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November 19, 1965 - Image 40

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1965-11-19

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

Hadassah Gets a Hand From AID
Dr. Nelson Glueek's 'Deities and Dolphins':
Encyclopedic, Illustrated Work on Nabataeans

"Deities and Dolphins" by Dr.
Nelson Glueck, president of He-
brew Union College-Jewish Insti-
tute of Religion, published by Far-
rar Straus and Giroux, is an ency-
clopedic work devoted to a study
of the Nabataeans of the late pre-
Christian and early Christian eras.
It is a voluminous creation that
greatly enhances the collection of
notable works by the eminent arch-

DR. NELSON GLUECK

aeologist who has done many years
of excavating and research in the
Middle East.
Dr. Glueck considers "Deities
and Dolphins" to be "a fitting and
accurate title" for his book and
he explains:
"A stone sculpture in high re-
lief of the bust of a goddess with
a tiara of two dolphins on her
head was found among the ruins
of the Nabataean hilltop temple
of Khirbet Tannur. The site is
located on the south slope of
the great canyon of the Wadi
Hesa (Biblical River Zered),
whose perennial stream empties
into the southeast end of the
Dead Sea. Uncovered in the ex-
cavations of the temple were
nearly all the members of the
pantheon of deities once wor-
shipped there. The explanation
of the appearance of dolphins
in stone on dry land at the edge
of the Arabian desert and of the
role played by the Atargatis they
adorned and of the company
she kept in the sacred precincts
of a most unusual sanctuary has
been attempted in this book."
He further explains that the
book's subtitle, "The Story of the
Nabataeans," is an indication "that
the objects, decorations, plan and
place of Khirbet Tannur cannot be
discussed even in relative depth
without dealing with the history,
economy art, architecture, lan-
guages and religion of the Naba-
taeans and their relationship to
Arabia and the Fertile Crescent
on the one hand and the Mediter-
ranean littoral on the other."
The research conducted by Dr.
Glueck resulted in modification of
mysteries that previously shrouded
the Nabataeans' past. Long consid-
ered nomads who dominated cara-
van routes between Arabia and
Parthia, Dr. Glueck shows that
"they were one of the most gifted
peoples of history." He states that
their kingdom's growth "was limit-
ed only by mighty Rome. Nabataea
was finally erased practically by
Roman decree."
The Nabataeans' origin, traced
to southern Arabia, developed into
progressive activities and active
life in the Negev in southern Isra-
el, extending to Sinai and on to
Syria.
Dr. Glueck points out that:
"Nabataeanized Edomites and
Rechabites who never forsook
the Negev, and perhaps also na-
tives of southern Syria, contri-
buted to their knowledge. South
Arabian cultural techniques .. .
also stood them in good stead."
He explains how, when neces-
sary, the Nabataeans carved
cities out of mountains and
writes that many of them "must
have been familiar with ad-
vanced art, architecture and agri-

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
40—Friday, November 19, 1965

culture, highly developed for cen-
turies before their appearance
above the horizon of the un-
known."
Describing their worship — "By
Their Gods Shall Ye Know Them"
—Dr. Glueck states that the Naba-
taean story in many ways "is simi-
lar to that of the Israelites before
them. Both appeared during periods
of political disaster or disorgan-
ization, when major or minor pow-
ers were too bruised or beaten or
exhausted to exercise authority
and maintain order in their terri-
tories or keep out infiltration from
infertile lands." Dr. Glueck adds:
"Israelites and subsequently
Nabataeans progressed swiftly in
a pattern of change from nomadic
conditions, with at first little need
of many possessions and much con-
tempt for manual labor, to an agri-
culturally based state of complex
nature and inescapable cultural
contacts. There was, however, a
vast difference between the two
peoples, even as there had been
the Israelites and their Canaanite
contemporaries. In Israel, a small
handful of intellectual and spiritual
giants had undeviatingly succeeded
in implanting at long last into the
minds and hearts of their people
more or less their own prescient
understanding of the existence, or-
der and mandate of the one God
of all mankind and the entire uni-
verse. The people of Abraham and
Moses and the Prophets and the
Rabbis proved to be unique in this
respect. The Nabataeans, even as
the Edomites, Moabites and others,
took the diametrically opposed tack,
gladly accepting with significant
adaptations the gods of their new
surroundings and circumstances
and steadily enlarging horizons."
The more than 400 p h o t
graphs in this immense work,
and the sets of maps, provide
for the readers the necessary
backgrounds for an understand-
ing of the Nabataean story —
their economic and agricultural
progress, their creative art, their
caravans and trade routes. An
appended chronology proves of
equal value.
Dr. Glueck asserts: "In their
deities and dolphins and all man-
ner of closely connected symbols,
the Nabataeans found sufficient
promise for their well-being in all
the ways of life on earth, and safe
passage and endless continuity in
the hereafter. Their gaze was liter-
ally heavenward toward the planets
and constellations they identified
with their gods, whose forms they
worshipped and whose blessings
they sought in sanctuaries such as
that of the Temple of Tannur."
But such concern was "directed
almost entirely to supplication for
foo-d and fortune in this world and
in the hereafter."
Dr. Glueck adds that the Naba-
taeans "never succeeded in build-
ing a system of values and a struc-
ture of faith whose enduring right-
ness could withstand the attrition
of time and the indifference or
antagonism of mortals," and that:

