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December 17, 1965 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1965-12-17

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The Spirit of Hanukah

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 24th day of Kislev, 5726, the following scriptural selections will
be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion: Gen. 37:1-40:23; Prophetical portion: Amos 2:6-3:8.

Licht benshen, Friday, Dec. 17. 4:44 p.m.


Page 4

Dec. 17, 1965

Hanukah -- Festival of Spiritual Valor

Once again, the spirit of Hanukah domi-
nates in Jewish homes. While for many it is
a way of counteracting influences of strange
gods, a means of "competing" with the major-
ity's forces in our midst whence emanate
temptations to glorify teachings that could
wean the weakest among us away from us,
the valor that is recorded by our festival
nevertheless predominates in our midst.
When we speak of valor we do not nec-
essarily intend to worship the military factor
in Hanukah. It is true that we look with
admiration to the past, that we admire the
ancestral strength that overcame a superior
enemy in the struggle for survival. But what
we especially embrace as the chief character-
istic of Hanukah is the spiritual factor, the
triumph in defense of our faith, the victory
of a small band of warriors over a great
power that tried to destroy the faith of Israel.
More than 60 years ago, a great scholar,
the late Dr. Morris Joseph, thus evaluated
the Maccabean spirit:
These brave men drew their courage
from the purest of all sources, from a pas-
sionate love for their religion, from a
veneration for the good and the true and
the morally beautiful. The Maccabees bold-
ly faced overwhelming odds, not for their
own selfish ends, but in a spirit of self-
sacrificing fidelity to the holieSt of all
causes. They threw themselves upon the
enemy in the temper that takes the martyr
to the stake; they did it not for gain or
glory, but solely for consience sake. They
felt that God was calling to them, and they
could not hold back. Theirs was a unique
effort. Others had, it is true, displayed an
equally noble courage on the battlefield.
But what they had fought for was their
fatherland and their mother tongue, their
hearths and homes. To fight for Religion
was a new thing.
"It is good for Jewish youth to include
warriors of their own race in their gallery
of heroes, to be able to say, 'My people has
produced its brave men equally with the
Greeks and the Romans.'
"The little Maccabean band was like a
rock in the midst of a surging sea. Stand-
ing almost alone in their day, the heroes
beat back the forces that threatened to in-
volve all mankind in a common demoraliza-
tion. They kept a corner of the world sweet
in an impure age. They held aloft the
torch of true religion at a time when thick
darkness was covering the nations."
In this paean of glory to the Maccabees,
penned in the first decade of this century,
credit was given to Maccabean valor for its
military achievements, but especially for the
belief in and adherence to Faith. It was, in-
deed, the first time that a battle was con-

ducted for Religion, and the torch that our
ancestral heroes held high, in a time of dark-
ness, symbolized Man's struggle for Right as
much as Might, for Justice and Freedom of
Belief as much as for material well-being.
This, in truth, is the lesson of Hanukah.
It is this that we must emphasize in the midst
of alien environments; and such emphasis
eliminates whatever conflicts there may be
with strange gods because even for those
alien to us the Hanukah victory created a
pattern for religious freedom.
Hanukah is the supreme festival for chil-
dren. It is the gift-giving, the gift-receiving
and the gift-exchanging period on our calen-
dar. The chief of the gifts is the acceptance
of the spiritual heritage that has been re-
tained by the Maccabean triumphs. And be-
cause of this gift the festival becomes a
major occasion for celebration not by the
children alone but by their parents as well--
by elders who must interpret the great gain
of twenty-two centuries ago in proper fashion
to our children. It is the spirit that was so
well evaluated by Emma Lazarus in her poem
"The Feast of Lights" in which she pro-
Kindle the taper like the steadfast star
Ablaze on evening's forehead o'er the earth,
And add each night a luster till afar
An eightfold splendor shine above the
Clash, Israel, the cymbals, touch the lyre,
Blow the brass trumpet and the harsh-
tongued horn;
Chant psalms of victory till the heart takes fire,
The Maccabean spirit leaps newborn.

Remember how from wintry dawn till night,
Such songs were sung in Zion, when again
On the high altar flamed the sacred light,
And, purified from every Syrian stain,
The foam-white walls with golden shields
were hung,
With crowns and silken spoils, and at the
Stood, midst their conqueror tribe, five
chieftains sprung
From one heroic stock, one seed divine .. .

Still runs the dance, the feats, the glorious
The mystic lights of emblem, and the word.
Where is our Judas ? Where our five-branched
Where are the lion-warriors of the Lord?
Clash, Israel, the cymbals, touch the lyre,
Blow the brass trumpet and the harsh-
tongued horn;
Chant hymns of victory till the heart takes
The Maccabean spirit leaps newborn !

