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September 09, 1966 - Image 34

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1966-09-09

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

34—Friday, September 9, 1966


George Jessel, 68 • Bride, 24

Psalms for Life

Editor's Note: The author of
this article. one-time executive
director of the United Pales-
tine Appeal in Detroit, now - re-
sides in Los Angeles and devotes
his time to writing and lectur-
ing. He is the president of the
Southern California Jewish His-
torical Society and he conducts
on a voluntary basis a number
of cultural projects in the Los
Angeles Jewish community.




The Book of the Psalms is the
first, the longest, and the most
celebrated book of the third di-
vision of the Bible, the Ketuvim.
It differs from other books in the
Bible in that it is not a narrative
or a series of writings of a single
person (though it is called the
Psalms of David), but a collection

Dr. Hugh J. Schoenfield might
be adjudged blasphemous by the
fundamentalists, by ultra-religious
Christians. But even those who
may reject what he writes in "The
Passover Plot" will be compelled
to study his views with the keen-
est interest.
In this interesting volume, pub-
lished by Bernard - Geis Associates
(130 E. 56th, NY22), the eminent
scholar, who has authored other
works on Jesus, on the Dead Sea
Scrolls and other biblical works,
among his best known being "The
Authentic New Testament," intro-
duces a new view on the Cruci-
fixion. He holds that Jesus, a bril-
liant young man, inspired, dedicat-
ed to Jewish life, was among those
who hoped for the liberation of the
Jews from the Roman yoke and
labored for it. In "The Passover
Plot" he contends that Jesus knew
he was to be crucified by Pilate
and the Romans, that he plotted to
save himself by taking drugs so he
would appear dead on the cross,
later to be revived and thus to en-
act a "miracle" which would lead
to deification.
The plot was for the body to be
immortalized, as an act of resurrec-
tion. But the plot was spoiled; a
Roman soldier's chance spear
pierced Jesus' heart and he died on
the cross. It resulted in a destiny
that he had not planned, that was
not anticipated by him and those
who knew of his intentions.
The Schoenfield theme is that
Jesus himself engineered the plot
for the Passover arrest because
according to Jewish custom he
would have to be taken down be-
fore the Sabbath, and therefore the
plot was for personal security—a
scheme that backfired, so the
author of "The Passover Plot" be-
lieves, by the Roman soldier's
It is not this alone that makes
the Schoenfield idea stand out as
an interesting contention regarding
Jesus. There is the long thesis to
e x p l a in that Jesus did not
believe himself to be the incarna-
tion of God—as it has developed in
Christian theology — but that he
was, indeed, the Messiah, the car-
rier of the messianic hope.
Yet throughout there also was
the Jesus hope for his people's re-
demption. It is Jesus the Jew who
is presented in "The Passover.
Contradictions in the Gospels,
differences of view in New Testa-
ipent :writings, asindicated by Dr.


The Young Judea concluded its
national convention here with the
adoption of a resolution calling on
the American Conference for Soviet
Jewry to establish a permanent
Organization, with a professional
staff and budget, so that it could
carry on an effective program to
alleviate the situation of Soviet
The organization elected David
Berg, of West New York, N.J., as
national president.
The resolution, approved by the
200 delegates of the organization,
said that "the present situation of
Russian Jewry is intolerable de-
spite the fact that utmost efforts
are being made to alleviate the
"More definite and permanent
action has to be undertaken by the
American Jewish community, and
a permanent staff for the American
Conference for Soviet Jewry is one
way to do it."
Another resolution called for im-
proved quality of Jewish education
which, it said, should encourage
unity and teach the basic unifying
concept of Israel and the Jewish
people. The resolution authorized
the establishment of a committee
to survey the quality of Jewish edu-
cation, and called for Young Judea
"pressure on adult organizations"
to fight for better Jewish educa-

