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August 26, 1966 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1966-08-26

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Purely Commentary

New School Year . . . Major Educational
Problems . . . Oddities in World News

big man, always carried a stick and was always in good humor—
A new year is commencing for our public schools and now, even except once, when, in Tel Aviv, he was angered because this commen-
more seriously, our community is confronted with problems involving tator's wife happened to take a glance at his big feet: she was in-
many issues related to the standards all of us would like to see estab- trigued by the size of his shoes.
He gained recognition: he was buried in a cemetery at Kinneret,
lished on the highest possible level in our educational system. The
trend towards a "racial balance," the transfer of children from areas where many great Zionist leaders found their final resting place, in-
to areas in order to accomplish such an intermingling of pupils from cluding Dr. Nahum Syrkin, Berl Katznelson, B. Borochov and others.
Many will bless his memory because he injected humor in Jewish
several areas in order to assure thorough intention.
life and lent spice to Zionist politics.
In the course of effecting the most desirable methods in advancing
the standards of our school system, the major burden this year will Ecumenism and the Daily Prayers
fall upon a distinguished member of our community, Dr. Norman
According to the Royal Oak Daily Tribune, a nun, reporting on her
Drachler, who has been elevated to the post of acting superintendent cloistered life, told of "different prayer intention" apportioned daily as
by the Detroit Board of Education, possesses all the qualities necessary
for school direction. He is one of our city's ablest educators. He has follows:
"Sunday is devoted to the Pope, Church, Cardinals, Bishops and all
gained nationwide recognition as a teacher and as an administrator Christian rulers; Monday, sinners, heretics, Jews and pagans; Saturday,
of schools. His studies embrace all the necessary qualifications for parents, relatives, benefactors; Thursday, the dying, souls in Purgatory
one of the most challenging posts in the country. His community affili- and unborn children."
ations similarly reflect his devotion to human needs and to communal
So we are still among the infidels? Perhaps the Vatican's Ecumeni-
cal decisions have not yet reached the cloisters.
Detroit has reason to be proud of the new superintendent of
schools and to rejoice over the decision of the Board of Education
An Important Voice Is Stilled
that he should supervise our school needs.
A most important voice is stilled. The death of the New York
While acclaiming Dr. Drachler's elevation to the highest post in Herald
Tribune marks the end of an important era in journalism.
our educational system, we recognize also that he faces serious prob- It removes
from the scene one of the great defenders of human rights.
lems. He has inherited conditions that are certain to tax his own
As a medium of communications it was supreme. Many considered
energies and those of his associates, as they already affect the Board it vastly more important than the always bulky New York Times
of Education. One of the very serious issues that will confront him is, because it was so much more readable; it contained the meat of news
no doubt, the problem of "racial balance." In an editorial entitled if it did not carry full texts. It was never as complete. but it had a
"Breaking Up Neighborhood Schools," the National Observer treated popular appeal. Yet, it collapsed! and its collapse should inspire study
the subject as follows:
of conditions: why cannot a great newspaper survive, in spite of labor
"The U.S. Office of Education has just reported to Congress troubles?
its two-year study on equality of educational opportunities in the
The Herald Tribune was the mouthpiece of those who upheld
nation, and it's about as unsurprising as possible.
the highest traditions in the Republican Party. The loss of a voice
"The study concluded, primarily, that predominantly Negro for the GOP is in itself cause for sincere regret. How else are we
schools aren't as good as predominantly white schools. Although to continue and to uphold and protect and assure the continuation of
