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April 12, 1968 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1968-04-12

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Soviet Bloc's Unrest Hurts Jew s, Parley Told

the traditions of exposing hypoc-
risy, of defending the underdog,
of refusing to be silent in the
face of injustice. Their preoccu-
pation with the plight of Russian
Jews may have no immediate
practical effects on the Soviet
establishment's policies," he de-
clared. He added that neverthe-
less, "it reminds the Soviet Jews
themselves that not all of their
neighbors are either hostile or
indifferent to their fate ..."
Brumberg said it would be a
mistake to see the, ferment in
Russia and throughout Eastern
Europe as a reaction to mistreat-
ment of the Jews. "What we are
seeing is, basically, a power strug-
gle with Jews cast in the tradi-
tional role of scapegoats."
In a way, he said, "a peculiar
brand of fascism has now joined
forces with a peculiar brand of
communism," but, he asserted, it
will not prevail. "Revulsion against
racism and anti-Semitism is the
other side of the coin of 20th Cen-
tury nationalism, and this revolu-
tion is as widespread among the
best elements in non-Communist
as in the Communistic societies—
and indeed among non-Commun-
ists and those Communists that
wish to redeem what they con-
(Copyright 1968, JTA Inc.)
PASSOVER HAGGADOT: Some people like to collect stamps; others sider the ideals of socialism."
Dr. William Wexler, president of
collect old coins, rare books, antique objects . . . I collect Passover
Haggadot . . . The soul-stirring narration of the story of the Exodus Bnai Brith and chairman of the
from Egypt has appeared in at least 2,700 different editions — some of meeting, said that "if Soviet lead-
them illuminated manuscripts, some printed for the first time in the ers should take a new hard look
15th Century and others illustrated by famous artists at various times at where their true self interest in
and in various lands. There are Haggadot that were written by scribes the Middle East lies, they could
well decide that a more balanced
in Tora-like rolls; rare, engraved Haggadot . Haggadot with Arabic com- policy is in order and that Russian
mentary; Haggadot published centuries ago in Spain, Constantinople, interest does not require that they
Venice, Prague, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Basel, Salonika, Metz, Offen- be hostile to the Israelis abroad
baCh and other cities, reflecting the traditions of the Jewish communi-. and the Jews at home."
ties there . . . And there are, of course, modern Haggadot, like the
A 32-page white paper docu-
Reconstructionist Haggada in this country, or the various text of Hag- menting the case of Soviet op-
gadot in various kibutzim in Israel . . . One of the finest collections of pression against its Jewish citi-
Haggadot is to be found in the Congressional Library in Washington, zens was adopted at the close
and the Jewish National Library .in Jerusalem can boast of possessing of the meeting. A delegation of
the only copy of the first printed Haggadot which appeared in Guadala-. the presidents of the 25 par-
jara, Spain in 1482—seven years after the first Hebrew book was printed
ticipating national Jewish organ-
—and is now a part of the Schocken Incunabula Collection ... The most izations: brought the document
ancient Haggada in preserve today comes from the Cairo geniza, a to the Soviet Mission to the
storeroom in a Cairo synagogue for Hebrew manuscripts discovered by United Nations for delivery to
Prof. Solomon Schechter, the late founder o_f the Jewish Theological Ambassador Yakov Malik, chief
Seminary in New York . . . The leaves of this Haggada are now in of the Russian UN delegation.
Philadelphia . . . The Jewish Theological Seminary also has the only
The closing sessions of the meet-
four leaves that remained from the first illustrated Haggada published ing were addressed by Sen. Jacob
in 1515 in Constantinople.
K. Javits, New York Republican;
ART TREASURES : The favorite Haggadot in my • collection are the Morris B. Abram, president of the
famous Sarajevo Haggada, the similarly famous ancient Kaufman Hag- American Jewish Committee, one
gada, and Ben Shahn Haggada . . . The first two are magnificent of the participating organizations
reproductions of the illuminated originals which are now rare museum and U.S. representative on the UN
pieces considered as great treasures of medieval culture ... The original Human Rights Commission; and
illuminated Hebrew manuscript of the Sarajevo Haggada—which his- Mrs. Mortimer Jacobson, president
torians believe was written in or near Spain in the year of 1370—is now of Hadassah. The conference
kept in the National Museum in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia . . . The original adopted a massive program for na-
Kaufmann Haggada is believed to have been written in Spain, in the tional and local action for Soviet
year 1400, and is now the property of the Hungarian s Academy of Sci- Jewry.
ence in Budapest . .. It is remarkable that the originals of these two
Sen. Javits, who spoke at Mon-
most beautiful and most important Haggadot are now in countries sclay morning's session, declared
behind the Iron Curtain . . . Exquisite limited editions of these two rare that "a chill blast of anti-Semitism"
books have been made with reverent and painstaking care . . . With had come from the authorities in
remarkable fidelity their charm and brilliance have been preserved ..
the USSR and Poland in response
It took three years to prepare the engravings of the gemlike series of to "the winds of dissent coursing
69 vividly detailed illuminations of the Sarajevo Haggada for which the through Communist Eastern Eu-
volume has acquired its international reputation . .. And it took two rope."
years for the Hungarian Academy of Science to prepare, in 10 colors,
He said that while American
720 bibliophile copies which capture every delicate nuance of the Jews could not provide a refuge
original illuminations . .-. The copies were each numbered, and I am for Soviet Jewry or send teachers
fortunate to have secured one of these leather-bound facsimiles, num- or rabbis to them, "what we can
bered 272 . . . The Sarajevo Haggada is considered a part of art history do is to raise our voices in protest
. . . Its reputation is so widespread in the world of art that when the and urge our government, and
Nazis occupied Sarajevo in April 1941, one of their first actions was to other free peoples and their gov-
send an officer to the National Museum there in order to lay their hands ernments to protest both inside
on it . . . Fortunatey„the Haggada had been hidden in a remote Moun-: and outside the United Nations."
(A special outdoor seder for So-
taro village . . . After the war, this Superb'medieval codex was returned
to the Sarajevo museum, where it is now displayed as a priceless piece viet Jewry was held Wednesday
evening around a decorated seder
of art.
AMERICAN HAGGADOT: The Ben Shihn - ilaggada is the "youngest" table set up near the Soviet Mis-
haggada of art value and was published in the .United States . . . Ben sion to the United Nations as a
Shahn, the famous American painter who was born in a traditional protest against the continued dis-
Jewish fmily in Lithuania, was inspired to illustrate the Haggada. abilities suffered by the Jews in
some 30 years ago . . . The first 10 numbered copies of the artist's illus- the Soviet Union. The ceremony
trated and lettered, hand-crafted book, lavishly done in 156 pages, were was arranged by the New York
originally sold for $1,600 a copy . . . Other numbered copies were sold Jewish Community Relations Coun-
from $750 to $450 a copy ... Some of the original illustrated and hand- cil's Coordinating Committee for
lettered pages of the Shahn Haggada have been presented by Edward Soviet Jewry.)
In Tel Aviv,. Maoz, the associa-
M. M. Warburg as a gift to the Jewish Museum in New York where they
are on exhibition now . . . A facsimile edition, containing 12 pages with tion to aid Russian Jewry, main-
the Hebrew text written by hand by the artist and richly illuminated tained in a statement that the ac-
with his paintings reproduced in seven colors, has been published two tions of official organizations and
years ago in this country in an, exquisite volume treasured equally by authorities on behalf of Soviet
art lovers, religious scholars and laymen . . . Another modern Haggada Jews have accomplished nothing to
of great art is the Arthur Szyk Haggada, wonderfully illuminated by the alleviate their plight. The group
well-known Jewish artist . . . The many-colored edition was first 'printed said that the situation of Russian
in 1939, before the Nazi war, on vellum; it is still available at $1,000 .. . Jewry has, in fact, worsened and
A new "limited" edition has been printed from the same plates ... Saul called for the creation of a "na-
Raskin's Haggada, another illustrated large-size Haggada by an Ameri- tional liberation committee" for
can Jewish artist—printed in 1941 in New York—is popular, as aro Russian Jews. The association also
various illlustrated Haggadot published in Israel since the establishment asked that Jews the world over
of the Jewish State . . . A valuable Haggada is the one by Rabbi M. M. keep an empty chair at the of
Kasher, published, in New York . . . It has extensive scholarly and inter- over seder table a gesture
idarity with the Jews of Russia.
esting commentaries in English worth reading.

