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January 20, 1967 - Image 40

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1967-01-20

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The Oberammergau Passion Play

JNF National Body Will Bolster Efforts

NEW YORK (JTA) — Some 200
communal leaders from 10 eastern
states formulated plans at a meet-
ing for the creation of a National
Commission for Jewish National
Fund Councils.
The new commission, which was
designed to broaden and intensify
the scope of JNF endeavors
throughout the United States, will
consist of representatives of
Jewish communities, large and
small, throughout the nation.
The commission is expected to
serve as an effective instrument
in the creation of new councils in
communities where JNF councils
do not exist, and in bolstering and
supervising council activities in
communities where they do exist,
it was explained in a statement.
Dr. Milton Aron, JNF national
director, informed the delegates
that "the current and pressing
goal of the Jewish National Fund
is the reclamation of 13,000
dunams — about 3,250 acres—of
land at Yakinton, the new JNF
development site along Israel's-
border with Lebanon."
He expressed his confidence
that American Jewry, through the
Jewish National Fund, would meet
the challenge posed by the need
to develop a new setttlement in
this "forbidding region, which is

now an open invitation to maraud-
ers crossing the border to harass
peaceful Israeli citizens."
Dr. Aron revealed that the 31
sections of Yakinton are being
allocated to Jewish communities
throughout the United States with
the understanding that each com-
munity will mobilize sufficient
funds for reclaiming and develop-
ing of its own sector of Yakinton.

