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December 31, 1965 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1965-12-31

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Horizons for Netv Year


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 9th day of Tevet, the following scriptural selections will be
read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion: Gen. 44:18-47:27; Prophetical portion: Ezek. 37:15-28.

Licht benshen, Friday, Dec. 31, 4:52 p.m.


Dec. 31, 1965

Page 4

The New Year: Mounting and Challenging Crises

There is timelessness to the pragmatic
admonition, when dealing with crises, to hope
for the best while being prepared for the
At no time in history has mankind been
faced with challenges as serious as those of
our time, and never before has there been
such a vital need to prepare for the worst but
to strive for rational approaches to the prob-
lems that face mankind.
Not since the last world conflict have
there been so many • dangers of a possible in-
volvement of the entire universe in wars that
may engulf all of us. In the Far East there are
threats to the United States' security. The
Rhodesian and Pakistan-India struggles in no
sense isolate us from dangers that could be-
come global. All these occurrences, and many
others — including the uncertainties that af-
fect the situation in the Middle East—inevi-
tably involve all mankind in responsibilities
and mounting dangers of possible warfare
that won't leave anyone in a secure position.
Such war threats bring the opposite re-
actions—the appeals to peace which in turn
create internal conflicts, in this country and
elsewhere; and these controversial issues have
created tensions involving not only pacifism
and the ideologies of conscientious objectors
but also the right to protest.
It is on the score of the right to express
opinions, of the privilege that goes with pro-
test, that we are experiencing an unfortunate
internal development that must not be per-
mitted to get out of hand and to inspire not a
wholesome democratic spirit but another
witch hunt.
We must hope that the differences of
opinion among many Americans vis-a-vis the
Far Eastern situation will be resolved, that
we may soon see positive action by the United
Nations in the direction of negotiations for
peace. But in the interim, the controversial
discussions should be motivated by the desire
for peace, for an avoidance of extended war-
fare, for an honest exchange of views which
must not be suppressed.
We have gone a long way in assuring just
rights for the Negroes in our midst. In the
past year legislation has been enacted to
guarantee equal rights for the millions of op-
pressed Negroes who, during a century since
emancipation, have suffered indignities and
were degraded as a second-class minority.
Much is yet to be done in that direction.
Our educational system must be geared to
prepare the non-whites for wholesome pur-
suits in life, through proper vocational guid-
ance, thereby guaranteeing that there will be
an end to joblessness among them, that their
standard of living will be raised, that proper
housing will be assured for them.
It is one of the American tragedies that
this objective has been so slow-moving that
neighborhoods have been disrupted, that
there have been mass movements of popula-
tions from the large cities into suburbs, and
that in this process there has been an increase
rather than a decline in ill feelings. Jewish
communities are seriously affected by such
movements. Cleveland proper already is al-
most entirely without Jews and that vast com-
munity has moved to the suburbs.
There is no way of foretelling how such
a trend will affect Detroit. The situation al-
ready is serious enough to call for more ur-
gent consideration of the problem. Those who
already have moved in the direction of proper
integration have started their actions a decade
too late. But we must not view the situation
as being entirely too late for solution. If a way
can be found out of the dilemma, in the di-
rection of assuring proper integration, it can
well become the greatest achievement of 1966.
In viewing this problem, it is urgent that
the crime situation should be considered, that

the existing panic which has frightened many
people off the streets after dusk should be
obviated by an assurance that all elements
can work together to establish peace in our
On this score, we go along fully with the
view of the Civil Liberties Union that a "frisk-
ing" policy is not only undesirable but totally
un-American. The moment the right is given
to police to search suspects, without warrants
and due process of law, there will be in-
troduced a menace that could well affect in-
nocent citizens. Anything that might harm
the freedom of individuals should be averted.
The coming year which we commence
Saturday is fraught with many problems in-
volving our youth. Our desire to retain the
devotions of our college and other youths is a
continuing process. The situation is far from
hopeless. There has been a lessening of apolo-
getics over one's Jewishness. But that must
also be directed into a channel of creativity.
There is much that youth can do to share in
communal building. There are many duties
to be filled. There is much good to be accom-
plished. And there is a sacred heritage to
uphold. We must take these obligations into
consideration as we face the challenge of
There is the duty to oppressed Jewries
in many lands—and their numbers have de-
clined only by the scores of thousands who
have been provided with havens in Israel.
There are hundreds of thousands yet to be
rescued from oppression, and the efforts in
their behalf must be continued without hesi-
tation, with the same devotion that has ele-
vated American Jewry to a position of un-
precedented generosity.
The needs will be much greater during
the coming year and the funds that were pre-
viously available are declining. Reparations
from Germany, due to Jewry as of right, re-
paying Jews only in part for the great losses
suffered under Nazism, have ended. There
is even in the offing the danger that indemni-
fications urgently needed by sufferers from
Nazism will be deferred for two years.
Under such conditions, income for relief,
rehabilitation and reconstruction funds must
be increased. This is a compelling duty in
forthcoming fund-raising efforts.
There is also the new task of settling im-
migrants who will be admitted to the country
under the revised immigration act. Detroit
will share in this responsibility. There won't
be an avalanche of new settlers, but the num-
ber will be sufficient to demand additional
With the additional influx of Jews who
are leaving Cuba, this resettlement effort
adds to the duties of our community in the
basic responsibility assumed by American
Jews not to abandon the migrants, to provide
homes and jobs for them, to assure a proper
education for their children and to protect
the health of all who must find new homes
in this land of freedom.