of songs and writings of numerous
God-intoxicated individuals. It runs
the gamut of thought on religious
and spiritual matters in the form
of adoration, praise, supplication,
benediction—yes and malediction.
Its contents may be grouped also
as nature psalms (example, 104),
historical psalms (78), forgiveness
(51), and royalty (21 and 72).
There are liturgical, didactic and
lyrical psalms. It is the lyrical
psalms that are to me the glory
of the Book of Psalms, the most
universally read and loved of all
scriptural writings.
Statistics of the Psalms are of
interest. The Book of Psalms con-
sists of 150 chapters ranging in
length from Psalm 117 with its
two verses for each letter of the
Hebrew alphabet. The first 72
chapters of the Psalms are at-
tributed by the Book itself to King
David. And like the Book of Moses,
the Psalms consist of Five Books.
There is a special Psalm for each
day of the week. The Book is also
divided into seven divisions, one
for each day of the week, and into
30 divisions, one for ea c h day
of the month. Psalms 113 to 118
comprise the Hallel, recited on
Rosh Hodesh and on the Festivals.
Psalm 145 is used more than any
other Psalm in the Jewish prayer
book. The traditional Hebrew
Prayer Book incorporates 73 dif-
ferent Psalms and numerous pass- -
ages from other psalms.
Poets and folk-lorists composed
the Psalms over a period of 'ap-
pr oximately 1,000 years. It
has been said that while in the
rest of the Bible, God speaks to
man, in the Psalms man speaks
to God. It is man, the Psalmist
says, "who thirsts for God as
parched earth thirsts for rain" and
like the "hart that panteth after
the brooks of water," (42), man
yearns for God.
In times of stress and storm, I
am consoled by the Psalmist's af-
firmation: "The Lord is my light
and my salvation; whom shall I
fear?" (27) and the hope: "Surely
goodness and mercy shall follow
me all the days -of my life." (23)
When deeply troubled I have cried
out with David in his anguish:
"Out of the depths--have I cried
unto thee, 0 Lord hear my voice!"
And with the Psalmist I ask
(only he, in Psalm 139, asked it

Beware of little expenses; a
small leak will sink a great ship.
_ _

"Whither shall I go from Thy
Or whither, shall I. flee from Thy
presence? . . .

Schoenfield, will make his latest
study debatable. Nevertheless, the
extensive study does introduce
data, based on 'thorough analysis,
that will compel not only interest
in, his theory but the fullest respect
for his theological knowledge and
his mastery of the Scriptures.
The role- of Joseph of Arimathea
in relation to the Sanhedrin, mys-
teries involving biblical characters,
many unsolved problems remain,
regardless of the clarity which
must be conceded to the Schoen-.
field study. - _
In the main, the eminent biblical
student has made an important
contribution with his renewed
analyses of the conditions of Jesus'
time and the New Testament con-
tents. His book is well worth read-
ing and theologians will find a
study of it of immense value.

`Staff, Budget Needed
to Fight Soviet Bigotry'

To me, the most significant verse
in the Bible is contained in Psalm

"I shall not die, but live
. clare the works of the
And lde

To live for the purpose of growing
in wisdom and searching out the
mysteries of the unfathomable —
what a goal! Striking a nearly
similar note is the verse in Psalm

"Thou makest me to know the
path of life;
In Thy presence is fullness of


Mr. and Mrs. Charles Alfield,
21675 Stratford, Oak Park, an-
nounce the engagement of their
daughter Linda Ann to Dennis
Gary Dembs, son of Mr. and Mrs.
Nelson Dembs, 3221 Cambridge.
The bridegroom-to-be is a grad-
uate of the University of Miami,
Fla., where he was affiliated with
Beta Sigma Rho Fraternity.

If I were asked which 10 Psalms
of the 150 I love best, I would
have a hard choice to make. With
so many favorites I finally select
Psalms 8, 15, 19, 24, 30, 90, 98,
121, 126, and 131. Then would
come the choice of verses of the
chosen 10.
Psalm 133 brings the touching
"Behold how good and how pleas-
ant it is for brethren to dwell to-
Common sense is very uncom-
gether in unity." And with a grand
crescendo comes the final burst of mon.—Horace Greeley
the five Hallelujah songs with:
"Praise Him with the blast of

Entertainer George Jessel, 68, looks calm about it all as he poses
in Houston, Tex., with his new fiance, 24-year-old Audrey Magee.
She's a native of Midland, Tex., but lives in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Schoenfield's 'The Passover Plot'
Offers New Theory on Jesus' Death,
Conflict of Incarnation, Divinity

If I take the wings of the mor-
And dwell in the uttermost parts
of the sea;
Even there would Thy hand lead
Atcize 7hy right hand would hold

Linda Alfiel d Betrothed
to Dennis Gary Dembs


the horn;
Praise Him with the psaltery
and harp.
Praise Him with the timbrel and
dance; _
Praise Him with stringed instru-
ments and the pipe.
Praise Him with the loud-sound-
ing cymbals;

Praise Him with the clanging
Let everything that hath breath
praise the Lord.

The Psalms are inexhaustible.
There is no end to the various
readings ' and interpretations. Live
ten lifetimes, and one still has
much to learn from and about the
Psalms of the Bible. The sweet
singers of Israel have given bless-
ings and comfort to ancient man,
to medieval man, and they still
have a message, a meaning, and
1 an inspiration for modern man.

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