`Testimony: U.S.'
Reznikoff's Very
Notable Document

Charles Reznikoff, famed for his
historic works, noted for his poet-
ry, has produced a classic.
His recitative "Testimony: The
United States (1885-1890)," pub-
lished by New Directions (333 6th,
NY14), is, as the title implies,
historic.
It is an unique document that
takes into account America's eco-
nomic, social, legal and cultural
aspects.
Some of these factors make the
volume especially timely, in view
of the civil rights struggle.
Indeed, it is a portrait of our
nation, much of it based on actual
experiences, some episodes drawn
from court cases.
This is one of Reznikoff's very
great books. It is "Testimony" as
history and as affirmation of a
poet's greatness.

"Their system of society lacked
the indestructible ideas of Greek
philosophy, Roman law and Hebrew
religion that bore within them-
selves the elements of cultural
or physical perpetuity or both."
In spite of the wealth they ac-
quired and the power with which
they ruled, there was an early
collapse. "The quickly risen king-
dom of Nabataea collapsed when
Trajan in A.D. 106 shoved it like
a shot-down and retrieved bird into
the nondescript game-bag to the
Roman Provincia Arabia," Dr.
Glueck states. "Nevertheless, for
considerably over a century there-
after, the momentum of their
achievements and the productivity
of their undertakings enabled the
Nabataeans to escape the anony-
mity of complete ethnic and cul-
tural absorption. But the end of
their existence as a separate peo-
ple with an art and architecture
and a place in the sun of their own
was, from that moment on, inex-
orably determined, although not
immediately consummated."



Herbert J. Walters, assistant administrator for material re-
sources of the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Mrs.
Mortimer Jacobson, national president of Hadassah, sign an agree--
meat under which AID is to provide $335,000 in counterpart funds
to improve hospital kitchen, dining room and food handling facili-
ties at the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem.
For this purpose, AID is using a new provision in the Food for
Peace law for the first time to help Hadassah meet its rapidly-ex-
panding programs in Israel.

Meir of Rothenberg—The Prisoner

THEY CANE TO RA85/ /Pfs-he OF Ror//6-469z/RG,
THE A-oREnfosT,PARE, OF WESTERN GERMAIN):

WHAT el's/ALL WE DO, MY FR/END5, WEhIUST
LEAVE. LET US GO 4/P
RABE/7 1
To THE HOLY LAND/

ALL OVER SER,SfAN)' THE SAME TH/NG IV,46
HAPPE4/14/G.Ar F/RST EA1PEROR RUDOL
LAUGHED...
LET THEM LEAVE; 81/7- CoLLEcr
50 PER CENT OF WHAT THEY
HAVE AT THE BORDERS OF

