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November 25, 1966 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1966-11-25

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Purely Commentary

An Impressive

Movement in Behalf of Yiddish

An interesting movement has developed in New York under the
leadership of a group calling itself "Bnai Yiddish — Geselshaft zu
Beshitzen dem Koved fun Yiddishen Loshen" — an organization for
the protection of the honor of the Yiddish language.
With headquarters at 387 Grand Ave., under the chairmanship
of Lazar Becker, with Itzchok Kozlovsky as secretary, the group has
issued a "Statement by the `Bnai Yiddish' Society which reads:
The Yiddish language and Yiddish culture were, for many
hundreds of years, a force that held the Jews the world over
together. In the Yiddish language we expressed our joys and
sorrows, created values that enlightened our spirit. The Tora
was taught to Jewish children in the Yiddish language.
Wherever the Yiddish language prevailed Yidishkayt flour-
ished in a myriad of colors and wherever the Yiddish language
was removed from the education of the Jewish child, Yidishkayt
took a terrific decline and is still going down with tremendous
The Yiddish language was and still is the foundation of and
the safeguard for our national survival and a bulwark against
In order to preserve these basic national values, the "Bnai
Yiddish" Society was founded for the following purpose:
1) To unite all nationally conscious Jewish people in the
United States into an effective movement that shall, in a sys-
tematic and planned manner, combat the tendency towards as-
similation which has become rampant in the Jewish community
and which is encouraged by assimilationist leaders in many large
Jewish organizations. This is a threat to our very continuity.
2) It is the firm conviction of the "Bnai Yiddish" Society that
this tendency of these assimilationist leaders is not accidental. It
has its roots in the fact that these people have become estranged
from Jewish life and have lost sight of their Jewish roots. Jewish
continuity and survival do not seem to be their concern. We
therefore regard the assimilationist leaders as a dangerous ele-
ment, a threat to our future; particularly when the majority of
the Jewish people still consider them as their own flesh and blood.
3) It will be the task of the "B'nai Yiddish" Society in the
various communities to expose their leaders; to conduct energetic
educational campaigns in order to convince every nationally con-
scious Jew that any person who thinks of himself as a Jew, yet at
the same time, manifests no desire to know Yiddish, cannot assume
the position of leadership of the Jews of today. The people will
have to make every effort to change these leaders for those steeped
in Jewish tradition and interested in our future.
4) In order that the "B'nai Yiddish" Societies not become
isolated, they will have to draw in the young people who attend
the Yiddish classes in High Schools and Colleges, and found
divisions of the "B'nai Yiddish Youth" affiliated to the parent or-
ganizations. This is of PARAMOUNT importance.
5) The "B'nai Yiddish" Societies will be open for membership
to all—religious and secular—all who are interested in preserv-
ing and cherishing our cultural values. Political problems will not
be included in our field of interests.
This is a rather exciting project. Yiddish is generally viewed as
declining, as losing ground rapidly. Yet, it has adherents who will
never say die, who labor for the advancement of the language, who
strive to give it new vitality.
Some very prominent names are appended to the above quoted
appeal. Of special interest is the inclusion in that list of the name
of Prof. Abraham Heschel. His field, after all, is not in the Yiddish
sphere, yet he has joined a call for the protection of the honor of
Even the courage such a statement gives to the elders who hold
fast to Yiddish gives the above statement great significance. Will it
reach the hearts of the youth? Will it gain new adherents? That's
doubtful. Nevertheless, if the "Bnai Yiddish" group can protect the
treasures that stem in the literary world from the Yiddish writings,
it will already have earned its glory.

Yiddishists Make Valiant
Revival Effort . . . Role of
Hebrew in 2 District Ranks

Jewish Archives

Siomovitz Wins Rare Award

of the situation, that arguments justifying the absence of cultural ,
facilities for Soviet Jews on the grounds of linguistic assimilation
only rationalize the fact that Jews are deprived of choice. If 487,786
Jews, who registered their mother-tongue as Yiddish in the 1959
census, have no schools to which they can send their children, few
books in their mother-tongue, no newspapers and only a single
periodical, and 479,587 Mari-speaking Maris do have schools, hun-1
dreds of books, ten newspapers and five periodicals, it becomes
clear that Jews are being compelled to do without their own culture
and are thus being denied national rights available to others. Their
position in this unfortunate respect is unique. No other ethnic
minority suffers the same disadvantage."
These facts are part of the tragedy of the Jewish position in
the Soviet Union.

Anti Zionist Judaism Council Has Its Say


Jews as a community have been
making history in North America
for more than 300 years, and since
1947 the American Jewish Archives
on the Cincinnati campus of the
Hebrew Union College-Jewish In-
stitute of Religion has labored to
document the American Jewish ex-
perience. Under the direction of
Dr. Jacob R. Marcus, who holds
the Kutz Distinguished Service
Professorship in Jewish History at
the College-Institute, the archives
assembled some 3,000.000 pages of
source material. In October, 1966
the archives itselt_ made hist,-
when it received an award of
from the American Associatio-
State and Local History "fok
distinguished program of collec-
tion and preservation of historical
data relating to American Jews
carried out over the past twenty
years." The Archives is the first
institute for Jewish historical re-
search to become the recipient of
such an award.

