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May 10, 1968 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1968-05-10

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Fate of Destiny—Katsh Recalls Shazar's
Literary Debut as 10-Year-Old Publisher

By ABRAHAM I. KATSH
President, Dropsie College
Sometimes the paths of individ-
uals and their destinies converge to
be united by a mysterious power
which influences them throughout
their lives.
This was the case of Yitzhak
Ben-Zvi, the second president of
Israel, and Shneour Zalman Sha-
zar. who succeeded him and was
recently reelected for a second
term.
From early youth the two were
drawn together by the vision of
Jewish national redemption. Their
friendship deepened through
shared dreams and joined actions.
There were never any ideological
or personal crises to divide them.
The lives of both were identical
in almost every detail. Like other
tens of thousands of Jewish youths,
their thinking and planning were
shaped by the realities of life in
the Pale of Settlement in Russia.
But where many others despaired,
these two rebelled and, what
counts even more, they revolted.
The Jewish national aspirations
stirred their hearts and gave them
no rest.
At that time. over 60 years ago,
Zionism was in its infancy. But
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and Zalman Sha-
zar (Shneour Zalman Rubashov)
did not need political Zionism to
stir their youthful enthusiasm for
Zion. They were infused in the
Zionist vision of their fathers'
homes. where Judaism and pride
in their national heritage were
deeply rooted. For them Zionism
was a natural part of Jewishness
and thus they gave themselves to-
tally to the movement and its ob-
jectives.
Ben-Zvi was several years
older than Shazar. When they
first met, they had already been
immersed in the Zionist vision
for several years. Thanks to Ben-
Zvi's initiative, his home town
of Poltava became a center of
Zionist activity. Shazar was not
yet thirteen at the time of that
first meeting. But the two took
to each other at once, as young
Shazar was matured beyond his
years.
Both of them were realistically
oriented. For them the Zionist
idea was an imperative of life de-
manding action.
Shazar's first "action" was the
publication of "Hayarchon" (the
Monthly), described on the mast-
head as "A Hebrew newspaper, a
Zionist organ, published every
month by the editor and publisher
Zalman Rubashov."
Hayarchon appeared in Shazar's
borne town . Stolpce, in the district
of Minsk (my grandfather, the
Gaon Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak,
Maskil-LeEtan, of sainted memory
was its rabbi then). When my fa-
ther. of blessed memory, the late
chief rabbi of Petah-Tikva, came
to my grandfather's home as his
son-in-law, husband of his daugh-
terter, my mother, Rachel, may
she rest in peace, Shazar studied
Talmud under him, in the great
synagogue. The newspaper, Hayar-
chon, hand written and duplicated,
was notable for its use of modern
publishing "technique." It was di-
vided into columns: a lead arti-
cle, news and a feuilleton under a
line on the lower part of the page.
The "correspondents" of the news-
paper were: Bar-Bisha, Rosho-Ve-
R 0100 Zeman and others — all
pseudonyms of the publisher-edi:
tor. The letters of the first two
names are anagrams of the name
Rubashov. At the top of the page,
a schedule of subscription rates
was printed, stating: "In Russia:
For a year A 60 (the A before
the number apparently stands for
"Agora," as the Russian kopeck
was called in Hebrew). For half
a year A 35, single copy A 7; for a
year with postage A 80, for half a
year A 45. Abroad: For a year 2
marks, for half a year 1 mark. For
change of address A 10."
Five issues appeared without
interruption. Without pride or
boasting, Shazar, who was only
30 years old at the time, per.

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.Thy

General Sarnoff's `Looking Ahead' ,
Reviews Communications Progress

lated issues. There is discussion of
the issue of government control,
and General Sarnoff is emphatic
in his advocacy of free enterprise
in communications and in oppos-
ing a Navy wireless monopoly.
The broadcasting field is thor-
oughly analyzed and the eminent
leader in his field envisages na-
tional broadcasting.
Application of radio to various
industrial fields is under review.
While discussing the problems of
radio broadcasting, General Sar-
noff also indicates the opportuni-
ties and advantages.
Use of radio in broadcasting
music festivals is indicated in
General Sarnoff's pioneering ef-
forts and his exchange of cor-
respondence with Arturo Toscan-
ini is especially interesting. In
his advocacy of "freedom to lis-
ten," General Sarnoff outlines a
plan for action by the United as
a means of reaching peoples and
communicating ideas for world
advancement.
General Sarnoff's efforts in be-
half of Voice of America and his
sponsorship of "Voice of Peace"
are illuminated in this important
volume.
Science, technology and national
policy become of use in this col-
lection of important papers. Per-
sonalities who have shared in the
development of communications
media are alluded to and Credited
with their creative efforts—Vladi-
mir Zworykin among them.
"Looking Ahead" points to a
future of increased progress while
it indicates achievements of the
past in which General Sarnoff
played a very great role.

