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November 26, 1965 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1965-11-26

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Purely Commentary


By Philip


State Dept.Rebuffs Allegations
Against Leading Israeli Envoys

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Alle- tetimony were with prominent citi-
gations that leading Israeli per- zens and diplomatic representatives
sonages who served in Washing- of Israel, among them the mayor-
ton as diplomats were "espionage elcet of Jerusalem, Theodore Kol-
de Leon Avenue in the Santurce area of the city. agents" and that Abba P. Schwartz, lek, former (diplomatic) minister,
ST. MAARTEN, West Indies—It isn't a mass
It sponsors also the adjoining Jewish Community administrator of the State Depart- and Dr. Eliahu Elath, president of
movement southward, but there is an unquestioned
ment bureau of security and con- Hebrew University in Jerusalem
increasing interest displayed by Jews in the Virgin
sular affairs, was linked with them and first Israeli ambassador to the
Islands and the West Indies, and the coming
Levin's home is among those that observe Kash- —made by the U. S. Senate sub- United States.
decade may witness a vast increase in areas south
rut—adherence to which is limited. Levin, and committee on internal security—
"Mr. Schwartz's contacts with
of us.
others like him, bring kosher food supplies from drew an official denial from the these individuals were entirely
The new trend already calls for revised
social and professional and had
estimates of Jewish population figures in the islands
for several months, constantly replenishing them.
Schwartz, at the time he was nothing whatsoever to do with
and for a new study of the Jewish positions there.
Puerto Rican Jews are engaged in commercial
Such a study might well begin here, in the
law partner of Seymour Rubin esponiage or any kind of illegal
enterprises; there are many professionals, a number — then representative of the activity. The State Department has
island that is part French, part Dutch—where
of government employes, some engaged in con-
American Jewish Committee — full confidence in Mr. Schwartz's
there already are two or more known Jewish
struction work. Jewish architects are prominent
was alleged to have been "in fre- reliability and integrity as demon-
families, where Jewish merchants may be eying
quent contact with individuals strated during his three years'
possibilities of expansion and industrialists may
who were attached to the Israeli service as administrator of the
seek a foothold for new factories.
Levin said there were a number of Jews on the
Intelligence Service in the Unit- bureau of security and counsellor
Then, turning to St. Thomas and San Juan in
faculty of the University of Puerto Rico, but none
ed States." During hearings just affairs."
the Virgin Islands, there are revealing facts about
shows an interest in Jewish life.
published by the subcommittee,
an increasing Jewish population.
The subcommittee action involv-
Chief Counsel J. G. Sourwine ing Schwartz was authorized by
The current debates over Christopher Columbus'
Chairman James O. Eastland, Mis-
munity life is the new trend in St. Thomas. There
associations of Mr. Schwartz
role in the discovery of America, the claims first
sissippi Democrat, and Vice Chair-
were a handful of Jews there, and the number has with espionage agents of a for-
made that Leif Ericson the Norseman, and more
man Thomas J. Dodd, Connecti-
grown to nearly 500. The Bracha v'Shalom Syna- eign government."
recently that the Etruscans
cut ,Democrat, it was announced.
gogue is unique: its floor is sandy, in commemora-
of Italy — 1,100 years be-
The alleged "agents" were later
tion of the Israelites' wanderings in the Sinai desert. identified as Eliahu Elath, presi-
fore the Christian era—had
made the discovery, add to
It was from St. Eustasius, the Dutch West Indies dent of Hebrew University in Jeru- U.S. Urged to Condition
the interest by Jews, his-
island, whence a number of Jews first came to St. salem who was Israel's first am- Israel Desalination Aid
torically, in Columbus' dis-
Thomas. There were skippers and merchants bassador in Washington; Theodor
