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June 11, 1965 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1965-06-11

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THE JEWISH NFWS

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

Member Ameraa, 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 48235 Mich.,
VE 8-9364. Subscription $6 a year. Foreign $7.
Second Class Postage Paid at Detroit, Michigan

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor and Publisher

SIDNEY SHMARAK

CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ

Advertising Manager

Business Manager

CHARLOTTE HYAMS

City Editor

Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath., the 12th day of Sivan, 5725, the following scriptural selections will
be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion: Num. 4:21-7:89; prophetical portion: Judges, 13:2-25.

Licht benshen, Friday, June 11, '7:49 p.m.

VOL. XLVII, No. 16

Page 4

June 11, 1965

Zionism Again a Central Jewish Theme

Once again, Zionism has become a sub-
ject for scrutiny in Jewish ranks.
At the Bnai Brith convention in Jeru-
salem, David Ben-Gurion raised major ques-
tions involving the movement. The Rabbini-
cal Assembly judged the movement and en-
tertained an idea of its own as a substitute
for the World Zionist Organization.
While the new "judgments" may be
ascribable to a phlegmatic condition in Zion-
ist ranks, there also is evidence of a measure
of super-presumption on the part of those
who might have been helpful in strengthen-
ing the movement but who now seek satis-
faction in criticism.
Events in the most recent few years have
proven that the Zionist movement is a more
vital necessity than has been admitted. When-
ever a crisis strikes at Israel or problems
arise involving Diaspora activities in defense
of the Jewish State, the least panicky are
those in Zionist ranks. If there were no Zion-
ist movement, it might have to be created
anew when serious issues arise, the non-Zion-
ists being among those who only too readily
yield to fears and show a lack of courage in
pleading for a just cause.
But the Conservatives' Rabbinical Assem-
bly gave ear to charges that the World Zion-
ist Organization "is no longer adequate" and
that there is need for a new movement, the
formation of which was proposed to the Con-
servative rabbis. In a sense, this spells ar-
rogance in dealing with a great movement
whose messianic status was primarily respon-
sible for the establishment of the State of
Israel. Rabbis have much to contend . with
without absorbing new territory, and their
congregants may have good cause for com-
plaints over failures in certain spiritual
spheres as long as the rabbis seek notoriety
in fields that are outside their immediate
domains. This certainly is the case in the in-
stance of the intrusion of rabbis into organ-
izational functions of the Zionist movement.
Then there was the emergence of David
Ben-Gurion on a platform of American Jews
with proposals regarding Aliyah. We do not
doubt the sincerity of "the old man" who
now is causing so much commotion with his

criticisms of the incumbent government of
Israel. Mr. Ben-Gurion addressed the Bnai
Brith convention in Jerusalem. What a cour-
teous act, in view of his having refused to
make an appearance on the platform of the
movement that gave him world leadership
—the World Zionist Congress of the World
Zionist Organization, also held in Jerusalem
only five months ago! And how it emphasizes
the discourtesy to his own movement!
At the Bnai Brith convention, Mr. Ben-
Gurion advocated American Jewish contribu-
tions to Israel in the form of know-how. He
advocated greater participation in Israel's eco-
nomic efforts by American Jews than mere
tourism. What he said had been repeated by
us time and again. Many of us have held the
view that while American Jews can not all
settle in Israel, many among us can give Israel
several years' services as professionals, as ex-
perts in many fields of endeavor. What Mr.
Ben-Gurion said was not new: it was a repeti-
tion of views held by many of us in the Dia-
spora.
But Mr. Ben-Gurion might have achieved
his objectives very speedily had he acted in
support of his ideals through the Zionist Or-
ganization. Like the critical and rebellious
rabbis, who are seeking platforms of their
own, he acted outside Zionist ranks and there-
fore failed to acquire strength for the very
ideas he propagates.
Thus, a lack of realism marks the views
of some rabbis who have given ear to nega-
tivism in this country and of Mr. Ben-Gurion
who has abandoned the constructive ways of
his great years of leadership in Zionism. The
objectives to be attained in Israel's behalf
must be centered in a strong Zionist move-
ment. The contrariness of mavericks fails to
support obstructive efforts. We do not doubt
the sincerity of those propagating new ways
outside Zionist ranks. But we consider them
lacking in vision and we therefore urge re-
tention of strong Zionist sentiments rather
than resorting to abortive schemes that can
neither help Israel nor contribute towards
the elevation of idealism in Jewish ranks.

Well Earned Honors for Eminent Educator

The honors to be accorded next Wednes,
day, at the annual dinner of the Jewish Na-
tional Fund, to Bernard Isaacs, superintend-
ent emeritus of the United Hebrew Schools,
merit the acclaim that is being given this
important event in our community.
Mr. Isaacs is being honored for a life-
time of labors for the Zionist cause, for his
devotion to the Jewish National Fund, but
more especially for his creative efforts in
the field of Jewish education.
For more than half a century, Mr. Isaacs
has dedicated himself to learning and to
teaching. He has inspired pedagogues and
students, has written numerous essays and
short stories to enrich Hebrew literature, and
his devotion to Hebraic studies has elevated
him to highest ranks among educators in
Jewry.
Not only in this country, but in Israel
and in other lands the name Bernard Isaacs
is known as representative of scholarship,
dignity and the honor he has contributed to
the Hebrew teaching profession. No man
in America has lent so much status to He-
brew teaching.
As a short story writer, as an essayist,
as a teacher of adult groups since his re-
tirement, as a biblical and Talmudic
scholar, he has been a source of inspiration
for many and has earned the affections of
an entire community.

