THE JEWISH NEWS
Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with issue of July 20, 1951
Only Way to Deal With Saboteurs
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Editor and -Publisher
CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ
Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the 19th day of Sivan, 5725, the following scriptural selections will
be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion: Num. 8:1-12:16; prophetical portion: Zech. 2:14-4:7.
Licht benshen, Friday, June 18, 7:52 p.m.
VOL. XLVII, No. 17
June 18, 1965
Silence Unworkable in Dealing with Prejudice
There is no doubt that Russia is sensi-
tive to criticism. Else, the two • Jewish
scientists who objected to the protest meet-
ing in Madison Square Garden in New York
would not have written to the New York
Times to express their indignation over the
raising of Jewish and non-Jewish voices in
condemnation of the Soviet acts of discrim-
ination against Jews; else, there would not
have been the frequent attempts on the
part of Russian spokesmen to condemn Israel,
Zionism and American Jewish organizations
with claims that they are unduly propagandiz-
ing against the Soviet Union.
But the facts are at hand. Even one of
the most outspoken defenders of communism
and of the Russian regime, the editor of the
Communist Yiddish Morgen Freiheit of New
York, Paul Novick, conceded that there re-
main vestiges of Czarist anti-Semitism in
the USSR. Upon his return from Russia,
in February, the Freheit editor, in an address
at a public rally in New York, said:
As a result of my trip, I am convinced more
than ever that my paper, while branding the
slogan of 'Soviet anti-Semitism' as a cold war
slogan, has been correct in voicing over the years
the opinion that remnants of anti-Semitism are still
to be found in the USSR and that the Soviet
Government, in combating various forms of crime,
ought to combat criminals who are guilty of anti-
Semitism—which is prohibited by the Soviet con-
stitution. While I did not hear of any overt
anti-Semitic acts or see any anti-Semitic litera-
ture, I was told by a number of persons that
remnants of the legacy of the Hitler occupation of
almost the whole of the European part of the
USSR as well as the legacy of the Stalin 'cult'
are still felt here or there, whether in the form of
a racial insult which sometimes goes unpunished,
or of something which may appear as discrimina-
tion. It is also well known that the legacy of the
`cult' in the diplomatic field—the absence of Jews
in this field—has not been eliminated .. . there is
still needed a full rehabilitation and restoration of
the Jewish cultural institutions that were adminis-
tratively suppressed during the days of the 'cult'.
This has not as yet taken place. There is no fixed
Jewish State Theater anywhere in the USSR—and
there were about a dozen of them before they
were closed in 1948-49; no Yiddish publishing
house, newspapers, schools, scientific institutes
and other institutions for Yiddish culture that
Likewise, religious liberties have not as yet
been fully restored—the publishing of prayer
books, etc. The anti-religious propaganda con-
ducted in the USSR is mostly of a questionable
character, producing such 'literature' as that of
Messrs. Kichko, Mayatsky and their ilk, which
even if not intentionally anti-Semitic turns out to
be anti-Semitic in fact. After the removal of
Nikita Khruschev there began in the USSR a
trend towards the re-establishment of what they
call 'Lenin's Norms', or Lenin's programme. One
may hope that the programme which was main-
tained under Lenin and in the years after his
death when his programme was followed —
whether in relation to Jewish culture, or Jewish
religion, or the struggle against anti-Semitism—
will be re-introduced, and as speedily as possible.
. . Whatever questions there are to be
raised concerning the Jews in the Soviet Union—
and they should not be overlooked or glossed
over—should be raised within the effort for co-
existence and peace, so that international tension
be eliminated as much as possible.