Warning Against Re-Emerging Anti-Semitism

Prof. Arieh Tartakower, chairman of the
Israel executive of the World Jewish Con-
gress and the head of the World Hebrew
Movement, one of Jewry's most distinguished
historians, recently said that "in the history
of anti-Semitism, which extends over thou-
sands of years, we have hardly ever had such
a period of widespread propaganda of hatred
as today."
Dr. Tartakower, who has never been con-
sidered a panic-monger, contends that on all
world Jewish fronts there is a spreading evil.
He pointed to the status of Russian Jewry—a
quarter of the Jews of the world—who are
suffering injustice, and he said in relation to
them and to efforts in their behalf: "We shall
continue the struggle until our brethren are
able to live as Jews, to pray to our God, and
be part of the Jewish people. If there is jus-
tice in the world, our struggle will be crowned
with success."
He was especially concerned about the

Jews in South America who, he said, "again
have become the famous scapegoat."
Civic-protective Jewish groups in recent
years maintained that the anti-Semitic men-
ace had declined. Russia's Premier Alexei N.
Kosygin, in an address some time ago in Riga,
Latvia, said: "For our society, nationalistic
survivals in any form, racism or anti-Semi-
tism, are naturally alien and contradictory
to our outlook." Latin American leaders also
have uttered denials of a growing anti-
Semitic danger.
Nevertheless, Dr. Tartakower's warning
must not be treated lightly. So well-informed
an historian knows whereof he speaks, and
his admonitions must not be ignored.
Every indication of the re-emergence of
anti-Semitism must be considered as a symp-
tom to be countered with action. Ostrich-like
burying of our heads in the sand, ignoring
warnings, will only weaken our position.

Salisbury Exposes USSR Bigotry
in N Y Times Byline Book 'Russia'

Harrison E. Salisbury, Nei York Times assistant managing editor,
who distinguished himself as a foreign correspondent and won the
Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, is the author of the N. Y.
Times Byline Book "Russia," published by Atheneum.
Written as an introduction to Russia "from Czars to Commissars,"
this paperback covers quite thoroughly the Jewish situation in the
Salisbury contends that while Russia has changed radically since
Lenin sized power on Nov. 7, 1917, the change is not as radical as the
Communists say and he states that "there is more continuity in Rus-
sian life and Russian problems than either the Soviet regime or its
critics often admit." He calls Czars and Commissars "brothers under
the skin."
Commenting on Yevgeny Yevtushenko's poem "Babi Yar,"
which denounced anti-Semitism in Russia and dealt with the ravine
near Kiev where the Nazis slaughtered and buried 40,000 Jews,
Salisbury declares that the poet's condemnation "was a reaction
against deep and pernicious anti-Semitic currents in Soviet life."
Today, synagogues have been closed, rabbis arrested, members of
Jewish congregations _intimidated and sometimes physically attacked.
Especially in the Ukraine, a hotbed of anti-Semitism under the Czars,
there has been noted a revival of anti-Semitism, often encouraged by
official party propaganda publications."
He adds that "while Khrushchev heatedly denied any anti-Semitic
feelings, he often told anti-Semitic jokes."
Salisbury writes that young intellectuals are reacting against the
revived anti-religious campaigns, that: "Young intellectuals of Jewish
background attend Yiddish concerts and recitals, even though they
do not understand the language, as a gesture of solidarity with the
old Jewish generation."
Salisbury's "Russia" is one of the most revealing documents on
the current situation in the USSR.

Gumbiner Book Leaders of
People': 23 Brilliant Biographi E:____Th,

The second volume in the series "Leaders of Our People" b'
Rabbi Joseph H. Gumbiner, director of the Hillel Foundation at the
University of California, Berkeley, illustrated by David Stone, published
by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, deserves, like its
predecessor, wide distribution. Its use in schools, as reading material
in homes where parents take an interest in their children and guide
them to a knowledge of the heroes in Jewish ranks, is of immense
Rabbi Gumbiner has made an excellent selection of notables in
history for his evaluations.
Commencing with Luis de Torres, hero of the sea, adventurer,
Marrano, his list of 23 greats in Jewry extends through the ages, con-
cluding with David Ben-Gurion.
Two great women are among the distinguished leaders de-
picted in this series of biographical sketches. They are Emma
Lazarus, the eminent poetess, and Henrietta Szold, founder of
Another escapee from the Inquisition, who abandoned his status
as a Marrano, Joseph Nasi, who rose to power in Constantinople at the
beginning of the 16th Century, is the second luminary to be described
by Rabbi Gumbiner.
The others whose lives are reviewed in this series are:
Israel Ba'al Shem Tov, founder of Hassidism; Moses Mendelssohit,
credited with founding Reform Judaism; Haym Salomon, financier of
our Revolution against Britain; Judah Touro and Rabbi David Einhorn,
eminent figures in early American Jewry; Rabbi Israel Salanter, the
Russian Jewish Talmudic scholar of the last century; Rabbi Isaac
Mayer Wise, American Reform Jewish leader; Rabbi Solomon Schechter,
leader of Conservative Judaism; Eliezer Ben Yehudah, who led in the re-
vival of Hebrew as a spoken language; Theodor Herzl, founder of mod-
ern political Zionism; Rabbi Stephen D. Wise, great Zionist leader and
reformer; Rabbi Leo Baeck, German-Jewish theologian; Chaim Weiz-
mann, first president of Israel; Chaim Nachman Bialik, poet laureate
of Israel; Supreme Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis, jurist and
Zionist; Judah Leon 1VIagnes, first president of the Hebrew Univer-
sity; and Albert Einstein, the world's most noted physicist.
The great value of this book is that it was so well written for
children and serves so splendidly as a series of heroic stories that
can be enjoyed by elders while they read them to their children. It is
a commendable work.

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