Selections from the writings of
David Sarnoff, the genius of the
electronics industry who was an
organizer and
head of Radio
Corporation of
America, are in
corporated in r
book bylined b ~
him and publish-
ed by McGraw
Hill Book Co.
under the title
"L o o k i n
Ahead."
It is a magnifi- „
cent work that Sarnoff
reveals the manifold activities of
one of America's most distin-
guished citizens, throwing the
limelight anew, through these writ-
ings, on major developments that
have affected this land and fused
its interest with the world.
There is an interesting fore-
word to this volume by Dr.
Jerome B. Weisner, provost of
Massachusetts Institute of Tech-
nology, who emphasizes that
Sarnoff's life "paralleled that of
the communications industry"
and he pays honor to the dis-
tinguished leader in the field of
communications by pointing out
that General Sarnoff "brought
other rare gifts to his labors—
unusual perception, organization-
al genius, an undaunted spirit, a
love for his work."
There is an immense amount of
data incorporated in these collected
essays. Their brevity commends
them to the reader as a readily
available source of information
about press, radio, TV and all re-

'

A Hebrew Teacher's Day

Reproduction of a page from Israel President Zalman Shazar's
"Hayarchon" preserved in Dr. Abraham Katsh's archives.

formed like an editor. Hayarchon
suspended publication because
of "an act of God" — the great
fire in Stolpce, which destroyed
a large part of the village, in-
cluding Shazar's "publishing
house." At the top of the seventh
issue, which appeared in a near-
by resort, w a s printed an
apology that ,‘'by reason of the
burning of the publishing house
and its removal to the country,
issue number six did not appear
and this issue, too, was late."
The lead article was missing,
since "because of the urgency
of the article 'In the Midst of
Destruction,' we were forced to
omit the editorial." The article
"In the Midst of Destruction"
written "by our constant corres-
pondent" is a philosophical de-
scription of catastrophic confla-
grations which turn rich men
into paupers in a single night,

and causing havoc and destruc-
tion throughout the town.
This little monthly, in its limited
format already bore the imprints
of all the characteristics of the
mature author and publicist,
Shneour Zalman Shazar. There
are his spiritual unrest and mental
agility. The language is rich and
colorful. The descriptions are vivid,
moving and imbued with vitality, It
is difficult to believe that this
newspaper was edited by a 10-
year-old boy, because of the ma-
turity of the writing.
While other boys of this age
were still busy with childish
things, Shneour Zalman Shazar
was engrossed in Zionist activities.
Ever since, he did not stop bearing
the yoke of responsibility for the
movement with love and dedica-
tion, until he reached the acme
of his life and was elected presi-
dent of the State of Israel.

(Yom Hamore)

By SAUL KLEIMAN
A certain Jewish community con-
sisting of adults and teen-agers
has been observing for years, a
"Hebrew Teachers Day" (Yom
Hamore Haivri), a day when he is
free from teaching, and is enter-
tained by the congregation. Here
the annual observance of Teacher's
day was CONSIDERED as a semi-
ritual, and everybody was pleased
with it except the teen-agers.
A number of times these young
members have asked the congre-
gation to introduce a "Yom Hatal-
mid" (a Pupil's Day), and give up
the observance of "Teachers'
Day," or to observe both, a "Yom
Hatalmid" and Yom Hamore, but
this motion was rejected, and this
rejection resulted in unpleasant
consequences.
At last both the old e r and
younger members agreed on invit-

