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September 09, 1966 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1966-09-09

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THE JEWISH NEWS

Fishing in Troubled Waters

Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with issue of July 20, 1951

Member American Association of English—Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press Association, National Editorial
Association.
Published every Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co., 17100 West Seven Mile Road, Detroit, Mich. 48235.
YE 8-9364. Subscription $6 a year. Foreign $7.
Second Class Postage Paid at Detroit, Michigan

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor and Publisher

CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ

SIDNEY SHMARAK

Business Manager

Advertising Manager

CHARLOTTE HYAMS

City Editor

Sabbath Scriptural Selections

This Sabbath, the 25th day of Elul, 5726, the following scriptural selections will be read in our

synagogues:
Pentateuch& portion, Deut. 29:9-31:30; Prophetical portion, Isaiah 61:10-63:9.

Licht Benshen, Friday, Sept. 9, 6:34 p.m.

Vol. L. No. 3

Page 4

Sept. 9, 1966

School Bells and Their Auditors

School bells rang again. The vacation has
ended, our children are back in their classes,
teachers have picked up where they had left
off less than three months ago, and with the
responsibilities of teaching and of learning
there also is a resumption of duties related
to many problems.
We are faced endlessly with the duty to
provide the best facilities, the ablest teachers,
the highest standards of training our youth.
But there are obstacles. There is the poverty
problem that creates classes and introduces
castes. There is the sad condition involving
the Haves and the Have-Nots. As a result,
many of the children in large communities —
Detroit is a typical example — have been
enrolled in private schools, the parochial
school has gained new status, and some of the
public schools have experienced a lowered
standard. The race issue has played a role
in the struggle for the highest ideals in our
educational system, and the controversies that
have ensued have caused irritations, have
inspired resentments and did not contribute
towards the spirit of good will that is vital
in assuring communal amity.
Those responsible for the advancement of
our educational values therefore face many
challenges, with accompanying obstacles. To
help them solve their problems, to assist
them in providing the best there is in educa-
tional merits, they should not be hindered.
Vitally needed funds must be provided for
the upkeep of our schools, and every effort
should be made to assure the improvement of
our teaching personnel.
*
*
*
That is why it is so vital that the extra
millage to be voted upon in November, to in-
crease the allocations to our elementary
school system, should be given the voters'
overwhelming approval.
The Jewish schools commence their
new year simultaneously with the public
schools. Many problems confront us on the
Jewish level. They are, in large measure,
more serious. The habit of turning Jewish
educational systems into Bar and Bat Mitzva
factories has to be overcome. We have come
to a stage of advocacy, by rabbis and others,
that the Bar Mitzva custom be abandoned
in order that education for education's sake
should become the aim of parents' desires
to enroll their sons and daughters in Jewish
schools.
Frank discussion of issues involved, of
the craving for improvements, of the need
to educate our people so that there should

be a better understanding of Jewish aims and
values, is helpful in the present situation.
Enough has been said to indicate that there
is a deplorable lack of knowledge about
things Jewish in Jewish ranks. Now we must
strive to improve conditions and to assure
adherence to wholesome, firm and practical
methods of pursuing our aims to assure
priority for Jewish education in Jewish
activities.
Such priority already has been conceded
and is practiced in many communities. Per-
haps even with the precedence in importance
already granted to educational programing
there is need for new and increased efforts
to encourage that every effort should be
exerted to improve upon the existing school
systems and to provide such facilities — no
matter what the cost — that will grant highest
status to the urge to learn.
This demands the attracting into our
Jewish school systems of the ablest men and
women as teachers. We must encourage young
American Jews to pursue the Jewish teaching
profession, and for that purpose the teaching
profession must be given the highest rating.
The teacher in our traditions is the person
who, as the guide of our children, possesses a
high rank in Jewish life. Teachers with a
sense of responsibility to our community can
and should be partners in the great task of
assuring that our schools will be the inde-
structible citadels of Jewry.
*
*
*
The opening of a new school year carries
with it the admonition of the importance of
the school and of the responsibility of the
Jewish community not only for the training
of the youth but also for the education of the
elders. In a letter he had written in 1915, the
great Jewish philosopher, Ahad HaAm, stated:
"The heart of the Jewish people has
always been in the Bet HaMidrash; there
was the source from which they drew the
strength and the inspiration that enabled
them to overcome all difficulties and with-
stand all persecutions. If we want to go
on living, we must restore the center to
the Bet HaMidrash, and make that once
more the living source of Judaism."
This applies to the elementary school, it
encourages advanced secondary education, it
demands that adults should never stop learn-
ing if they wish to be wholesome elements in
an honored community. The realization of
this ideal is the chief concern of Jewry in our
traditions and the major appeal to us in our
time.

