed me by their sim-
plicity. Because they taught me
some lessons. First, American
Jews are too obsessed by "den-
ominational" Judaism. We put
more emphasis on Orthodox,
Conservative and Reform than
we do on the all-important
Judaism. We should rather re-
member that Judaism is the
impetus, not a particular inter-
pretation of it.
Perhaps more significant to
me personally, these servicemen
fortified my own convictions.
Judaism to me was always more
than a set of laws or a corn-
b i n a t i on of commandments;
ore than a casual visit to a tem-
ple or a glib pronouncement
about social justice and the
prophetic mission. It was, and
is, a way of life; a complex of
ideas and philosophies, ex-
pressed in diverse deeds of rit-
ual and compassion. These sol-
diers, and many others, exoner-
ated my personal philosophy.
When the Commission on
Jewish Chaplaincy of the Na-
tional Jewish Welfare Board
asked me to serve as a chaplain
I had doubts about it. When I
arrived in Korea I still had
some. When I left Korea I real-
ized that the boys in uniform
taught me as much as I taught
them. Korea was a lonely place
to be. But the Jewish men never
failed to amaze me with their
dedication to our people and
our heritage.

Maccabiah Games Soccer
Tryouts Start May 10

Engagement Told

Eastern regional soccer try-
outs for the 1965 U.S. Macca-
biah Games Team will begin at
Randall's Island, New York, on
May 10, according to Jack Flam-
haft, soccer committee chairman
of the sponsoring U.S. Commit-
tee—Sports for Israel,
Candidates for the U.S. Mac-
cabiah soccer squad are re-
quested to contact Flamhaft, in
care of the U.S. Committee—
Sports for Israel, 147 W. 42nd
St.. New York 36.
The VII Maccabiah Games will
b19e 6h5.eld in Tel Aviv Aug. 22-31,

In 1961, the United States
was represented in 13 sports
and captured the Jay Myers
Memorial Trophy for winning


the greatest number of gold
Dr. and Mrs. Sol W. Lesnick

of Greenlawn Ave. announced
the engagement of their daugh-
ter Muriel Rochel to Harold
Margolis, son of Mr. and Mrs.
Hyman Margolis of Santa Rosa
Ave. at a recent cocktail party.
And His Orchestra
Miss Lesnick is a senior in
DI 1-1609
education at Michigan State
University. Her fiance is a grad-
uate of that university and is K.XX*;!7,77:+11K3iZEK:':i:WINigiZare?;:4
now studying at Kansas City
College of Osteopathy and i. . ,.,
The wedding is set for June




Two Key Appointments
Two prominent Jewish attor-
neys have been named to key
positions in the city government
here. Samuel A. Ladar has been
appointed to the San Francisco
Police Commission, and Rey-
nold H. Colvin has been named
to membership on the Board of

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