Even the American Council for Judaism—the anti-Zionist and all-
too-often anti-Israel movement—has its opinions on Hebrew. It's rather
unusual, but its "Education in Judaism" bulletin currently was devoted
to a discussion ow "The Study of Hebrew." After presenting a favor-
able viewpoint, its editor dissented—again resorting to the old argu-
ment that "Zionists propagandize in English" to pressure Hebrew by
specifying it "as the language of 'the Jewish nation' with Israel as its
center", etc., etc.
But even the anti-Zionist Council can't act as an opponent of
Hebrew, so its spokesman proposes that Hebrew and Judaica chairs
should be established in colleges because scholarly command of Hebrew
is not being attained anyway. Then there is the compromise "to use
Hebrew to enrich the religious school curriculum where it is clearly
The director and his staff of
functional. Even nursery school children can learn the S'hema by rote." seven full-time workers, for nearly
Actually, the Council does not oppose Hebrew. It is merely skep- two decades have been working to
tical about it and it challenges those who would accept it as the spoken build up and make available to
language of a living people.
scholars the largest, best organized
In the meantime there is the established view of Christian scholars collection of American Jewish
that it is worth learning Hebrew even if only to be able to recite a manuscript material — originals,
single Psalm in the original. And in spite of what the Council photostats, and microfilms — to be
ideologists propagate Hebrew has become a spoken tongue, it is the found anywhere in the world.
language of the Jewish community of Israel, and it is the tongue for
There are thousands of docu-
prayers in synagogues—for all factions in Judaism.
It is a gain that the Judaism Council finds it difficult to battle ments illuminating the careers of
against Hebrew, except for its fear that it may be called the language leading twentieth-century Jews like
of a Jewish nationality group. Goyim hearing such an argument Jacob H. Schiff, Felix M. Warburg,
probably laugh their heads off over such self-hatred. Jews merely Louis Marshall, Louis D. Brandeis,
shake their heads in amazement: what else can they do but be Stephen S. Wise, William Rosenau
and David Philipson, as well as
Matching Russian and Judaism Council cynicism with the love for earlier figures like the Gratz broth-
Hebrew in Jewish tradition and the admiration for the language by ers of eighteenth-century Philadel-
Christian scholars, it is still the Holy Tongue that has also become a phia and Aaron Lopez of colonial
people's medium of expression.

Eshkol Confers
on Desalination
With U.S. Leaders

officials said the plan for United
States-Israel joint development of
a $200,000,000 nuclear desalination
plant was discussed here by Pre-
mier Levi Eshkol and Sen. John
Pastore, R. I. Democrat. Walworth
Barbour, United States Ambassa-
dor to Israel, also attended the
meeting. Sen. Pastore reportedly
will be named head of the
United States Atomic Energy Com-
Russia's Ban on Jewish Languages
It was reported that little prog-
While on the subject of languages it is important to note the
tragic role of both Yiddish and Hebrew in the Soviet Union. A study ress was made at the meeting,
of existing conditions language-wise in the USSR by the periodical which was held in Premier Esh-
survey, "Jews in Eastern Europe," reveals these facts:
kol's office. The Premier stressed
"Individually, Jews in the Soviet Union are nominated in their again that completion of the proj-
internal passports as of Jewish nationality, but as a group their ect depended on United States
nationality is barely recognized. Neither Yiddish nor Hebrew is terms for financial help because
listed among the 59 languages of instruction used in the USSR Israel is unable to pay the heavy
as a whole. Nor is instruction in Jewish history, literature and interest charges called for in the
culture provided in Russian, or any other language anywhere in current United States proposals.
the USSR. In the Ukraine, where about a million Jews live, many The Premier underlined the urg-
of them Yiddish-speaking, not a single Jewish school exists al- ency of the need to complete th6
though Moldavians numbering 239,000 have 157 schools. Hun- plant because, he said, Israel will
garians numbering 149,000 have 99 schools, and even the Poles, begin to suffer serious water short-
who are very badly served in comparison, have three schools for ages in the early 70's. Sen Pastore
a population of 363,000.
visited Israel's experimental re-
The R.S.F.S.R., the Russian Republic, employs 45 different actor at Nahal Shorek.
languages of instruction in its school system. But although Jews
in the Republic number about a million—a half-million in Moscow Canadian Histadrut Hits
and a third of a million in Leningrad alone—they are not catered
for at all, whereas tiny groups like the Chukchi (12,000), the Acquittal of Austria Nazi
TORONTO ( JTA) —De legates to
Nenets (25,000), the Khant (19,000) and the Koryak (6,300) are
the 23rd annual Ontario confer-
provided with native language instruction.
Anomalies of this kind abound in the Soviet Union. In the ence of the Israel Histadrut Cam-
Lvov Region, according to the 1959 census, the Jewish and Polish paign and the United Organiza-
minorities are approximately equal in size—about 30,000. Whereas tions for Histadrut protested to
Poles are dispersed throughout the region, the Jews are almost the Austrian government against
entirely concentrated in the city of Lvov. Yet there are two the recent acquittal by an Austrian
Polish schools in the city and none for Jews. In Trans-Carpathian court of Franz Novak, the Eich-
Russia, where most of the Jewish population was destroyed by mann aide charged with respon-
the Nazis or became dispersed by other means, the 1959 census sibility in the mess murder of
registered 12,169 Jews. About half of these declared Yiddish as 400,000 Jews.
The resolution on the Novak
their mother-tongue, another 20 per cent gave Russian and the
remainder were listed as speaking Ukrainian, Hungarian and acquittal was delivered to the
Czech. Jewish children are, therefore, in a position to assimilate Austrian Embassy in Ottawa.
The delegates also commended
linguistically with any of these minorities they parents may
the Canadian government for re-
choose. But their own language is barred to them.
This probe of conditions in Russia also points out that the cently introducing antihate legis-
smallest nationality groups in Russia have gained recognition but lation into the Canadian Parlia-
the Jewish languages have no status whatsoever. The study that has ment.
been made indicates:
"It is obvious from a brief consideration of facts, which are THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
taken at random and are given merely as representative examples 2—Friday, November 25, 1966

