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May 15, 1964 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1964-05-15

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Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with issue of July 20, 1951

Member American Association of English—Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press Association, National Editorial
Published every Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co., 17100 West Seven Mile Road, Detroit 48235 Mich.,
VE 8-9364. Subscription $6 a year. Foreign $7.
Second Class Postage Paid at Detroit, Michigan


Editor and Publisher


Business Manager


Advertising Manager


City Editor

Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the :fifth day of Sivan, the following scriptural selections will be read in our
synagogues. •
Pentateuchal Portion: Num. 1:1-4:20. Prophetical portion: Hosea 2:1-22.

Licht Benshen, Friday, May 15, 7:27 p.m.

VOL. XLV. No. 12

Page Four

May 15, 1964

Shavuot: Israel's Indomitable Spirit

Tomorrow evening, Jewry will usher in
one of its most important festivals. Shavuot,
to be observed on Sunday and Monday, marks
the anniversary of the Giving of the Law to
Israel on Mount Sinai. It is also our Spring
Festival which has agricultural importance
in our history as the Hag Habikkurim, the
season of the ripening of the first fruit.
While the agricultural aspect is strictly
related to the Land of Israel, it has signifi-
cance for all of us in its emphasis on our
links with our past and with our kinsmen
wherever they may reside—and there is the
particular linkage with our Biblical past.
On this score there certainly exist dif-
ferences of opinion, relating to the nation-
hood of Israel. Nearly a century ago, the
father,,of Benjamin Disraeli, Isaac D'Israeli,
who took his son to the baptismal font,
argued that Jews were not a nation. He had
written, in the years when he devoted himself
to Jewish scholarship:

"The Jewish people are not a nation, for they
consist of many nations. They reflect the colors of
the spot they rest on. The people of Israel are
like water running through vast countries, tinged
in their course with all the varieties of the soil
in which they deposit themselves. Every native
Jew, as a political being, becomes distinct from
other Jews. The Hebrew adopts the hostilities and
alliances of the land where he was born. He calls
himself by the name of his country."

There is much truth in the assertion that
Jews absorb the cultures of the lands of
which they become citizens—and they do it
with devotion and with loyalty. But that has
not required abandonment of a parental
loyalty, of a heritage that binds them to an
historic past, of an inseparable kinship with
their ancestors and their brethren wherever
they may be.
Isaac D'Israeli's son, Benjamin, who be-
came famous as the prime minister of his
country and later as Lord Beaconsfield, may
have understood the glory of Israel better
than the father who had converted him and
his entire family to the faith that is dominant
in England. Benjamin Disraeli thus described
the status of the people from whom he had
"The vineyards of Israel have ceased to
exist, but the eternal law enjoins the chil-

dren of Israel still to celebrate the vintage.
A race that persists in celebrating their
vintage, although they have no fruits to
gather, will regain their vineyards. What
sublime inexorability in the law! But what
indomitable spirit in the people!"
How prophetic these lines are, having
been written more than seven decades before
Israel regained the vineyards! And how much
more powerful than his father's argument
that the sponge-element in Jewry which ab-
sorbs the cultures of the peoples among whom
we live means an abandonment of kinships
with the creators of our great spiritual values!
Shavuot does, indeed, recreate our inte-
rest in our past. It revives ancient glories,
even if they are today, more so even than
in the days of Isaac D'Israeli because Israel
as a state is a reality, the customs of a
sovereign nation with which we are linked
merely as kinsmen and not as fellow citizens.
But the traditions as they have come down
to us through the ages, the Biblical lore as
we have inherited it and as it is being shared
with us by all faiths, remain sacred. There is
a sanctity about history that can nit be de-
molished by political duties. Spiritual truths
must prevail if political ideals are to be based
on the highest ethical teachings of our sages.
While Shavuot retains this agricultural
aspect that is now emphasized and observed
only in Israel, with the sanctified memories
alone assigned to us, it is a festival that is
distinct in that it marks the birth of the
Torah, as the Zman Mattan Torahtenu; in the
symbolism represented in the Book of Ruth
read during Shavuot services; in the reaffirm-
ation of faith by Israel.
It is because of these special links with
our traditions that Shavuot has become - the
occasion for consecrations and confirmations,
for graduations from Jewish schools and the
commencements of new periods of study.
As a festival for the elders who can
thereby derive joy from their faith, and as
the noteworthy occasion for the children's
consecrations, Shavuot is one of the great
holidays on our calendar. It is as such that
we are about to commence its observance
with a renewal of faith and a rededication to
the highest ideals in our historic heritage.

