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March 22, 1968 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1968-03-22

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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 $7 a year. Foreign $8.
Second Class Postage Paid at Detroit, Michigan


Editor and Publisher



Business Manager

Advertising Manager


City Editor

Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the 23rd day of Adar, 5728, the following scriptural selections
will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portions, Exodus 35:1-40:38, Numbers - 19:1-22. Prophetical portion,
Ezekiel 36:16-38.

Candle lighting, Friday,

VOL. LIII, No. 1

March 22, 6:28 p.m.

Page Four

March 22, 1968

Detroit Jewry's Philanthropic Leadership

Our community has again registered a
remarkable record in philanthropic en-
deavor. Setting a new high standard for
contributions to major causes involving over-
seas needs, our local agencies and obliga-
tions to national movements, the record sum
reported at Wednesday's opening campaign
meeting of the Allied Jewish Campaign-Is-
rael Emergency Fund again gave an in-
dication of a deep interest in the retention
of our dignity as • Jews who are rahamonim
bnai rahamonim
people responsible one

for another, kinsmen who must not abandon
their fellow men — the meriful sons of a
meriful people.
While the initial sum is a record regis-
tered for an opening campaign session, there
is much to be done to secure the minimum
additional sum of $3,000,000 hoped for to
acquire a total of $10,000,000 from Detroit
Jewry for the current year. All of us must
pool our forces to attain the goal. We have
made a good beginning. Let the ultimate
measure up to it.

Catholics' Repudiation of Deicide Misinterpretations

A statement issued by six members of the
executive committee of the Secretariat for
Catholic-Jewish Relations of the National
Conference of Catholic Bishops, warning
against Passion Plays that depict Jews as
Christ-killers, is of such vast significance that
it merits widest distribution and fullest use.
Signed by Msgr. George G. Higgins, Msgr.
John M. Oesterreicher, Rev. H. Flannery,
Sister K. Hargrove, Rev. John B. Sheerin
and Rev. Bernard J. Law, and issued from
headquarters of the Catholic secretariat at
Seton Hall University, South Orange, N. J.,
the statement emphasizes the "simplistic and
erroneous interpretations of sacred writings."
The full text declares:

Lent, more than any liturgical season, draws
attention of Christians to the sufferings of Christ.
In this holy season the Church calls its faithful to
relive these sufferings, especially in its Holy Week
Liturgy. In many places it is customary to sup-
plement the Liturgy by pious practices, among
which has been Passion Plays. Though not as popu-
lar as in the past, these pious representations of
Christ's passion are still produced in a few places.
Their primary purpose is to stimulate religious
ferver, but, when they are carelessly written or
produced, they become a source of anti-Semitic
reaction. Need we say that such reactions are
foreign and injurious to true Christian piety and
to the intent of the sacred scriptures as well as
offensive to our Jewish brothers? In the past, sim-
plistic and erroneous interpretations of the Gospel's
sacred writings have occasioned the accusation that
the Jews of all time bear unique responsibility for
the death of Jesus. History is witness to the injus-
tices and hatred experienced by them because they
have been considered guilty of Christ's death and
thus an accursed people. What we say here, it may
be added, is equally applicable to sermons and
teachings on the Passion of Christ.
In its statement on the Jews, the second Vatican
Council has dealt with this problem and urged that
"all see to it that nothing is taught in catechetical
work or in preaching the Word of God that does
not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the
spirit of Christ." The council further has reminded
us that "what happened in His (Christ's) passion
cannot be charged against all the Jews, without
distinction, then alive, or against the Jews of today."
The council fathers make St. Paul's assurance
their own: "Now as before God holds Jews most
dear for the sake of their fathers."
Fidelity to these principles is expected of all
members of the Church. A particular responsibility,
however, rests upon writers and producers of Pas-
sion Plays, preachers, catechists and educators
because it is easy to portray Jews even inadvert-
ently in such a way as to misrepresent or exaggerate
their role. in the Passion.
In depicting the Passion, it is possible, for ex-
ample: 1) To conceal the fact that Jesus is a Jew
and that His friends as well as His enemies in the
drama are Jews. 2) To create the impression that
most Jews of Jesus' day willed His death, failing
to show that the secrecy surrounding much of
Jesus' trial was motivated by the large following
He had in .Jerusalem. 3) To change the "crowd"
before the Governor's Palace into a screaming
"mob" as representing all Jerusalem and indeed
all Israel. 4) To depict Pilate, whom historiography
has shown to have been a ruthless tyrant, as an
innocent and kindly bystander. 5) To highlight
those texts of the Gospel narrative that are amenable
to misinterpretation by uninformed audiences, such
as: "His blood be upon us and upon our children."
(Matt. 27, 25)
It is also possible, in the characterizations, type-


casting and costuming of Passion Plays, to have the
Jewish enemies of Jesus appear and behave in a
manner that would seem to cast an aspersion on the
Jewish people.
Passion Plays, and sermons and teachings on
the Passion, involve more than a question of
Catholic-Jewish relations. Indeed, they involve the
very concept of an authentic Catholic spirituality •
Christian pastors and educators are bound to preach
and teach Christ crucified, but in so doing must
never divert the eyes of the faithful from the love
and victory of Christ to the deeds of men, be they
Jews or Gentiles. Rather must they try to increase
in the hearts of their audiences a greater love of
God and of men, reminding them that those who
played a part in the Passion drama were, in the
Christian view, representatives of all of us.