The event in honor of Mr. Isaacs is en-
hanced by the fact that. the guest speaker
at the dinner, U.S. Senator Ernest Gruening,
is one of the most courageous Americans.
His leadership in the battle against Nas-
serism is especially noteworthy. Having
studied conditions in the Middle East at first
hand, he has authored lengthy reports pub-
lished by the United States Senate exposing
the menace stemming from Cairo.
Studying conditions in Cairo at first
hand two years ago, Senator Gruening has
in the intervening months continually
called this nation's attention, in his speeches
in the Senate and in printed reports, to the
abuses hurled at this country, to the threats
leveled at Israel, to the hate-instigating
and saber-rattling Nasser campaigns. The
Alaska Senator has been among the lead-
ers in Israel's defense in the Senate and
has consistently pleaded for just actions
and fair play for the small Jewish State
that is constantly endangered by the Arab
war threats. He has, at the same time, con-
demned the attacks on this country by
those who are continually aided by us.
It is a pleasure to greet Mr. Isaacs on this
important occasion and to welcome Senator
Gruening in a spirit of gratitude for his fear-
lessness and his daring to speak frankly on
matters involving basic American ideals and
the security of the American people.

Usque's Portuguese Classic in JPS
English Translation by Dr. Cohen

An unusual work has just come off the press of the Jewish Publi-
cation Society of America. Samuel Usque's "Consolation for the Tribu-
lations of Israel" was written in the middle of the 16th Century. It
appeared in Portuguese, and in English translation—the laborious task
of Prof. Martin A. Cohen of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of
Religion—enriches Ju dai c a.

(Z'

In his foreword to this volume, Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus, director
of American Jewish Archives, thus explains the significance of this
important work:

"Every persecuted, tormented. age must evoke an answer or
die in despair. What the prophets and the apocalytists had
attempted for their times, Samuel Usque, a Portuguese Jew, now
sought to do for his people in the 16th Century. As he saw his
fellow Jews beaten, dispersed and spiritually cowed, he wrote
a religious tract for the times: God has not rejected his chosen
people; they will stand proudly, refuting by their very existence
all calumnies. A great future — a messianic millennial deliver-
ance — lies in store for them. Take hope — said Usque to his
brethren — the dawn of a new and better day is about to burst
forth in golden light over the pale horizon. It was Usque's way of
bringing Consolation for the Tribulations of Israel."

This is a splendid summary. Usque's work is a history of our
people, from biblical times down to the age in which Usque lived - —
the era of the Inquisition and the Marranos.

In every respect, throughout this work, the author offers consola-
tion. There are sorrows, but the author is an inspirer of faith and hope.

Because he had witnessed the events that followed the Spanish
tragedies imposed upon Jews, Usque was able to write so movingly
about the Marranos.
Interestingly enough, scholar that he was, Usque resorted to
the writings of Josippon, the pseudo-Josephus, and the reader gets
an insight into the Josippon writings.

Usque's is commentary on martyrdom. But it also deals with
language and literature, with the historical events that required
encouragement in the belief in an Almighty.

(

Prof. Cohen's introduction is most illuminating. It explains the
period in history in which Usque lived, the Spanish-Portuguese events
as they effected the flight from Judaism to save lives and the
secret observances by Jews.

Prof. Cohen states, with reference to the Marranos in Portugal:
"The New Christian refugees from Lusitania were not a
saving remnant of the Jewish faith. Indeed, for a long time there
was a question as to whether much of this remnant could itself — 1
be saved for Judaism. One of its exiles, Samuel Usque, was
vinced that it could. He believed that the New Christians' sul_
ings would be the last in Jewish history. To his fellow `gentlemair-
of the Diaspora of Portugal' he addressed a stirring message in
which he sought to refute the Christian explanation of Jewish
suffering and to prove from history that a better world was
dawning for all Jews. Writing in Portugese, he entitled his work
`Consolacam as tribulacoens de Israel, A Consolation for Israel's
Tribulations."

Dr. Cohen points out that Usque wrote in Portuguese because
Hebrew was out of the question "since few New Christians now had
the opportunity to learn it well." His friends attempted to persuade
him to write it in Spanish. "Had he heeded this advice," Dr. Cohen
writes, "Usque might have reached a larger audience and his fame
would have been more widespread."

The historical highlights of this work, as analyzed by Dr. Cohen,
included many of Usque's personal experiences. From them it is sur-
mised that Usque left Portugal after the establishment of the Inquisi-
tion there in 1531. He went to other European countries, finally to
Salonika. He went to the Holy Land after the publication of his book,
but his burial place is unknown.

Usque's work is a classic, and Jewry owes a debt to Dr. Cohen
for his excellent translation and to the Jewish Publication Society for
making possible its appearance in English.

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