And there also is the responsibility to
our educational media. Equally as urgent as
the funds for relief are the means necessary
for increased cultural efforts, for the training
of good teachers, for provisions for new
school buildings.
Our educational needs are major in the
community program of planning for the com-
ing year, and the priority we give to cultural
efforts must be retained.
These are but a few of the challenges
that will face us in 1966. There are many
others. They must be tackled with courage
and with the same dignity that has granted us
responsibility as American citizens and as
members of the Jewish community.

Plaut's 'Case for the Chosen
People' a Provocative Volume

To Dr. W. Gunther Plaut, senior rabbi of Toronto's Holy Blossom
Temple, who raises the question of the chosenness of Israel in his pro-
vocative book, "The Case for the Chosen People," published by Double-
day, the question is not "Who Is a Jew?" but "Why Is a Jew?" And his
answer is:

7` 13ecause there is God. In finding my people, I found Him; in
finding Him I found my people's purpose in history."

His new book is autobiographical. He describes his childhood in
Germany, the inspiration that led him to the rabbinate, the experience
under Nazism, his flight, his new freedom in this country.
He outlines his theological views and he asserts that "perhaps it is
our task today as Jews to be the bearer of social ideals, a whole nation
providing social ferment in every corner of the globe. Perhaps it is the
demand of our day — dimly grasped by some — that we be the cham-
pions of justice for others, not for ourselves."
In his appeal for strong Jewish adherence to faith and to the
ideals inherent in Jewish living, he points out that "separateness is the
yoke of the Jew."
He touches upon the question of "atheism," and he states: "I
do not debate here the question whether a rabbi can be an 'atheist'
as one practitioner seems to believe. What is an atheist in one man's
book is a believer in another's. The fact that a congregation can defend
its spiritual leader's right to call himself by such an ascription is
indication enough that in truth the rabbi's theological convictions ap•
pear to them to be marginal to his service. No rabbinical school except
an Orthodox one is likely to inquire into a man's belief. A British
chief rabbi declaring a colleague unfit to head an Orthodox congrega-
tion because he expressed certain progressive opinions raised a storm
of protest around the world. It was the man's practice, not his thoughts,
which should have been at issue, it was claimed. Heresy trials are re-
pugnant to Jews, and our history has been nearly free of such inquisi-
torial exercises."
He describes his own way to Sinai and outlines his views of the
rabbi's role, referring to his studies at the Reform rabbinical seminary
in Cincinnati and describing how he resorted to prayer, even though
other students did not, asserting: "Nolente volente I became a defender„-----N__/
of the Covenant of Israel and of all places, at a rabbinical seminary.",
He resorts to many authoritative sources in illustrating his
points and quotes the famous "it is in vain" portion of Jacob Wasser-
man's "Mein Weg als Deutscher und Jude" which concluded as a com-
mentary on anti-Semitism and the Jew's enigmatic role in the world:

"It is in vain to help them break the chains of slavery from
their arms. They say: 'He has probably made his profit doing so.
"It is in vain to neutralize the poison. They brew it afresh.
"It is in vain to live for them or to die for them. They say: 'Ile
is a Jew.' "

Many are the other references in this thought- provoking book
about "the role of the Jewish people yesterday and today."
Plaut came to Toronto's Holy Blossom Temple in 1961 after serving
congregations in Chicago and St. Paul for nine and 13 years, respective.
ly. He was born in Germany, studied to be a doctor of law just as
Hitler barred Jews from law practice, turned to religion and for three
years during the Second World War served as chaplain in the United
States Army. He was the first rabbi to bring a Sefer Torah back to
Germany and held the first free service in a German synagogue, in the
burned-out shell of the Cologne synagogue, in March 1945.
The republication, after 30 years, of Dr. Jacob Wasserman's
"Doctor Kerkhoven" by Liveright adds special interest to Dr. Plaut's
quotation in his new book from Wasserman's "Mein Weg als Deutscher
und Jude." Describing his disillusionment with the events that took
place in Germany just before Hitler's rise to power, Dr. Plaut now
states that "after all these years it (the Wasserman assertion) still
stands out clearly in my mind:"
It is in vain to adjure the nation of poets and thinkers in the name of its poets
and thinkers. Every prejudice that one believed overcome brings forth a

thousand new maggots like a carcass.
It is in vain to present the right cheek after the left one has been struck.
It does not make them hesitant in the least, it does not touch them, it does
not disarm them: they will strike the right cheek also.
It is in vain to cast words of reason into the raving tumult of words. They
say: "What, he dares to make a sound? Shut up his face!"
It is in vain to be an example. They say: "We know nothing, we have seen
nothing, we have heard nothing."
It is in vain to seek obscurity. They say: "The coward! His bad conscience
forces him to hide away."
It is in vain to go among them and offer them one's hand. They say: "flow
dare he with his Jewish pushiness!"
It is in vain to be loyal to them, either as a fellow fighter, or as a fellow
citizen. They say: "He is like Proteus, he can do anything."
It is in vain to help them break the chains of slavery from their arms. They
say: "He has probably made his profit doing so."
It is in vain to neutralize the poison. They brew it afresh.
It is in vain to live for them or to die for them. They say: "He is a Jew."

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