An American Jewish Congress commenda-
tion of the action taken by the Catholic sec-
retariat properly emphasizes the significance
of the statement and points out that: "The
vision of Pope John and the historic aggior-
narnento of the Roman Catholic Church must
find their ultimate expression and enduring
effect on the parish level. The action by the
National Conference of Catholic Bishops is a
major step toward that mutual respect for
the full spiritual dignity of the person of
which_ the Vatican Council spoke in its his-
toric schema on the Jews."
Indeed, the Jewish Congress leadership
hope for "elimination of differences . . . in
the fullness of mutual respect" will be shared
by all students of events that had continued
through the centuries as contributing factors
in campaigns of hatred. Passion Plays added
to the tensions and the spread of venom. It is
to be hoped that what the eminent Catholic
spokesmen have just formulated will serve
as guides not only for Catholic clergy but
for the vast masses of Christians everywhere
in eliminating the passions of hate.
A vital question can be posed: is it at
all possible so to amend or to alter the Pas-
sion Plays that they will eliminate the de-
icide and other charges that are so evidently
anti-Semitic? In the issue that thus arises
there is a great challenge to Christian schol-
arship and to the humane approaches to the
issue by non-Jews.

Sportsmanship Defiled

Hockey is a rough game, but sportsman-
ship traditionally defies difficulties and
links human beings into a brotherhood based
on fair play and cooperation.
But the Nazi spirit invaded the arena in
Toronto when Boston Bruins players adopted
the methods of the jungle in an attack on a
Jewish player. The Jew, who wanted to "turn
the other cheek" and to ignore the slurs
upon him, was compelled to resist taunts that
he go to "the gas ovens." It was a reminder
to him that his grandparents had perished
in the Nazi gas chambers.
Now the National Hockey League has the
sad duty of correcting a tragic occurrence.
One wonders whether a mere investigation
will eradicate from the minds of bigots the
poison that drove the offending Boston
Bruins players right into the wilderness of
medievalism and into the ranks of the Nazi

Surviving Daughters Monograph


Pays Tribute to Dr. Thon's Memory

From Montevideo, Uruguay, comes an unusually interesting
brochure—a tribute to the late Polish Jewish leader Dr. Jehoshua
Thon by his only surviving daughter, Nella Thon Rost Hollander.
Under the imprint of Congreso Judio Mundial, Mrs. Hollander
describes her father's activities as preacher, thinker and politician
and primarily as one of the great world Zionist leaders at the turn
of the century and until his death on Nov. 11, 1936.
There are several deeply moving aspects of the daughter's story
of her father and of the Thon family. There is the appended stapled
note to the pamphlet that, at last, Israeli authorities have consented
to the transfer of Dr. Thon's remains from Poland to Tel Aviv, to be
reburied in the Tomb of Honor of the Trumpeldor Cemetery.
There is the prefatory note which states that on the gravestone
of Rabbi Thon, "Member of Parliament and Representative of a
great part of the vanished Polish Judaism," are engraved these
names: Maria Bach Thon, his wife, who died at the age of 68 in the
gas chambers of Treblinka, in 1942; Dr. Bronislav Rost, physician,
42, his son-in-law, who was executed in Radom in 1942 for his
Socialist activities; Gabriel Josef Rost, his only grandchild, 14, whO
was "murdered in the gas chamber at Belzec after a six months'
martyrdom in the prison of Montelupih in Cracow."
It is to these—"my beloved"--that Mrs. Hollander dedicates this
memoir which has been printed in English and which will be
published as part of her memoirs. in Yiddish. Beit Galizia, a cultural
institution in Buenos Aires, is facilitating the publication of the

Mrs. Hollander also tells about her brother, who managed to
escape from the Nazi terror, who labored as a scientist in Princeton
and who was killed in an auto accident. There are tributes to the
only brother, Prof. Nathaniel Thou, who was beloved greatly by his
father because he had distinguished himself as a great linguist and
as a mathematician and a scientist.

Nella Thon Rost Hollander survived t h e Holocaust and
finally escaped from the terror of Nazism under which she and her
family suffered. Now she gains great satisfaction from her description
of her father's life—her thorough review of a great man's role as a
Zionist leader, as a preacher, as a scholar.
It is regrettable that her English is not polished, but the reader
learns soon to appreciate the dedication with which she undertook
to honor her father's memory, and what she writes is read with
gratitude that a great man's name is not being forgotten.
Mrs. Hollander's brochure reproduces the place on the house .
where Dr. Thon lived in Cracow, at Jasna 5, from 1905 to 1936. It
has the Hebrew inscription and the Polish: "W Tym Domu Mieskaf
Dr. ABRAHAM OZJASZ THON, od 19055 do 1936." She wanted to keey
the plate but "the Germans took it down and destroyed it."
But to compensate for that loss there is the street sign REHOV
DR. YEHOSHUA THON in Tel Aviv, and it is reproduced in Hebrew
and the Latin characters in the Hollander pamphlet. There is an
Israeli moshava bearing his name, and there, at present, "men and
women from Western Galitzia live well," as Mrs. Hollander explains it.
Her story is about her father's role as a member of the Polish
Sejm (Parliament), his courageous efforts in defense of the oppressed
Polish Jews, his pleas with Clemenceau, Pilsudski and others in behalf
of the unfortunate Jewish population.
Primarily, it is a story of a noted leader's role as a Zionist,
his emphasis on Zionism as the major cause for relief of Jewish
suffering and of fullfillment of the historic :aspirations of the Jewish

Perhaps Dr. Thon's share in Zionist historic triumphs will no
be fully recognized. On his 60th birthday, there was a great tribute
to him from Dr. Chaim Weizmann. Throughout his life he wag
hailed as a chief spokesman for Polish Jewry.
Now the long overdue tribute comes from his daughter and'
concludes her monograph with these words: "The small work I/
and which perhaps evokes the image of spirit, will power and('
my father in the service of his people is the little I did. Tl/
I could do for vou. my father!"

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