The conflict in the Passion Play gas," is invisible but deadly. It
Jewish News Correspondent
commences in the following way: is created by the atmosphere, the
in London
Jesus, accompanied by the peo- action and prologues with the al-
About two years ago, in Charing ple, shouting "hail," walks to the legoric comparison of the Old and
Cross Road, I came across a Ger- temple which had taken "46 years" the New Testament. High Priests,
man boklet "The Oberammergau to build. Here he sees "tourists" priests, Pharisees, and tradesmen
Passion Play. A religious festival who had come "from the lands of are caricatured. And when the
play in three sections with 20 ta- the heathen" to Jerusalem to pray. people call out "To the Cross with
bleaux vivants. Written in 1860 by He is horrified that merchants him! To the Cross with him!", it
J. A. Daisenberger on the basis of dare "sell oil, salt, pigeons" and seems that wolves and hyenas—
Hebrew Corner
the old texts" ("Das Oberammer- do business. He threatens the not actors—roar. The play makes
gauer Passionsspiel.Ein geistliches priests and drives away the deal- the impression on the audience of
Festspiel in drei Abteilungen mit ers. Amon, a Pharisee, demands taking revenge upon the Jew in
20 lebenden Bildern.Mit Benutzung a "sign of miracle" from him and whom they find a scapegoat.
der alten Texte verfasst von J. A. he responds: "Destroy this temple
Oberammergau people 333 years
Daisenberger im Jahre 1860," here! In three days I shall have ago vowed to perform a Passion
"This is a wonderful place t
Yeshiva," said Rabbi Kahanemar..
Dachau, pp.141). Recently some rebuilt it." While the people and Play. But in accordance with the
took a great imagination to say that.
reports have appeared that this the children proclaim "Hosanna to times the text was changed, as
At the time, in 1939, the whole hill was
covered with orange groves and Bnai
play would be presented as- a com- the son • of David," he goes into well as the action and the music.
Brak was only a small residential quar-
mercial venture outside Germany.
The inhabitants of Oberammergau
ter in a sea of sand.
I went back to the street of book-
Rabble Kahaneman, the head of the
The High Priest Caiphas im- also vowed to be faithful—to
Ponivez Yeshiva, was a member of the
sellers. In the meantime, thou- mediately summons the Sanhedrin, Austria, to the Habsburgs, to Ger-
Lithuanian Parliament. He was sent
sands had been there, but no one ; the highest Jewish Council. Priests, many, to the Hohenzollerns, to the
on a diplomatic mission to the United
States in order to prepare a plan for
had been interested in this book. teachers and fathers appear—and Weimar Constitution, to Hitler and
the rescue of Jews.
The Rabbi's mother was then in Eretz
Passion plays were presented of course also the tradesmen—as finally to present-day Germany.
Yisrael and the Rabbi decided to spend
in the Middle Ages—in the 12th if it were a secret conspiracy. The
the holidays with her. On that occasion
It would be more timely that the
he walked in the orange groves of
Century in Germany and in other leader of the conspiracy is the people of Oberammergau render
Bnai Brak, together with the owner of
countries—and were usually fol- wicked High Priest, a fearsome a new vow: for instance, to perform
the groves.
lowed by pogroms or anti-Jewish evil-doer with the face of a hypo- Lessing's play of tolerance, "Nathan
When the owner of the groves heard
what the Rabbi said, he laughed and
crite. It is decided to arrest. Jesus, der Weise," every 10 years, or
remarked, "I am prepared to sell you
the entire hillside for $50—on condition
Oberammergau is a village in but to do this one of his Apostles to meet once a year at the memo-
that you build the Yeshiva here within
Bavaria. In 1633, one inhabitant has to be bribed, so that he would rial to the Nazi victims at Dachau
a year," Rabbi Kahaneman agreed to
the condition. In Lithuania the ground
who had worked in a neighboring find out where Jesus retires "at to honor their memory.
was burning under the feet of the Jews.
town, returned and brought with the nightly darkness." Esron, a
Who knew what the fate of the
him the "black death." As the Jews trader, calls out naively: "He
Yeshivot there would be? Here, in Bnai
Brak, Rabbi Akiva had taught his stu-
could not be accused of conjuring comes daily into the Temple. There Music Library Given to Theological Seminary
d ielnIst isde . . . The Rabbi bought the
up the "black death," the pious it would be easy to arrest him and
The World War started. The rabbi
inhabitants of Oberammergau made carry him off." But his proposal in Memory of Renowned Cantor Leib Glantz
remained in this country.
a vow that they would present a does not meet with approval. After
the day fixed for the opening of
NEW YORK—A unique library artist of international acclaim, his the On
Yeshiva, General Rommel stood at
play showing the "suffering of everyone has pledged himself to of Jewish recorded music, the performances f illed synagogues the gates
of El Almein. Who could think
Jesus" every 10 years, so that the secrecy, the traders shout: "Long largest collection of its kind in and concert halls all over the then of building new Yeshivot? But
assembled a number
plague would disappear from the live Moses!" and all of them recite: the country, containing many rare world.
of students on the hillside and together
village. In 1634 they staged the "Praise be to the God of Abraham, items and collectors' pieces, has
with them prayed (and recited) chap-
of the spalms for the safety of the
A prolific composer, he pro- ters
festival play for the first time, to Isaac and Jacob!", the secret meet- just been acquired by the Jewish
Jewish Community. Later the Rabbi
delivered a short talk. That was the
demonstrate the sufferings of ing of the Sanhedrin is closed.
Theological Seminary of America.
opening ceremony of the Ponivez
Jesus and their hatred of the Jews.
Now, the conflict between Jesus The library was presented by of liturgical music. Among his Yeshiva.
In the meantime, the holocaust has
The play, often revised, was pro- and Judas follows.
friends and admirers of the late
taken place. Polish Jewry has been ex-
hibited several times, but in 1811
Judas is the "treasurer" of the Hazzan Leib Glantz, world re- have been incorporated into the terminated. The Yeshivot of Lithuania