All Extremists Menace Our Way of Life

The hooded Klansmen had been treated
with derision, and it was believed that they
had been reduced to such minuteness that
they could not possibly emerge anew as a
force threatening democracy. But they seem
to have gained new life. Acquiring the
swastika as a symbol in the battle against
civil rights, the Ku Klux Klan now is visible
more in the northern communities, much
more in the Midwest, especially in Chicago
and in Wisconsin communities, than in the
South.
Not only have the bigoted elements re-
constructed their hate movements, using
the Negro as an object of their venom, but
they have made all justice-loving elements
their targets.

Even more disturbing is the fact that by
their actions the KKK and their allies, in-
cluding now the American Nazi Party, are
forcing people who hitherto refrained from
seeking legislation to outlaw bigotry to resort
to measures that would prohibit the display
of the swastika and would curtail public ex-

pressions relating to racial, religious and na-
tionality subjects.
It had been a basic principle of civil liber-
ties proponents that freedom of speech
should be adhered to, that there should be
no interference with the right to expression
of views by anyone. The views of the civil
libertarians has been that only through free
discussion can the bigots be ferreted from
decent society. That principle has been
weakened by the actions of the Nazi party
and the KKK in Chicago, by the appeals to
rioting under guise of "white power" forces
who seek to destroy the "black power." While
the aims of both such powers are contrary
to American ideas, the emergence of Nazism,
the evils of which involved this country in
a war that cost us hundreds of thousands of
casualties and has dragged us into sad Euro-
pean involvements, and the rebirth of the
KKK, as "white power" symbols, compel
action that would otherwise be most regret-
table.
All extremists menace American freedom.
They must be driven out of public life.

Jewish Traditions Evaluated

Dr. Baeck's Views on Pharisaism,
Mysticism, Character of Judaism

Seven - of the very important essays by the • late Dr. Leo Baeck,
chief rabbi of Berlin who survived the terror of the Theresienstadt
concentration camp, are now available in a paperback issued by
Schocken Books (67 Park, NY 16). "The Pharisees and Other Essays"
contains in addition to the titled article these essays by the eminent
scholar:

"Tradition in Judaism," "Judaism in the Church," "Origin of
Jewish Mysticism," "Greek and Jewish Preaching," "Two World Views
Compared" and "The Character of Judaism."

*

.

-

S

The introduction by Dr. Krister Stendahl of the Harvard Divinity
School adds special merit to this collection of important essays. Dr.
Stendahl declares that the defining of the Pharisees is of special
significance to Christians "since the teaching of Jesus and much early
Christian material - is available to us only in its sharp critique of and
contrast to the Pharisees." The Christian theologian thereupon states
that while Baeck was "not blind to the grave faults of many a follower
of Pharisaism," he is "anxious to retain the positive connotation of
`holy community' as the essential one in his presentation of the
Pharisees. Thus he gives significant attention to how this community
liberates Judaism from the priestly, the cultic and the Temple."

This Christian viewpoint and comment is noteworthy, since
Dr. Baeck states about the Pharisees, in positive fashion: ,"Phari-
saism represents a great attempt to achieve the full domination
of religion over life, both over the life of the individual and the
life of the collectivity; an effort to exalt religion beyond a merely
auxiliary role in the life of man, the community and the state.
It took the idea of saintliness in earnest; it responded in deadly
earnest to the summons to make life, including daily life, conform)
to the ideal — the summons in which the Pharisees discovered
their function and their justification: " 'Ye shall sanctify your-
selves and be holy—ye shall be Perushim.' Pharisaism was an
heroic effort to prepare the ground for the kingdom of God

, 1, 1.0--/
The Christian's comments are additionally interesting in his evp
tion of the other essays, indicating demarcations, emphasizing
ences, at the same time showing the deepest respect for Baeck's
view of what he called "the essence of Judaism."

*

*

*

Thus, the republished Baeck essays serve as material to inspire
the dialogues that take place between Christians and Jews. It is in
the essay "The Character of Judaism" that Baeck asserts:
"The history of Judaism has passed beyond the boundaries
dividing the Jewish people and Judaism from the rest of the world,
Two great historical forms of world religion, a world philosophy, and
a world socialism have arisen from it, and they can endure only so
long as they remain true to their origin. Wherever they have attempted
to negate Judaism, they themselves were negated.. Thus certain

essential ideas and elements of Judaism have become part of mankind's
heritage. One might divide the world of man into two domains: the
one, into which something of the power of this spirit has penetrated,
and the other, into which it has not, or as yet has not, penetrated.
"And amidst all this, the people of Judaism, caught up in the

history of, every epoch, led and often driven, endures and moves
forward, knowing that its life depends upon its faithfulness to Judaism,
and thus to itself. It exists in its particularity, in the singularity of
its spirit, of its will and of its trust; it is particular even in the fact
that it clings to its old land. It exists in its universality as a people
of mankind, universal even where it has taken deep root in a particular j

soil."
In his comments on Jewish mysticism, Dr. Baeck states that "it

acquired a messianic tone," that "its aim was not to release man
from will and from the world, but to reconcile human will and the

world with God, and to bring the beyond clown to this earth, to trans-
form the Sabbath, to whose poetry all its love is directed, into the
breath of the world, into the life and fulfilment of mankind."

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