Haven't we pleaded that there should be
amity, that there should be peace in the
ranks? But peace does not spell the elimina-
tion of everything that is decent and all
semblances of Jewish aspects of life of the
3,000,000 of our kinsmen who reside in
The best answer to the apologist for the
Russian regime, Aaron Vergelis, the editor
of the only Yiddish periodical in Russia,
Sovietish Heimland, was given by the emin-
ent philosopher, Bertrand Russell, who, re-
futing Vergelis' defense of the USSR policies
related to Jewish issues, declared:
Your reply is lacking in scruple when it dis-
misses as a "cold war" attitude expressions of
concern for Soviet Jews which exist in progressive,
pro-Soviet and also Communist circles in the West,
and when it makes the ridiculous charge that the
motive is the diversion of attention from "the
racist and anti-Semitic orgy rife in some countries
across the water". You cannot be unaware that
the Communist Parties in Italy, France, United
States, Canada, Scandinavia, Australia and else-
where have publicly criticised anti-Semitic litera-
ture in the USSR, discrimination against the
Jewish religion and the deprecation of Jewish
culture. You are grossly misleading your readers
if you suppress this important fact and misrepre-
sent honest criticism of the inequality experienced
by Soviet Jews. Your readers are surely able to
judge for themselves the sincerity of your state-
ment that it is an "obvious, natural fact" that
Soviet Jews today "have less of a yearning for
Jewish culture than in the '20s and '30s" and that
"one cannot artificially expand, without rhyme or
reason, the scope of cultural work done in
Nor can one with knowledge of the true situa-
tion of Soviet Jews be impressed by what you say
about the "fruitful" conditions available to Yid-
dish writers. Only five or six books in Yiddish
have been published in the Soviet Union since
1948, not one by a living writer. I am fully in-
formed of the cultural facilities that have been
accorded to Soviet Jews since 1956. I welcome
them as some mitigation of the crimes Stalin
committed against the Jewish people, but they
are meagre, grudging, and inadequate to the needs
of a vigorous intellectual community of some
3,000,000 Jews, of whom almost half-a-million
speak the Yiddish language as a mother tongue.
The striking cultural amenities supplied to even
the smallest Soviet national and linguistic minor-
ities illustrate injustice at present imposed on
You ask why I do not express anxiety about
the unavailability of Jewish and Yiddish cultural
institutions in Britain. The Jewish Year Book
for 1964, published by the London Jewish Chron-
icle, lists hundreds of Jewish organizations of
every kind, scores of libraries, museums, news-
papers and schools, manifold religious institutions
and a considerable selection of book titles on
aspects of Jewish history, religion, sociology, pol-
itics and philosophy. A number of the listed insti-
tutions have facilities in both the Hebrew and
Yiddish languages. All this exists for a total Jew-
ish population in Britain of 450,000.
As the appointed editor of the only Jewish'
journal in the USSR, you are not an initiator of
policy on Jewish matters but an authorized spokes-
man. The present moment, however, requires all
of us to explain the need for an enlightened Jew-
ish policy to the Soviet government. More than
two years ago, as a sincere friend of your country
and its policy of co-existence, I said that this
situation would do much harm to the reputation
of the Soviet Union. This, indeed, has proved true.
It will be unfortunate for both the Soviet Union
and the Jewish people if something is not quickly
done to accord dignity and justice to Soviet Jews.
Nor can this letter end without an expression of
concern that little has been done to reunite sur-
vivors of Jewish families broken up by the war,
and so to terminate their prolonged sufferings.
Alvin Schwartz's 'How ...' Book
Great Youth Classic for Parents
Alvin Schwartz has written a classic for children, and the Macmillan
Co. (60 5th, N.Y. 11) has just issued his new book under the title
"How to Fly a Kite, Catch a Fish, Grow a Flower, and Other Activities
for You and Your Child."
It is a "parents' do-it-yourself guide to recreation, athletics and
nature," and it is much more than that: it instructs, directs, offers
advice of so wholesome a nature that his volume could well become
a must in all homes where the desire is to train the child for practical
purpose and to assure the parents' readiness to be able to go along
with their children in such constructive efforts.