Ludwig Lewisohn's Island Within' Reissued

The late Dr. Ludwig Lewisohn
emerged into fame in the late
1920s with his first novel on a
Jewish theme, "The Island With-
in." In a sense, the story he nar-
rated about a Jew who abandoned
his Jewish heritage, later to return
to it with a sense of pride, was
autobiographical.
First published by Harper, it
has just been reissued by the
Jewish Publica-
tion Society of
America, ando-
once again it is
assured the sta-
tus of a classic.
The story itself
retains its time-
liness. It is as ap-
plicable today as
it was 40 years
ago. Its signifi-
cance and the
literary contribu- Dr. Lewisohn
tions of the late Dr. Lewisohn are
evaluated in an important intro-
duction to the new JPS edition by
Dr. Stanley F. Chyet, associate
director of A m e r i c an Jewish
Archives of Cincinnati.
Recalling Dr. Lewisohn's ear-
lier literary crreatiious., with spe-

ciai reference to "Mid-Chanel"
which created a sensation, Dr.
Chyet states in his essay that
he is "reminded of the delicate
massage in 'Mid-Chanel' where
Lewisohn speaks of his expa-
triate quarters in Paris as 'a
Jewish house, wherein appro-
priate symbolical tokens . • . of
our history and its memories
and its pieties are plain for all
men to see' — and yet, he goes
on to say, he is at pains 'to
avoid over-emphasis and even
the shadow of going beyond our
needs and convictions. So we
have placed no mezuza at our
door.' Pride, Jewish pride,
speaks forth from 'The Island
Within,' but it is a fragile, care-
ful pride, one, still aborning of
touch and discovery."
There are personal recollections
of Dr. Lewisohn by Dr. Chyet who
refers to their association at
Brandeis University. The author
of the introduction to the repub-
lished novel states that he loved
the author of "The Island Within,"
that he was inspired by him, and
he pays this tribute:
"I think I am not the only one
to owe him much. He made a

Jew of me — he, his work, and
particularly this book, 'The Is-
land Within.' He made me prize
what, it is true, was mine by
birthright, but it was through
my discovery of him that I be-
gan to care about that birthright.
Even before I knew him in per-
son, he had made a Jew of me,
this book his instrument — and
it may be, I allow myself to
hope, his book will prove as
fruitful in the future as it has
proven in the past. If the reader
takes these. words as my kaddish
for Lewisohn, I shall not com-
plain."
Joseph M. First, JPS president,
announcing the republication of
this novel, stated:

"Certain works of American
Jewish fiction have proven them-
selves to be of enduring value and
merit the status of classics. It is
the intent of The Jewish Publica-
tion Society of America to bring
these works to the attention of a
new generation of American Jew-
ish readers. With the publication
of 'The Island Within,' the society
inaugurates the JPS Library of
Contemporary Jewish Fiction."

ing a highly cultured Hebrew to
help them solve the problem. They
invited a well known Talmudist
named LUAS to make harmony
among the members.
After listening to the problems
presented to him by both sides,
Mr. Luas took out from his pockets
two very small books, tractates of
the Talmud, one named Taanit
and the other Makot. These books,
said Mr. Luas, are the authorities
of the Jewish religion, of the Bible,
of all ancient and medieval Jewish
histories, of rabbinics, of all litur-
gical practices, etc. I have here
only two volumes. The whole Tal-
mud contains scores of volumes.
I will quote for you some state-
ments made by one of the authors
of the Talmud, named Rabbi Han-
nina, which appeared in Tractate
MAKKOT, page 7a:
Rabbi Hannina said: "I have
learned much from my teachers,
but more so have I learned from
my friends, but most have I
learned from my pupils."
"This statement made by such
a great scholar as Rabbi Hannina
prove to us that "a pupils' day" is
not inferior to "a teachers' " day,
said Mr. Luas.
One more quotation of state-
ments made by "Rabbi Jehuda
the Prince," author of the Mishna
and of the Talmud, the GREATEST
ISHN A
, author of the Talmudist—M
AND G'MORO combined. made
that statement before Rabbi Han-
nina and is recorded in Tractate
TA.ANIT, page 7a.
The statement is worth repeat-
ing:
Rabbi Jehuda the Prince said:
"I have learned much from my
teachers; more so from my
friends; and most have I learned
from my pupils."
The teen-agers now exclaimed:
We won! We won! All the mem-
bers present applauded and heart-
ily thanked Mr. Luas.
A day later there were in that
house A YOM HAMORE and a
YOM H.ATALM1D, a Teachers'
Day and a Pupils' Day.

I

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
56—Friday, May 10, 1968

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