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Photostatic Reproduction of Statement by Russian Jew
Reproduced from our Issue of Oct. 23, 1964
Story on Pages 1 and 48
Dr. Philip Birnbaum's 'Fluent Hebrew' Fills
Great Need as an Outstanding New Textbook
Rabbi Philip Birnbaum is espe- ances and several score other ex-
"The vowel-signs below and above
cially known as the translator of periences that mark life in Israel.
the consonants were invented not
the prayer books. He has authored
Dr. Birnbaum's introduction
scholarly w o r k s that have en- merits special attention. He earlier than the sixth century to
riched the Jewish library. His points out that "one cannot represent to the eye the exact pro-
'Jewish Concepts" is a volume so understand the Jewish people nunciation of the words. They
were introduced by medieval Jew-
meritorious that its definitions of
understanding the He- ish scholars known as Masorites,
basic Jewish terms and ideas be- without
brew language, in which the
flourished in Tiberias. They
come f u 11 y understandable and prophets expressed their noble who
they serve as a guide to Jewish ideas and the Jews communi- are not necessary for the practiced
reader, and are omitted in most
cated their sufferings and joys." printed texts. Tora scrolls must
He has embarked on a new
He refers to a statement that not be vocalized. If vocalized, a
field, and his newest work, the was made by a philosopher-poet
Sefer Tora would be regarded
textbook, "Fluent Hebrew," is that "it is worthwhile studying the merely as a regular Hebrew Pen-
such a fascinating bilingual prod- Hebrew language for 10 years in tateuch. The oldest vocalized Bible
uct, so well filled with reading order to read Psalm 104 in the manuscripts in existence date from
material properly graded for stu- original."
the ninth century.
dents of varying backgrounds, that
"In addition to the Tiberian sys
Explaining the forms of the He-
it will emerge as one of the most
important books for schools and brew language and its alphabet, tem of Hebrew vocalization, two
Dr. Birnbaum provides this basic other systems have been discov-
ered, the Babylonian and the Pal-
Issued by Hebrew Publishing
estinian. The main difference be-
Co. (77 Delaney, NY2) "Fluent
tween the current Tiberian system
Hebrew" is unique in many re- Foundation to Grant Funds and the other two is in the position
spects. It combines grammar with
of the vowel-signs. The Tiberian
introductions to proper acquisition for Jewish Studies
system, which has superceded its
of a Hebrew vocabulary. It has
NEW YORK (JTA)—The Memo- rivals, is sublinear, the vowels
the merits of covering all aspects rial Foundation for Jewish Culture being placed under the letters; the
of life. The "reading units" are announced that it expects to allo- other two are superlinear, with the
most instructive. The grammar cate funds for the academic year vowels above the letters."
portion is clearly delineated. Of 1967-68, as it has in the past.
In this work, Dr. Birnbaum,
special interest is the section de-
The foundation aids programs the eminent scholar, emerges
voted to "Styles of Hebrew" in calling for the development of also as the pedagog. He evalu-
which are introduced passages teacher training in Jewish subjects, ates the capacity for learning of
from biblical and talmudic lore.
rabbinical training, and assists in adults as well as children and
"Styles of Hebrew" has sev- the establishment of chairs in Ju- he
admonishes, in designating
eral sections — Biblical, Mish- daica at colleges and universities, this work for use in schools as
naic, Liturgical, Rabbinic, Jour- the publication of Jewish textbooks well as for independent study in
nalistic and Spoken. Each group and the development of Jewish homes, that formal grammatical
is marked by a fascinating ap- educational programs for students
knowledge is necessary. He
proach. The Spoken Ilebr e w at colleges and universities.
states: "One has to listen to a
part is unique. It contains a ser-
Allocations also will be grant-
language as much as possible,
ies of advertisements in Israeli
to read it extensively, paying at-
ed in aid of research and publi-
Hebrew newspapers reflecting
tention to pronunciation, syntax,
cation programs in Jewish fields
the adaptions to Hebrew speech
usage and idiom. If a teacher
undertaken by universities and
and life's tempo in Israel. Thus,
keeps correcting grammatical
Dr. Birnbaum goes to the root
errors, the students may end up
with special attention given to
of his subject to attain the best
by hesitating to speak the
the period of the Nazi holocaust.
language at all for fear that
Aid will be granted too toward
In the Liturgical Hebrew Unit the
they may make mistakes. Some
translation and publication
and in the Rabbinic Hebrew sec-
authors attribute the rapid pro-
tion he utilizes quotations from the
gress that children make in
prayer book, ethical teachings and
learning a language to the fact
erature in Jewish fields for chil-
that they are not concerned with
dren and youth.