the report itself contained no recommendations, the public state- a two-party system, the very guaranteeing sustenance for the American
ments of Harold Howe II, the Commissioner of Education, indi- way of life, except through proper news media, through most dignified
cate what he wants to do. He wants to rearrange children so that communications?
as many schools as feasible will have some sort of 'racial balance.'
The Herald Tribune's disappearance from the New York scene
"That will not be easy for Mr. Howe. The fact is, a lot of reduces the number of newspapers in the great metropolis so dras-
Americans want their children to go to school in their own neigh- tically that there is cause for concern. There is not only monopoly:
borhood—and for reasons that have nothing to do with prejudice. there seems to be a lack of interest that is appalling. Well may we
Neighborhood schools mean, in many cases, that children go to hope that the overwhelming New York Times will perpetuate a tradi-
school with their playmates, giving them something more in com- tion for very high goals in journalism and that companion newspapers,
mon; avoid crossing busy thoroughfares, railroad tracks, and which have survived the epidemic of newspaper deaths,' will emulate
ditches; can walk to school; can get there and home faster; can the best in newsdom so that the field of communications may be
come home for lunch. And parent groups are usually more active enriched even though it is reduced in numbers.
when it is the neighborhood that is involved.
"But Mr. Howe has a major weapon—spell it Money. The Moses Hadas
the World's Foremost Classicist
A colleague of Dr. Moses Hadas had said: "Professor Hadas makes
Federal government is more and more a direct financial sup-
porter of education; it is legally committed to encourage de- blood run through the classics." That is why the eminent scholar who
segregation, and its leaders seem firmly convinced that they have died last week gained worldwide recog-
the right and duty to use financial leverage toward that end.
nition and gained the right to hold the
"Few who have observed the schools doubt the truth of the oldest Columbia University chair—the post
report—that, generally, Negro schools aren't as good as white of Jay Professor of Greek.
ones. If someone can improve all the schools by desegregating
He was a man of great charm and his
them, the country would be better off.
mastery of Greek and Hebrew, his authori-
"As yet, there is no guarantee of this. Furthermore, desegre- tative position as a classicist who could
-gation isn't the only problem facing American education . . . well have been considered the leading
Improving Negro schools in Negro neighborhoods is a better answer. scholar in the field of Hellenist-Jewish his-
"There may be something to lose in breaking up one of the torical relationships, elevated him to a
keystones of American education. Such a course could help frac- greatly admired and highly revered role.
ture the society. Mr. Howe will be resisted, and by citizens who
He had authored many books and he
care as much about their schools as he."
distinguished himself as a translator of
Transfer of children from one school area to another already has important Hebrew classics into English. He
been instituted in New York, with some unpleasant results, and is rendered • into an admirable English the
being tried in Detroit. There are mixed feelings about the new plan Hebrew work "The Book of Delight" by
which is considered so vital as a "racial balance" but which meets Joseph ben Meir Zabara, in addition to
with much resentment when children now near their schools are re- having translated other Hebrew classics.
Detroit's Midrasha brought him here
quired to transfer to other areas and to resort to transportation be-
on one occasion for one of its lecture series.
cause of the distances involved.
It was a rewarding occasion for this corn- Prof: Hadas
Dr. Drachler is a practical man. He is a person of courage. We
have confidence that he will not yield to panic in facing the many munity to become acquainted with him, and his was a lecture long to
issues that will confront him. We sincerely hope that he will meet with be remembered—just as the acquisition of knowledge about the Greek
classics, by reading his books, serves to increase the admiring large
success in solving all his- problems.
public that had learned to respect him for his learning.