• --

By Philip

0•1•14.14•1M.3•• ■ ••

Boris Smolar's

'Between You
. . and Me'

(Copyright, 1966, JTA, Inc.)

ISRAEL'S NAVY: Israel is surrounded on the land by Arab armies
from three sides, the Mediterrranean being Israel's only border open
for contact with the world .. . Small wonder that Israel's Navy plans
an important role in keeping the Mediteranean open for undisturbed
navigation while protecting at the same time Israel's cities from the
shore . . . A visit to one of Israel's naval bases and a trip on one of
Israel's destroyers provides a vivid picture of Israel's sea power and
the training of sailors and cadets about which little is being spoken
and less written . . . Israel's navy is one of the strictest military
secrets and its strength is never referred to openly . . . This explains
why more can be read about Israel's army, or air-force than about its
navy . . . But while not revealing any basic information, one can say
that it is steadily growing in strength and efficiency and today com-
prises destroyers, submarines, torpedo boats and landing craft
Among these is the destroyer "Haifa"—a former Egyptian battleship
captured after an attempt to bombard Haifa during the Sinai campaign
in 1956 . . . A visit to one of the very guarded naval bases "somewhere
in Israel" gives an idea how the men there are trained to master
anti-aircraft gunnery from shore and ships, how they can extinguish in
minutes a fire caused on a ship by enemy bombs, their accomplishments
in electronics, and what kind of a battle the enemy would meet if he
ever attemps a fight with Israel on the sea . . . Naval units are con-
stantly engaged in maneuvers and training cruises to fit them for the
tasks of guarding Israel's shores and maintaining Israel's maritime
lifeline to the outside world . . . The Navy's personnel consists of
volunteer regulars and national servicemen, backed by a large number
of reserves who returned to civilian life after completin g
service . . . The men are a cross-section of Israel's populatio
"sabras" to recent immigrants from many lands .. . They are
! .ed
almost entirely in Israel and many are drawn from several maritime
schools in the country .. .
ISRAEL'S WARSHIPS: The sea is smooth as we start our trip v...
one of Israel's destroyers as honored guests of the Navy . . . The plan
is to be on the water for several hours, passing on the way several
shore fortifications, meeting an Israeli submarine emerging from the
waters of the Mediterranean, and witnessing a mock attack by torpedo
boats . . . It is a sunny pleasant day and the ride is both instructive
and pleasant . . . Officers and sailors display alertness and the usual
discipline at their stations on the decks and the captain speaks with
pride of his crew . . . Within a half hour after leaving the shore we
note a kind of a cane sticking out from the quiet blue waters of the
Mediterranean . . . This is a snorkle of a submarine with which our
ship is to have a rendezvous . . . A signal from our vessel, and the
waters around the submarine begin to foam and the underwater craft
begins slowly and majestically to emerge into the open . . . With the
naked eye one can see how locked hatchways on the submarine's deck
are being opened with sailors coming out from there to greet us from
the assigned distance for about 30 minutes ...Another signal from our
ship, and the sailors on the submarine disappear from the deck, an
the craft begins slowly to submerge into the depth of the sea, hardly
leaving any sign behind it .. . She escorts us from under the water
for another ten minutes and we are told by the captain of our ship

that she is about to return to her station where we met her.

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