In addition to the well organized
grammar units there is a splendid
A pictorial s e c t i o n, "Tiyur
vocabulary unit containing phrases scholarship and fellowship pro- blsrael" — a tour of Israel — is
and idioms and supplemented by grams. It will grant scholarships inserted in the center of the book,
65 groups of words the knowledge to university students specializing printed
on book stock. It has an
of which surely would assure mas- in a Jewish field on a graduate additional
level, and fellowships to persons basic words glossary
tery of Hebrew.
of that section.
In the reading units will be
Dr. Birnbaum's "F luent He-
found a totality of human experi- projects in Jewish scholarships, brew"
fills a vital need. It is one
ence. Starting with the school, con- literature and fine arts.
of many Hebrew textbooks, yet it
tinuing through historical episodes,
Applications are to be submitted is unique — because of its ap-
geographic settings, Israel's role before the end of December to the proach, its use of sources dealing
and the struggles that marked the Memorial Foundation for Jewish with Jewish codes of laws and
emergence of the State, this sec- Culture here. The applications ethics. It is an excellent work and
tion also contains portions dealing should contain detailed descrip- its publishers deserve commenda-
with Jewish humor, tourism, ma- tions of the programs and projects tion for having produced another
jor cities in Israel, holiday observ- for which funds are requested.
classic by the eminent scholar.
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Friday, November 18, 1966
Novosti Reports Babi Yar Plaque
Has Been Installed at Massacre Site
The USSR Embassy's press de-
partment this week submitted to
The Jewish News a report from its
Novosti Press Agency (APN)
which maintains that a marble
plaque announcing plans to erect
a monument honoring the Babi Yar
martyrs has been installed
on the site w h e r e anywhere
from 60,000 to 200,000 Jews were
murdered by the Nazis. The exact
figure of the number of martyrs
varies in numerous quotations.
The Novosti report from Kiev
"S. Rabinovich. a special cor-
respondent of APN, reports from
Kiev that a large marble plaque
has been ceremoniously installed
in the center of Babi Yar. The in-
scription reads: 'A monument to
the Soviet people, victims of fas-
cism in the years of the temporary
occupation of Kiev in 1941-1943,
will be put up here.'
"Thousands of Kievites came to
pay homage to the dead. When the
marble plaque was unveiled, An-
ton Palchomov, chairman of the
executive committee of the Soviet
of Deputies of Kiev's Shevchenko
district, opened the meeting.
" 'In the years of the fascist oc-
cupation,' he said, the sufferings
of the population of our city were
boundless—every third Kievite met
a martyr's death. Kiev lay in ruins
—its streets were mutilated beyond
" 'In the past 23 years, we have
not only healed our wounds but
built new beautiful streets, ave-
nues and whole neighborhoods. But
we shall never forget Babi Yar
and the neightma.rish crime the
Nazi butchers committed here. We
remember you, the martyrs of Babi
Yar! We shall do all so that the
Babi Yar tragedy should never
"Nikolai Kiyanitsa, a Ukrainian,
a worker of the cable factory, said
with what sadism the Nazis de-
stroyed the Jewish population of
the city, Soviet prisoners of war,
partisans, civilians of the Ukrain-
ian, Russian and other nationali-
"Leonid Bernshtein, the former
commander of a partisan unit, now
a factory director, said: 'Here . in
Babi Yar, every inch of the soil
is drenched in the blood of our
near and dear ones, scores of
thousands of innocent people—old
men, women and children. We say
again and again: we shall never
forget and never forgive. Those
guilty of the tragedy of Babi Yar
and many other Nazi death camps
should fully answer for their
crimes. This should be done in the
name of the future of our children.'
"The meeting is over. To the
sounds of a funeral march the
delegations of the state and pub-
lic organizations lay wreaths at the
foot of the marble plaque.
"Soon a veritable hill of fresh
flowers was heaped up there."
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