it was again permitted and is still Apostles and friends of Jesus. He nowned cantor and composer, who Jewish prayer book, is music for have been destroyed.
Rabbi Kahaneman has rebuilt a de-
the Sabbath prayers, "Adon Olam" stroyed
allowed to be performed today. looks on enviously, his fingers- are died three years ago.
world, a world of Yeshivot and
When Hitler came to power, the grasping, his beard is reddish; he
Material in vowelized, easy Hebrew
"Un-Sane Tokef," the ancient can be obtained by writing to Brit Ivrit
Passion Play was staged 81 times is clad in yellow and has, of course,
ing from liturgy to folk music, are prayer which is recited on the Olamit, P.O. Box 7111, Jerusalem, Israel.
in 1934.
a small money-bag tied to his included in collection. The works, High
Published by the Brit Ivrit Olamit
Holy Days.
From its medieval vow, Ober- belt. When Mary Magdalene ap-
with the assistance of the Memorial
Foundation for Jewish Culture.
ammergau has gained a prof- pears with a jar of precious oint- in Hebrew, Yiddish, English, and
itable source of income. About ment, the "exquisite fragrance" is other native languages have been
`2 1
• 4 • ip
1,000 people, among them 200 admired.- Bartholomew, an expert gathered from Jewish' communi-
children, take part in the play, in perfumes, says: "It is pure, pre- ties throughout the world.
and about 500,000 tourists, cious spikenard." The Magdalene - Hazzan Glantz was born in 1906
clergymen, curious individuals pours
the costly unction on the in Kiev, where he won fame as
and anti-Semites visit Oberam- body of Jesus. Judas considers a musical prodigy. He came to
mergau to see the spectacle.
this an extravagance. He is covet- this country as a young man and
In the play Jesus is called Rabbi, ous and is perspiring with agita- , held a number of important can-
Christ, son of David, son of man, tion. He now pronounces eight torial posts before settling in
,1 9 39
King of the Jews and Prophet. potentous words. The actor who Israel where he spent the last
He had had a Jewish education, plays Judas has to study the sen- 12 years of his life. A recording 1 ?t27 ;-!3
observed kashrut and visited the tence word by word, so as to
temple regularly. He already knew pronounce it with a "Jewish in-
in advance what would happen, tonation": "To pour out such costly Large NY Collection
recognized in time every detail unction—what wastefulness!" The
that would follow—from his en- ointment cost "at least 300 dinars" of Jewish Music Given
trance into Jerusalem until his and "the money could have been to Hebrew U. Library
crucifixion, and he convinced given to the poor." Jesus responds:
NEW YORK (JTA) — Jacob
everyone that the crucifixon would "The poor are with you always,
take place.
noted American Jewish
but you do not have me always."
Jesus determines that Judas shall philanthropist, presented his col-
be the traitor. "What you are lection of Jewish music—one of ,
NY Central Synagogue
doing, do quickly," Jesus whispers
Marks 120th Anniversary to him. When he is arrested, some the largest in the world—to the
Jewish National and University
I t 5
NEW YORK (JTA)—The Cen- of his adherents demand that he Library at the Hebrew University
tral Synagogue, one of the oldest should offer resistance or cause a in Jerusalem, it was announced
13 nt3
houses of worship in New York, miracle. But Jesus declines though here.
Monday marked its 120th annivers- he could have "more than twelve
The collection contains about
ary at a gathering attended by legions of angels." Twelve legions
prominent civic and Jewish com- —that would be tens of thousands 10,000 printed works and about
15,000 manuscripts of Jewish mu-
of angels.
munal leaders.
The Ref o r m synagogue was
And so the story goes on, sic, as well as literature on Jewish
17 P I.%
7;.; ,
founded by 18 young men who had
constantly arousing more violent music. Included are religious
2.17...1,T7 17r3
emigrated from Bohemia, now part
reaction. The Passion Play in-
of Czechoslovakia. Rabbi Isaac
cites the audience against the and Near Eastern versions, can-
Meyer Wise, a founder of Reform
Jews and against the "accursed" torial music, folksongs, Israeli
Judaism in this country, laid the
synagogue. It is no wonder that music and thousands of hitherto un-
cornerstone of the synagogue
Dachau, near Oberammergau, published East European cantorial
which has played a part in the
was chosen as the place for one
'pv tat nten .,7 .7..7?Lp-1713
historic development of the Re-
of the first concentration camps.
There are items from some 30
form movement.
It is a - strange coincidence that lands in which Jewish music was
Itt?? PIPtt V.411
Rabbi Jacob J. Weinstein, presi-
while in 1933 the inhabitants of developed, especially in the 18th,
dent of the Central Conference of
Oberammergau prepared the 19th and 20th centuries, among
American Rabbis, who addressed
300th anniversary celebration of them various European countries,
ri;V.t2tg rirrnpri opt..?:
the gathering, called upon religi-
the festival play, in Dachau a the U.S., South America, North
ous leaders to convince their con-
concentration camp was erected and South Africa, Yemen, Near titr
rikt; trrir4
gregants that the Vietnam war
which was in full swing in 1934. Eastern countries and Israel. They
must be brough to the peace table
It is not surprising when "ac- include Hebrew and other Jewish
as soon as possible.
cursed synagogues" were being songs from the USSR, prayer
He said that, regardless of the
tint; trpt! ppstrp. v-,17
burnt down and cemeteries dese- chants - from Egypt, Morocco and
divided opinion within religious
Turkey, folksongs in Hebrew and
groups on the pursuit of the war
On the surface the Passion Play Yiddish from Argentina and Brazil,
and its final outcome, "it is the is full of love and atonement but thousands of works from Central,
bounden duty of religion to create within it is filled with venom Western and Eastern Europe, and
a climate which will bring about against the synagogue and against much musical literature from the n'Ipt7115 n41; rInT rtqrirV
a condition where religiously the Jews. This venom, this "poison U.S.
motivated individuals demand
trr-pn; ntmlrq ii-1 )171
peaceful solutions."
40 Friday, January 20, 1967

Ponivez Yeshiva
in Bnai Brak


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