THE JEWISH NEWS
Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with issue of July 20, 1951
Member American Association of English--Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press Association, National Editorial
Published every Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co., 17100 West Seven Mile Road, Detroit, Mich. 48235.
VE 8.9364. Subscription $6 a year. Foreign S7.
Second Class Postage Paid at Detroit. Michigan
Editor and Publisher
CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ
Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the 26th day of Tevet, 5728, the following scriptural selections
will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Exodus 6:2-9:35. Prophetical portion, Ezekiel 28:25-29:21.
Rosh Hodesh Shevat scriptural reading, Wednesday: Numbers 28:1-15.
Candle lighting, Friday, Jan. 26, 5:20 p.m.
VOL. LII. No, 19
January 26, 1968
Prophets of Doom in a Panic-Stricken Society
Even before the advent of the current
calendar year, political leaders, columnists
and news broadcasters had begun to predict
a hot racial summer, impending riots and an
inevitable avalanche of troubles for our coun-
try. While they spoke of dangers threatening
the large cities, such predictions can be ac-
cepted as assurances that the suburbs, the
smaller cities, rural as well as urban com-
munities, will not be immune from outbursts
of passion in what so many believe to be an
Practical reasoning regarding current con-
ditions, analyses of what we may look forward
to in the months ahead, have indicated long
ago that the major issue that is certain to
affect the controversies in the Presidential
political campaign will not be Vietnam but
the race issue. And because this is such an
accepted fact we must view the threatening
situation rationally, without passion, in the
hope that riots can be averted, that we are
effective and efficient enough to resolidify
the American electorate so that we can have
a peaceful dialogue on the chief problem
If riots are to be averted, if the arson and
looting and threats to life, limb and property
such as were experienced here last summer are
to be prevented, our politicians and sociol-
ogists owe it to the vast American constitu-
ency to strive for understanding rather than
resort to the role of prophets of doom.
For many months now we have been a
panic-stricken America. Yielding to fears and
to threats from demagogues, we have not
produced a sufficiently strong analytical
group of social scientists who should be able
to guide us toward paths of fearlessness, on
to a road of rational thinking, so that we
should be able to trek our ways bi-racially to-
ward amity among all Americans.
Especially disturbing are warnings like the
one that was made by the Governor of Michi-
gan that the summer will bring into our high-
ways and byways conditions hotter than those
in Vietnam. We are warned of a new civil
war, of internal strife approaching as if it
were inevitable, uncontrollable, unavoidable.
We would have liked to reject such admoni-
tions of doom and to brand them as uncalled
for, unjustified, unwise.
We do feel fully justified in declaring that
instead of spreading panic our social scien-
tists, the trained as well as those who adopt
such roles for political or divisive reasons,
should begin to resort to reasoning which is
the basic ideal of American thinking and
There is a deep-rooted American principle Christian's View of RaMbaM
called fair play. Resort to just actions and to
peaceful means of solving our internal prob-
lems demand that we plan for adherence to
lawful pursuits. The basic need is to rule out
lawlessness and not to throw our people into
a state of panic, into fright that is the worst
psychological condition a people can be sub-
In many instances of "protest" there have
been demonstrations of disrespect, as in the
one-woman outburst at a White House lunch-
eon at which the disrespect toward the First
Lady of our land must have caused anguish
in the hearts of many Americans who believe
that abuse of a hostess by a guest is not the
high type of American self-respect.
It is not too late to plan, to rationalize, to
organize our democratic system in defense of
lawful and peaceful living. This is a duty de-
volving upon politicians as well as news ana-
lysts. It is an obligation which all of us share
because all of us are involved in whatever
conditions may emerge from the forthcoming
dialogues regarding the race issue.
If the trend of emphasizing doom should
continue, we may well be placed in a position
of helplessness. In a spirit of hope, based on
proper planning, we can look forward to
pleasant summers and amicable neighbor-
Pope Paul Creates Dilemma Over Jerusalem
Israel's religious affairs ministry, as well as
all other departments of the Israel govern-
ment, including the governors of all areas
which have been reunited with Israel, have
been and are so adamant in their determina-
tion to assure freedom of observance for all
faiths that the most recent explanation of the
Vatican's position on the Jerusalem Holy
Places creates a new quandary.
It is now reported by the Religious News
Service correspondent, Father Robert A.
Graham. S.J., from Vatican City, that in order
that his declaration of Dec. 22, which was in-
terpreted as an abandonment by the Vatican
of the idea of Jerusalem's internationaliza-
tion, should not be misunderstood, the Pope
now wishes it to be known that, as Father
Graham states it, the Holy See advocates a
form of internationalization by which individ-
ual spots identified with the life of Christ
would be protected by formal agreements
guaranteed by some international authority."