Excellently illustrated with drawings by Mary Weissfeld, this
book is one for teaching and learning, contains information and
guidance about skating and biking, all sorts of athletics, water sports,
camping and hobbies. It instructs in m a king things and even has a
splendid chapter on cooking, with recipes the youngsters can make
Magic and natural interests, plants and animals, the values of
the zoo, the importance of museums and nature centers—these and
many more are under discussion in expert fashion.
In the chapter on family camping, the author even offers
advice on "if someone gets lost." The author advises: "Instruct
your child not to wander into the woods by himself. Also,
emphasize that, if he loses his way, he is to stop and stay put
until help comes. If you and your child go for a walk in the
woods, let someone know where you are headed and when you
expect to be back . . " , etc., etc.
The chapter on magic is an especially thrilling one for youngsters,
and the instructions about animals and pets, about birds and insects,
are of great value.
Alvin Schwartz has produced a most valuable book. It should
be in every home where there are children and where parents take
an interest in youth.
Oisvanger's 'Royte Pomerantsen'
Issued as a Schocken Paperback
Immanuel Olsvanger has for many years been recognized as the
noted authority on Jewish humor. His most impressive work remains
the series of volumes of Jewish stories told in Yiddish and printed in
Evidence is mounting to prove that the Latin characters.
"Royte Pomerantsen," his book that tells "how to laugh in Yiddish,"
prejudices extant in the USSR are not minor,
that the discriminating acts are multiply- has been reprinted as a paperback by Schocken Books (67 Park, NY17).; __,
and it is as much a classic today as it was when it first appeared
ing. They are in evidence on the economic 1947.
front, in religion, as pressures to interfere
This is a delightful collection of stories. It echoes the good spirit
with the private life of Jews in Russia.
of the Eastern Jewish communities. It reveals how Jews laughed at
The reasons for such policies remain themselves and how humor became a weapon for survival.
puzzling. Russian Jews were part of the great
Here is a typical story, as told by Olsvanger under the title "Reb
revolt against czarism. Yet they are be- Eyzers Eytse":
ing eliminated from political life, they live in
In a shtetl hot men gasus gebaut a nayem brik ibr'n taych,.
fear lest they should be branded as enemies
Es is geven a danger un a breyter taych, iz mimeyle der brik oych
of the state, circumcision is being practiced
geven lang un breyt. As der brik iz shoyn fartig gevorn, hot men
by non-Jews but Jews fear it lest they should
geret in shtetl, as men darf frier aussprubirn, oyber er iz genug
shtark, as men zol kenen of em forn. Hot men gegebn farsheydene
be branded as subversive, and the Hebrew
eytses, vi men zol aussprubirn dem brik. Is geven eyner a id, a
language has been proscribed.
chochem, reb Eyzer, hot er gezogt azoy: "Es iz doch a poshete
Will the protests of American and other
zach! Men darf tsuzamennemen vifl es iz do shvigers in shtot, un
Jews bring the desired results? Will the
men darf zey lozn aribergeyn ale in eynem dem brik. Is vet men
Soviet authorities abandon their prejudicial
zen: vein zeyariberkumen b`sholem, iz gut; un tomer vein zeg
attitudes towards the Jewish citizens? Only
araynfaln in taych undertrunken vern, iz oych nit shlecht.",
time will give the answer to these questions,
Of course, one must know a bit of Yiddish to understand the
and all we know from experience is that stories.
are more simple, others more difficult. But for the many
only through plain speaking, only by means who still Some
are able to understand the text, these stories will entertain
of protest, can indignities be challenged and will provide good reading at public functions. "Royte Pomerantsen"
and prejudice end. The moment there is a is among the new paperbacks that will no doubt have a strong appeal
yielding to the demand and the pressure that for readership.
we hush up, that there should be silence, we
The variety of stories in this volume is unique. An introduction to
submit to indignities and yield to oppression. the paperback by Harry Golden acclaims Olsvanger's gifted way of
That must never be.
gathering the best in Jewish stories.