among them and they were the builders of the Kollek, mayor-elect of Jerusalem, on End of N-Arms Work
In many areas in the
who served as minister of the
first synagogue, in 1738.
Virgin Islands, there are
Israel Embassy here; the late Reu- States aid on nuclear desalting
plaques to indicate that
ven Shiloah, former minister of projects could be linked with
Christopher Columbus had nine Jewish families in St. Thomas. Their number the Israel Embassy; Meir Shalit,
increased and they named their synagogue, in 1796, prominent Israeli who was first agreement by Israel and other
discovered the islands. This
Bracha v'Shalom—"Blessing and Peace." The syna- secretary of the embassy; and Elia- beneficiaries to abandon work on
is true of St. Thomas. It is
gogue was destroyed by fire in 1803. It was rebuilt shiv Ben-Horin, once Israeli first nuclear weapons, chairman Chet
claimed for Puerto Rico.
Holifield of the Congressional
in 1812, was enlarged twice, in 1827 and 1833, due
Ericson Meanwhile, the insistence
secretary here and now Israeli am- Joint Committee on Atomic En-
to the rapidly increasing Jewish settlers. There
of some scholars, notably Prof. Salvador de Mada-
bassador to Venezuela.
ergy said in an address before the
were 400 Jews there in 1837, and the 1850 census
riaga of Oxford University, that Columbus was a
The attack on Schwartz emerged Atomic Industrial Forum Confer-
Jew, possibly a Marrano, gains new attention. Yet,
began to emigrate, and while St. Thomas was one when the subcommittee singled out ence here.
wherever Columbus went, in his seafaring ventures
of the first areas to be settled by Jews in the Schwartz in efforts to discredit the
in the Western Hemisphere, the placated refer-
Rep. Holifield, California Dem-
Hemisphere, all of the Virgin Islands num- department's security division in ocrat, warned against proliferation
ences to his discoveries, the churches established
bered not more than 60 families 40 years ago—
to commemorate his visits,
of nuclear weapons. He said "Red
another turning point soon, however, destined to Otto Otepka. Otepka was dismissed
bear names of Christian
take place and once again to bring large numbers for "conduct unbecoming a State China, pursuing her own aggres-
saints. This is true of the
Department officer" for furnishing sive interest, has obtained nuclear
of Jews into the area.
Virgin Islands and of the
unauthorized State Department in- weapon capability—India. Israel,
West Indies.
Presently, Moses DeCa•tro Sasso is the rabbi— formation to the subcommittee.
and others, from time to time
Nevertheless, the roles the Reader and Hazan—of the St. Thomas Bracha
State Department spokesman have been reputed to be moving
played by Spanish and Par-
v'Shalom congregation. He has held office since
Robert McCloskey said that "im- in the same direction." He urged
tugese Jews in these dis-
1919. The colored sexton (shammes) of the syna-
plications in testimony on the international inspection for all
coveries, the known Jews
gogue, who does collecting of dues and guards the Otepka testimony recently re-
civilian reactors and processed
who accompanied Colum-
synagogue constantly, indicated that upon Rabbi leased by the Senate internal plants.
bus, attest to Jewish parti- Sasso's return from Panama, where he is now vaca-
security subcommittee that priv-
This was the first known pro-
cipation in the travels that
tioning, he plans to retire.
ate associations by Abba P.
posal to link United States aid to
led to the finding of the
Schwartz raise a security ques- the proposed Israeli nuclear de-
It is most interesting that on Friday nights this
islands and their eventual
tion are completely unwar-
synagogue continues to draw a good attendance.
salting plant with a commitment
The popular, U.S.-appointed governor of the Virgin ranted."
by Israel to desist from work on
Islands, Ralph D. Paiewonsky, at-
McCloskey said: "Mr. Schwartz's
Jewish Theological Seminary, there was on display
tends Friday services almost `associations' referred to in this nuclear weapons.
several years ago one of the 15 remaining copies
regularly. Often, when the Israel
of "Great Composition," the historic book of astro-