Commencement of a New School Year: Detroit's Superintendent


By Philip

Remnant of
Greek Jewry:
Historic Past

"It has been found in writing,
concerning Spartans and the
Jews, that they are brethren, of
the stock of Abraham.—Apocry-
pha, I Maccabees.
ATHENS, Greece—There are ap-
proximately 3,500 Jews left in
community today. Its synagogu
active and has regular services.
the Sabbath during the summer;
the services started at 7 a.m. and
ended at 9 a.m.,and the community
hosted tourists at a kiddush with
Beth Scialom Synagogue at 5
Melidoni Street faces an older syna-
gogue that had been taken over by
the Joint Distribution Committee
and was turned into a clinic. There
is a school and a community center.
JDC activities are directed by
Lydia Eskenazy, a native of Greece,
a woman who is well informed
and who is dedicated to her tasks.
When the Detroiters were on the
brief visit here she was busy guid-
ing a tour of young UJA leaders.
The victims of Nazism have been
honored. The surviving residents
retain memories of the past. Greece
before Nazism had a Jewish popu-
lation of close to 80,000. Now less
than 6,000 remain.
At one time Salonika, famous
for its Jewish seafring popula-
tion, had 26,000 Jews. Now only
1,200 remain. There are small
Jewish communities throughout
the land. As elsewhere through-
out Europe, the Greek Jewish
community is a skeleton of the
past. A settlement that dates
back 2,000 years now has a rem-
nant of Jewry. But the remnant
loyally continues its traditions.
At the World Jewish Congress in
Brussels, where Yiddish predomi-
nated and was recognized on a par
with Hebrew, there was a lone
voice that demanded recognition
for Ladino, th disappearing dialect
of Spanish Jewry. In Greece Jews
spoke Hebrew and Ladino was a
factor in communications. Today it
is one of the remaining commun-
ities where Jews speak Spanish—
they are, of course, fluent in Greek
—and Ladino retains a minor hold.
Rich in historic backgrounds,
Greek Jewry lends itself to deep
study as to links with Spanish
Jewry—many had fled the Inquisi-
tion to settle there — and with
Jewry everywhere.
Many interesting and historical
facts are worth recording when
writing about Greek Jewry.
There were Jews in Greece in
the third century before the
The Remarkable Robert St. John
Christian era: in the Book of
It is no wonder that Robert St. John has been chosen to write Maccabees it is told that there
the volume on Jews and Judaism in the series on world religions
a pact between Sparta anfl.,
planned by Doubleday. He visits Israel perenially, wherever he goes was
the Jews in the third cent
he studies Jewish conditions, and he follows up on Jewish news
that it renewed during
wherever he may be. He has made another tour of the Middle East BCE,
reign of High Priest Jonath'
and European countries, and he and his wife Ruth report to us as
(161-143 BCE) and the histori..__
Tourettes-sur-Lovp, Olpes Maritime, France — three great and philosopher Philo wrote
clays with James Waterman Wise (son of Stephen) and his wife, about Jewish communities in
Greece before the Christian era.
Florence and Venice — The Italians lead the World today in
Jewish communities in the Thes-
the creation of beauty.
saly cities of Larissa and Volos
Prague — A grim city made grimmer by thousands of names have 460 and 320 Jews, -respec-
inscribed in black on the white walls of several • rooms in the tively. There are 103 Jews in Ioan-
Jewish Museum.
nina. Epirus. There are functioning
Lidice — All the flowers and wreaths bore the names of the rabbis in all above-mentioned com-
donors — mostly E. & W. German clubs and organizations!
munities and there are Jews in /2
Budapest — Almost as gay as when last seen in 1940, only other known Jewish centers in
now all the people instead of just a few share in the city's Greece, numbering from 11 to 130
registered Jews in each.
Bucharest — It is beyond belief, but corruption at all levels
In World War II, fighting on
seems to have vanished.
the Albanian front, there were
Sofia — Once a country town, it is now on the way to becom- 7,000 enlisted Greek Jews. Among
ing a big industrial city.
their heroes was Col. Mordecai
Nicosia — We were there just before a bomb blew up the Frizis who was killed in action.
post office. A sad place.
Relations between Israel and
Beirut — Becoming fabulously rich as the Switzerland of the
Greece are friendly, but full recog-
Middle East.
Israel — Everywhere growth, expansion, problems, sun, won- nition by Greece has been withheld
derful beaches, every tenth person an artist (amateur or profes- from Israel, due, it is believed, to
the residence in Egypt of 200,000
This is, indeed, the brief report of a remarkable man. He is a good
observer and much is to be expected from him in the books to come, THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
2—Friday, August 26, 1966
based on his new experiences.

The New Millage Proposal

At the moment, the subject of primary concern is the adoption
of the new millage proposal to assure uninterrupted progress in the
Detroit school system. The Board of Education's new request, which
is being placed on the Nov. 8 ballot, should be approved by an over-
whelming vote, as an indication that our community is deeply inter-
ested in the city's educational needs.
If Dr. Norman Drachler's hands are to be upheld in the difficult
tasks he faces as the schools' superintendent, one of the objectives in
the coming weeks should be to mobilize support for the new millage
proposal so that he should not be handicapped in his activities by
lack of financial support.





Mit Die Groisse Fiss

What a Character!

He was known only as "Choneh" and he pronounced it "Chooneh"
("Hooneh"). Very few knew that his name was Elhanan Mozdof, and
only his obituary, published after his death at a Holon home, near
Tel Aviv, on Aug. 6, finally identified him publicly by his right name.
Choneh was one of the eminent characters in American Jewish
life before finally settling in Israel. When David Schwartz wrote a
feature article for us about him some years back, Choneh loved it !
He displayed it for years.
On every one of our trips to Israel, he was certain to locate us—.
whether it was in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv or Haifa. He had very large
meet and was known as "Choneh mit die groisse fiss." He was the Fal-
staff of the Zionist movement. He gave the appearance of a clown,
but he was much more than that. He knew every leader in Zionism,
was aware of every action behind the scenes and was able to gain
entrance anywhere.
He once went to Washington, entered the office of Supreme Court
Justice Louis D: Brandeis, said to him, "Louie, gib mir finf-un-tzwantzig
Boller," and got it !
Louis Lipsky wrote about him—as did many others. Lipsky once
said that Choneh had claims to being intellectual because he had never
done a day's work in his life and lived by his wits.
Stories about him will be told for many years to come. He was a


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