NEW YORK — (JTA) — A sym-
posium sponsored by the American
Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry
was told here Sunday that the poli-
tical unrest in the Soviet bloc
would probably harden Soviet re-
sistance to demands for ameliora-
tion of the suppression of Russian
Jewish cultural and religious life.
The symposium opened a two-
day biennial meeting of the con-
ference. The symposium was pre-
ceded by a memorial meeting for
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Some
300 leaders, representing 25 major
American Jewish organizations,
attended the biennial.
The symposium was addressed
by Prof. Erich Goldhagen, director
of the Institute of East European
Jewry at Brendeis University;
Maurice Friedberg, director of the
Russian Research Center at In-
diana University; and Abraham
Brumberg, editor of "Problems of
Prof. Goldhagen said that "the
Soviets fear that the disruptive

Friday, April 12, 1968-13


forces coursing through Eastern
Europe might penetrate into their
domain." This climate of political
vigilance and anxiety, he said, "is
inhospitable to the demands that
Jewish cultural institutions be re-
constructed" because "in the eyes
of the Soviet leaders, a revival of
Jewish culture would be tanta-
mount to opening a window to the
West, because such a culture
would, of necessity be linked, at
least in spirit, to the Jewish com-
munities abroad."
Prof. Goldhagen added that "the
more insecure the Soviet govern-
ment feels itself and the more
fearful it is of Western influence,
the greater its suspicion of Jews
. . . and the greater its reluctance
to permit recreation of the institu-
tions that would foster the ethos
of Jewish culture."
Friedberg noted that "a sig-
nificant segment of the Soviet
Union's younger intellectuals
continues the noble traditions of
the old Russian intelligentsia ...

Historic Haggadot

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