■ ■

liner, the T. S. S. Shalom, arrives
nomical tables that were prepared by Abraham
at the St. Thomas port, its well-
Ben Samuel Zacuto, the 15th Century Salamanca
Boris Smolar's
known captain, Avner W. Freu-
Jewish astronomer, which were used by Columbus
denberg, keeps renewing his
and to which _reference was made in Columbus'
friendship with Governor Paie-
wonsky and other St. Thomas
Jewish personalities.
Of special interest in the emergence of a new
Jewish communal development in the Virgin Islands
Many Jews played important roles in the Virgin
is the growth of the San Juan community.
Islands. The chiefs of militia and governors of the
(Copyright, 1965, JTA, Inc.)
Aron Levin, the honorary president of the San
islands included Major Wolff. Among legislators
Juan Shaarey Zedek congregation, came to Puerto
TEACHING SEX: The Union of American Hebrew Congregatio
were many prominent Jewish names—John Philipp
Rico in 1935, when there were only 20 Jewish
Gomes, Arthur Undo, Judge Reimund Baumann, should prepare itself for meeting a barrage of criticism for embarking
families there. Only half of them remained during
on the Road of teaching sex knowledge to Jewish youngsters . . . Its
Francis, and others.
the ensuing years. But today there are 500 Jewish
book, "Consecrated Unto Me," written by Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn,
Judah Philip Benjamin, who was secretary of the certainly tells the yougsters of the "facts of life" much more than
families in Puerto Rico — numbering more than
2,000 souls — and the Jewish activities are more
State of the Confederacy and before then was a some sex books for adults permit themselves to relate . . . What would
U. S. Senator from Louisiana, and Alexander Hamil- practically be considered obscene in other books for teen-agers, is pre-
pronounced than they have ever been in the island's
ton, who was said to be half-Jewish, stemmed from sented in the UAHC book as "anatomy and physiology of sex in both
The growth is clue in part to the arrival in the
Virgin Islands families. The rabbis who preceded males and females." . . . Diagrams of male and female sexual organs
Sasso included Benjamin Cohen Carillon, N. M. are illustrated in details, with no words minced as to their definitions
past few years of about 100 Jewish families who
Nathan and David Cardozo.
and how each of them functions . . . Some of the details of the bodily
escaped from Cuba.
Levin — who this year, before being named
parts and the descriptions of how they become sexually excited are
honorary president, was succeeded to the presidency
As indicated, when the U. S. took possession of more frank than in sex magazines ... And so is the description of the
of the San Juan congregation by Maurice Nagel—
the Virgin Islands in 1917, purchasing them from act of sexual intercourse . . . Not to speak of the "reliable" and
speaks enthusiastically about his community's pro-
Denmark for $25,000,000, there were only 60 Jewish "unreliable" methods of preventing pregnancy, which are outlined
gress and Jewish interests. He feels that the present
families there. Now they possess solid Jewish com- the youngsters in full detail . . . No wonder that some of the parents,
spiritual leader, Rabbi Harold Konowitz, a Yeshiva
munities, in growing numbers. New opportunities who are members of education committees of Reform temples, are
University graduate, is contributing immensely to-
as the author himself admits.
await them in St. Thomas, known as "the American already voicing objections to the book,
ward the educational efforts. There is a five-day
Gibralta•," and the other isles.
Hebrew school, classes being conducted from 3 to 5
RABBIS VS. PARENTS: The reaction by some parents and youths
When a guide in St. Maarten commented, after to the UAHC book on sex provokes the question whether teaching sex
afternoons, and a Sunday school that meets from
indicating he knew at least two Jewish families knowledge is altogether a matter in the province of rabbis . . . Why
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays.
who live there now, that Jews naturally are mer- should this matter not be left to the parents who are closer to their
"We are proud also of our Junior Congrega-
chants, he echoed an old misconception about "busi- children than the rabbis when dealing with sensitive matters? . .
tion," Levin said. "There is very little intermar-
ness" as the chief Jewish trait. Jews who are settling Why should rabbis take upon themselves the role of gynecologists?
riage—perhaps 2 to 3 per cent—and not many
in the West Indies and the Virgin Islands are UAHC, in presenting the volume, makes a point of it to emphasize that
more than 10 families are known to have mixed
bringing with them culture as well as trade. In St. the book "will be widely used by the religious schools of the .664 mem-
marriages. In fact, there were more mixed mar-
Maarten, for example, the Spritzer and Fuhrmann ber synagogues" affiliated with that religious body of Reform Judaism
riages among recent newcomers to the isle—es-
department store is part of a vast chain that began . . . Some parts of the book, especially those relating to the moral
pecially among the Cuban settlers — than among
in Curacao, spread to Aruba, Benair and more than values of Jewish family life, are of good educational value, but these
those of us who have lived here during the past
50 other worldwide centers and has headquarters have been dealt with previously in numerous books by various rabbis
20 or more years."
in New York. With the firm, the island acquires in this country . . . The main purpose of the UAHC book is, however,
There is a strong Hadassah chapter in San
skilled merchants who elevate the standards of
Juan, and while there are no other Zionist groups
to help the Jewish youngsters find their way "through the maze of
the community.
in San Juan, Hadassah raises about $10,000 a year
eroticism which bewilders them to the true meaning of love for which
for Israel—a part of the funds going to the Jewish
Such is the continuing role of Jews in far-flung they yearn" . . . This, it seems to me, will hardly be accomplished by
National Fund. San Juan has a Bnai Brith chapter.
communities: when they settle there they bring the "realistic" descriptions of the sexual process and behavior,
Its major Jewish activity is for the United Jewish
with them the progressive skills so vitally needed especially for joint classes of boys and girls in congregational schools.
Appeal, for which approximately $35,000 is raised
for their advancement.
2—Friday, November 26, 1965
Copyright, 1965, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Inc.
7-hp San Juan synagogue is located at 903 Ponce

The Jewish Communities in West Indies and Virgin Islands: Move-
ment Southward and New Growth in Numerous Settlements


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'Between You
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