Jewish Birth Rate and Survivalism

The Jewish Welfare Federation's survey
of the changes in the Jewish population of
Detroit deserve careful study because they
indicate conditions that may be applicable
to all of the American communities with Jew-
ish populations.
Dr. Albert J. Mayer of Wayne State Uni-
versity, who conducted the study, maintains
that migration to other American areas and
the lowered Jewish birth rate are responsible
in the main for the changes.
Because he deals not with the City of
Detroit alone but with the Greater Detroit
area, it is evident that the movement towards
the suburbs is not a factor in the drop of our
Jewish population. The secondary reason,
that of a low birth rate, may well be con-
sidered as a major problem to be viewed with
the utmost urgency by those of us who are
so seriously concerned with the survival of
the American Jewish community.
In his article on "Intermarriage and the
Jewish Future" in Commentary, Marshall
Skl are also alluded to the fertility problem:
"A candid and pertinent discussion of
intermarriage will also require a more
critical examination of Jewish attitudes
than we have had in the past. One immedi-
ately thinks of the issue of conversion,
which many Jews seem to regard as a
token, last-gap measure in a developing
process of assimilation; but is it? There is
also the obvious, but usually ignored, prob-

lem of birth-rate. One reason why a rising
rate of intermarriage is of such pressing
significance is that the birth-rate of native-
born Jews has been so low. (This, in part, is
why comparisons between Jewish and Cath-
olic intermarriage rates ,have helped to con-
found rather than clarify the issue). If a
greater proportion of second-generation
Jewish parents had permitted themselves
to have even three children rather than one
or two, the present situation would be far
more hopeful so far as Jewish survival is
concerned. But the fact is that the fertility
rate of the se c o n d generation dropped
catastrophically, and with hardly a word
of discussion about it among Jewish lead-
ers . . ."
Fertility problems are not limited to
Jews, but since we are now listed as a people
with a constantly lowering birth rate the rais-.
ing of the issues pertinent to the entire prob-
lem of survival.
There are other issues related to the de-
cline of Detroit's Jewish population, but the
latest Mayer study does. rate Detroit among
the more progressive communities whence
Jews have not fled to the suburbs in as large
numbers as, for example, Cleveland.
One thing is certain: the matter of sur-
vival, the problem of intermarriage, the
causes of a declining birth rate are on our
agenda for public discussion, and that is all
to the good.

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:yawn anew.


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Survey by Noted Authors

Mrs. Comay, Pearlman, Mrs. Meir
Tell How Israel Blends Into a
'Sunny, Friendly and Busy Land'

Three distinguished Israelis have joined efforts in producing an
impreSsive book for young people about their country.
Joan Comay, wife of Israel's ambassador to the United Nations;
Moshe Pearlman, distinguished Israeli foreign correspondent and
author of several important books, his most recent one having reviewed
thoroughly the Eichmann case; and Mrs. Golda Meir. forei g n minister
of Israel, are represented in "Israel," the newest of the Macmillan Co.
Nations Today Series. Mrs. Comay and Pearlman are the authors of
the book and Mrs. Meir wrote the introduction.
In her explanatory article on Israel's status and the people of the
new state, Mrs. Meir points to the "special flavor and excitement of
life" that was captured in this book by
the two authors, and she makes this
comment about the developing Israeli
"A future generation of Israelis may
look much alike, and behave in much
the same way, but at this stage. Israel is
still a remarkable mixture of groups
who have brought with them the dis-
tinctive looks and habits of the countries
from which they came. This mixture is
made even more varied by the local
non-Jewish communities—village Arabs,
nomad Bedouins still moving around with
their flocks and goatskin tents, Druzes and
Comay and Pearlman, in their text.
begin with the founding of Israel and.
then trace the story of the Jew, the
Mrs. Comay
Patriarchal era, the exodus from Egypt.
the settlement of the Twelve Tribes and the eventual split into t
Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah..
The conquest of Judaea, the -destruction of Jerusalem and its
rebuilding, the emergence of Christianity, the Moslem and Turkish
rule in the land are the accounts given of events preceding the mod--
ern Zionist movement. From this point on the two authors relate about,.
the British Mandate over Palestine and the subsequent rise of Israel.
• Then follow the modern details, the latest events effecting Israel—
descriptions of explorations, the archaeological
findings, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Marked by numerous illustrations,• accomp-
anied by maps, this story of Israel tells
what . the country looks like today, its coastal
.plain and the hills, the Jordan Valley and
the Negev.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the
book is the one that deals with the people of
Israel. All of the immigrant elements. includ-
ing the survivors from Nazism, and the Arabs
and Druzes. are described here.
"Israel" includes explanations of the
the country's government and defense, its in-
dustrial projects, the means of conquering the
Then there are descriptions of the new na-
tion as a member of the organization of the
nations of the world and as a participant in
international affairs. The refugee problem is
not overlooked, neither 'are the threats from
the Arabs. Pearlman
The revival of Hebrew, sports, the schools and universities of the
land and its recreational activities are part of the story which con-
cludes with the authors' assertion that "here the lingering remains
of the Biblical past and the exciting shape of the future blend
in a sunny, friendly, busy land."

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