Pope Paul VI, we are now informed, de-
scribes as "essential and indispensable" his
insistence that there should be respect for
religious and other rights of the non-Jewish
A new dilemma thus is created, even if the
explanation of the principle of "extrateri-
ritoriality" is to be taken seriously. By "extra-
territoriality" it is indicated that in Rome
many ecclesiastical institutions enjoy it al-
though they are on Italian soil. But Pope
Paul's great concern, it is indicated, is "re-
spect for, the preservation and access to the
Holy Places themselves, protected by special
immunities through a statute of their own
guaranteed by an institution of international
character. . . ." The RNS correspondent fur-
ther states that this rules out, so far as the
Vatican is concerned, "unilateral Israeli con-
trol of the Holy Places, no matter how per-
missive a policy Israel might choose to
It is this latter statement that magnifies
the dilemma created by the new explanation
offered of the Pope's position which, it is
stated, might have been overlooked because
of the Pope's lengthy declaration on Vietnam
and the impending visit to the Vatican of
Israel has gone to extremes to assure reli-
gious freedom for all and there is not a reli-
gious leader of any faith, the Catholic
included, who had found it necessary to com-
plain of mistreatment or of curtailment of
"respect for or access to the Holy Places" by
any one acting in Israel's behalf.
What might have been a closer approach to
interfaith relations, especially between Israel
and the Vatican, has vanished.
If we were to feel insult we believe we
would be justified in saying that it has been
added to injury because Pope Paul VI not
once in his statement referred to Israel but
kept on speaking of Palestine. Thus he indi-
cated that he had yielded to Moslem pres-
sures, as was the case at Vatican II whose
statement on the Jews was watered down be-
cause Eastern Catholic prelates—the spokes-
men for the Arab Catholics — out of hatred
for Zionism threatened the Ecumenical Coun-
cil against declarations of amity for the Jew-
ish people. Apparently we have not gone far
enough in applying ecumenism to practice
rather than lip service.
Prof. Bratton's Biographical
Sketch of 'Medieval Modernist'
Maimonides, the great scholar of the 12th Century, known in
Hebrew as the RaMbaM, continues to be the subject of many studies.
The reappearance in a new edition, with an excellent translation into
English of his "Mishneh Torah" by Dr. Philip Birnbaum, issued by
Hebrew Publishing Co., and several other works which have appeared
over a period of years, indicate the indelibility of the marks left
upon scholarship by the great rabbi, physician, commentator.
But when a biographical study of Maimonides is written by an
eminent Christian scholar, the subject becomes even more interesting
and vastly more appealing.
Dr. Fred Gladstone Bratton, who retired in 1962 after 30 years
as professor of the history and literature of religion at Springfield
College, is the author of a serious study, "Maimonides—Medieval
Modernist," published by Beacon Press.
Dr. Bratton's is more than biography. It is an analysis of
Maimonides' talmudic and biblical criticisms; it is a Christian's
evaluation of the "Guide to the Perplexed" and the "Mishneh
Torah" and his expression of belief that the latter is even more
authoritative as a guide for the faithful.
Maimonides is presented in this study by the Christian theologian
as "the product of that radiant interlude in history, the Golden
Age of Moorish Spain, a period which can be understood only as we
go back to the early 6th Century when Justinian, fearing the con-
tamination of Christian theology by Greek thought, closed the philo-
sophical schools of Athens. This fanatical edict of the emperor proved
to be a blessing in disguise. It became the source of a new vitality
as the Greek spirit found a new home in Arabia, Persia, Syria and
Egypt. Later the Moslem conquest carried this seed to Spain, where
Arab and Jewish scholars with their new knowledge of Hellenism
influenced the course of medieval and modern intellectual history."
Of special interest is Dr. Bratton's indication that Maimonides'
teachings resurrected Aristotelian thought, that before Averroes
(Dm Roshd, 1126-1198, Arab Aristotelian who influenced pod-
Maimonidean philosophy and was widely studied by Jewish scholars)
and Maimonides, "little was known about the philosophy of Artistotle."
He comments that "it was an irony of history that the ideas from
which Justinian tried to protect Christianity in the 6th Century
became in the 12th Century, through the medium of Arab and Jewish
scholars, the most potent force in medieval Christian thought."
Maimonides' wanderings, his teachings, his Thirteen Articles of
Faith among them, the principles he set forth are among the elements
in the life of the medieval scholar thoroughly reviewed in a volume
of less than 160 pages. He points out that Maimonides' Commentary
was first accepted in Europe rather than in Egypt and that it later
was universally accepted as part of talmudic literature.
The famous letter to the Yemenite Jews is reviewed and explained.
Maimonides' services as physician under Saladdin, his conciliatory
policy toward the Karaites, the equating of medicine with morality—
these are among the many aspects of Maimonidean thinking and living
that form the Bratton book.
The Christian scholar is effective in his analyses of the influence
of Maimonides upon modern thinkers, upon later philosophers. Spinoza,
who has been interpreted as a critic of Maimonides, is described here
as having depended on Maimonides. Dr. Bretton states that divergence
in their views is seen in "Spinoza's extention of Maimonides' principles."
Dr. Bratton emphasizes the "Eternal Relevance" of Maimonides
who had gained fame as "the second Moses" in the famous Jewish
saying: "from Moses to Moses (Mendelssohn) there arose no such
man as Moses (Maimonides)."
He pays him the added tribute: "His brilliance of mind and great-
ness of soul enabled him to transcend time and history. Maimonides
the universal man speaks to the 20th Century no less distinctly than
to the 13th, bringing insight into the problems of both Judaism and
Christianity today. It is for Christians and Jews today to be concerned
with the spirit of his writings, not the letter; his ethics, not his
theology; his life rather than his logic."
Thus from a Christian point of view Maimonides emerges uni-
versally important, lending great significance to the Christian
theologian's biography of the great Jewish