GERMS

WHEN HE REALIZED 7-H4T HE coLtio COLLECT
7-1//.5- TAX ONLY ONCE...
CLOSE THE BORDERS/
No JEW MAY LEAVE
MY REALM /

TO SET AN EXAMPLE,,ezi.O.OLF PE,f, AuTrel,

1/ /S/TORS 7-0 THE
WE W/LL GATHER TREASURE

TO RANSOM you,R.4857/

/FYOL/RANSOM ME, RUDOLF 14//LLI/SE THE
SAME METHODS ON OTHER JEWS./ FORBAD
YOU TO RANSOM /

1

MEANGVH/LE,THE GROUP FROM ROTHENEURG

RA881 ME/R WAS TAKEN

THERE HE/GpRECoGN/EE HMI/
THAT'S R455//s1E/R OF
RoTHENGURG/

BEFORE EMPEROR RUDOLF.
THEY CAL LYOL/ "THE LIGHT- OP THE EX/LE
VERY WELL. YOU SHALL 8/2/GHTEN A CELL IN
THE FORTRESS OF ENS/SHE/411

HAD REACHES, LOMS4RoY.SuDOENLY...1

HALT/

THEY 0/0 NOT OBEY. MESSENGERS
li/kwr FROM OrY TO C/TY...

NE NEED MONEY TO Bar
RABB/ ME/R'S RELEASE,/

AFTER MANY hioNTHS..„

IVE HAVE PROM/5Es of
20,000 CO/NS OF puRE
SALVER!

/T/5 SA/0
EMPEROR RUDOLF
I,Y/LL ACCEPT /T7

FOR 7 YEARS R4.5.5% 415/R Z/1/E0

AND

srao/ED

THE DARK DaN6E0N.

,Toy 14 year y +e3ews
or ki,,tertb, u.1-.5o6eyecr.

ee ya,b6i S cornma.4.,
cAt ictst,tt1130Zey

rox ■ somelt ys 1)06y
avqt. I A it .to Yes V"
ace or&ing to the

tAws o our reove,t

HE A/As FREED IN 129.3,-.-BY

This cartoon is reproduced from "A Picture Parade of Jewish History" by Morris Epstein, pub-
lished by Shengold Publishers, New York, by special arrangement with the author and publishers.

Dr. Epstein's explanatory essay
describing the tragic life of Rabbi
Meir of Rothenberg follows:
Rabbi Meir Ben Baruch was
born in Germany between 1215
and 1220. People were often not
very exact in those days about re-
cording dates of birth. But his
deeds were recorded in detail and
they have come down to us as a
shining example of dedication and
selflessness.
Rabbi Meir served as a spiritual
leader in a number of places, chief-
ly in Rothenburg, and he became
so great an authority on Jewish law
that he was known as the "Light of
the Exile."
It was a time when the Exile
itself was daily growing darker.
With his own eyes, Rabbi Meir
had seen 24 cartloads of Hebrew
hooks thrown on the flames in
Paris on a Sabbath eve. Persecu-
tion had overtaken the Jews in
Germany as well. At the age of 66,
Rabbi Meir was asked to lead a
group of refugees who were deter-
mined to reach Palestine.

While waiting at Lombardy for
the rest of his company to arrive
he was recognized by a Jew who
had left Judaism and was now ac-
companying the bishop of Easel.
The bishop had Rabbi Meir seized
and taken back to Germany. There,
upon the order of Emperor Ru-
dolf of Hapsburg, he was im-
prisoned in the fortress of Ensis•
heim.
Pidyon Shevu'im, the ransoming
of captives, has always been among
the most noble traditions of the
Jewish people. The friends of
Rabbi Meir offered the emperor
20,000 marks in silver for the re-
lease of their leader.
The rabbi, however, refused to
be ransomed. He feared that if he
permitted his friends to pay the
money other rulers would kidnap
rabbis in order to force their con-
gregations to ransom them.
His students were permitted to
meet with him and he was even
able to compose several of his
works withtin the prison walls.
Rabbi Meir remained behind bars

for seven years. At his death in
1293 the emporor once again de-
manded a heavy ransom before
yielding the rabbi's body for
burial.
It was years before the body
was finally surrendered upon pay-
ment of a huge ransom by one
Alexander Suskind Wimpfen who,
in return, asked that after his own
death his body should be laid to
rest next to the saintly rabbi. His
wish was carried out and in the
Jewish cemetery of the city of
Worms a double grave with a
single tombstone marked the rest-
ing place of the rabbi and his
loyal follower.
During his lifetime Rabbi Meir
had kept up a talmudical academy
at his own cost. His students
brought his teachings to Austria,
Spain and Portugal.
As renowned as he was for his
learning, however, it was his re-
fusal to bring even the threat of
sorrow to his people that en-
shrined his name in Jewish his-
tory.

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