The First Jewish Assimilationist
BY JACK SIEGEL
(A Seven Arts Feature)
We worry about Jewish youth
today. We fear their alienation
from our religion and tradition,
and that they will become
disillusioned by world problems.
This is not n e w. It has hap-
Elisha Ben Avuyah was the very
first Jewish assimilationist. He
doubted the Unity of God, Reward
and Punishment. He was totally
indifferent to the resurrection of
the .dead. This was no way to go
thrOugh life but it did not seem to
bother Elisha. He was, in fact, so
alienated, that the rabbis called
him "aher," or "the other." He
was different, he was apart. Per-
haps the fact that he lived in the
time of Hadrian, who forbade cir-
cumcision, had something to do
with it. Perhaps not.
But Elisha is hardly any con-
solation for a Jewish parent con-
fronted with a wayward chil d.
Chief Justice Proposes
Forum to Bridge Gap
(Direct JTA Teletype Wire
to The Jewish News)
From the personal point of view,
it is perhaps a tragedy. From the
view of continuity of the tradi-
tion, it is not fatal.
So heretical was Elisha that he
ignored the Tora for the far-out
literature of the day. Nor was
that enough. He also profaned the
Sabbath and incited others to fol-
low suit. Legend has it that he
came to Shul one Saturday and
provoked the youth to disaffection.
"Why are you in synagogue," he
shouted at them, "why don't you
go out and work, learn to be a
tailor, or a shoemaker?" And to
add insult to incitement, he yelled,
Yet, Elisha knew Jewish law. In
fact, some carry his name. It is
even told that on still another
Saturday, be decided to ride a
horse. His rabbi, Meir, grappled
with him and the horse, and tried
to hold Elisha back from riding.
But the horse, stronger than the
old rabbi, dragged him along.
Then, at one point, Elisha turned
to Rabbi Meir and reminded him
that since it was the Sabbath, a
good Jew is only permitted to
walk the Thum Shabas," Elisha
added, "For me, there is no re-
If there is any comfort to this
story, or lesson to be learned, it
NEW YORK—Earl Warren, chief is that we must NOT write off
justice of the United States, pro- our youth. Elisha's disaffection did
posed here Sunday that the Herbert not deter the course of Jewish
IL Lehman Institute of Ethics, a history. We must for other reasons
branch of t h e
give the young people the benefit
of our religion and history.
cal Seminary of
Some years back, the son of a
(deceased) friend of mine an-
nounced his intent to marry out of
the faith. I was asked to inter-
to a conference
cede. I talked with- a rabbi about
that might lead
the case. "Fight it," the rabbi
to a bridging of
said. "And what if I should lose."
t h e ,, "generation
I asked. "Then stick with him,"
said the rabbi, "stick with him
Warren, w h o
all the way."
spoke at the
Award Dinner of
t h e Seminary,
said that from the proposed con-
ference "might emerge an inter-
national forum where young, mid-
dle-aged and even old among all
people would participate regularly,
meeting with one another, thinking
with one another, striving together
instead of against each other."
He warned that the gap between
generations continually widens as
the growth of scientific and teen-
nological knowledge accelerates.
Six community leaders received
the Louis Marshall Award in recog-
nition of their continuing effort to
"further the spiritual, cultural and
ethical well-being of the Jewish
They are: Lester F. Avnet, of
Kings Point, L.L;Harry K. Cohen
of Philadelphia; Nathan B. Kogan
and Jacob S. Lasdon of New York
City; Matthew B. Rosenhaus of
Morristown, N.J.; and Da v i d
Zucker of Great Neck, L.I.
46 E. Europe Refugees THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Land in U.S., Canada
NEW YORK (JTA) — Forty-six
Jewish refugees from three East-
ern European countries have land-
ed in the United States and Cana-
da, the United Hias Service report-
According to Carlos L. Israels,
president of the immigrant aid
society, the refugees from Poland,
Czechoslovakia and Hungary
boarded a charter flight at Vienna.
Twenty-four landed at Montreal
and 22 at New York, he said.
The flight was sponsored by
Catholic, Protestant and nonsectar-
ian agencies in addition to HIAS.
Gaynor I. Jacobson, executive vice
president of HIAS, estimated that
4,000 Jews have left Czechoslovakia
since the Soviet-led invasion of that
country last Aug. 21, and 1,500 of
them have applied for migration
aid at the United Hias Vienna
Jacobson said that over 800 Jews
have already been resettled in the
United States, Canada, Western
Europe and Australia.
'A Marked House,'
Friday, November 15, 1968-21
Dr. Twersky's Tale
Himself a member of a famous make it a source of study of
Hasidic family, Dr. Joseph Twersky, human reactions and family diffi-
now assistant professor of English culties in which the reli gious ele-
at Bronx Community College of ment is strongly in evidence.
New York City University, has
produced a stirring novel depicting Articles on Holocaust
a family conflict and the effects of
in Jewish Book Annual
Hasidic life upon it.
Essays on Holocaust literature
In "A Marked House," published
by Thomas Yoseloff, Dr. Twersky and the development of fiction and
deals with a family that settles in poetry in Israel since it became a
New York, having been reunited state 20 years ago are among the
during the depressing years of articles featured in Volume 26 of
Polish discriminations. The head the Jewish Book Annual, published
of the family, a rabbi, leaves for by the Jewish Book Council of the
the U. S. first, then brings his fam- National Jewish Welfare Board.
The 252-page yearbOok of Jewish
ily here, and during the years of his
leadership of his congregation suf- literary creativity also lists and
describes more than 930
fers tensions resulting from his
wife's depressions, his sons aver- books of Jewish interest published
sions to the life of his parents' in the United States, Israel and
Great Britain during the twelve
month period ending May 1968.
We have here elements of a re-
The volume lists the new Jewish
volt as well as the difficulties en- books in seven bibliographies:
countered by the head of the family American Jewish non-fiction,
who finds it necessary to institu- American Jewish fiction, American
tionalize his wife. His death comes Jewish books for children, Amer-
just as the latter decision is ican Hebrew books, Yiddish books,
about to be reached on doctor's Jewish books published in Great
Britain, and selected books of
It is a well written story that
inspires interest in the changing
generations and in the loyalties
Whatever I do study ought to be
emanating from the devout com- engaged in with all my soul, for I
TEL AVIV (JTA)—The school munity.
will be eminent in something.
year opened in northern-Sinai with
—H. W. Longfellow
Emotional factors in the novel
a larger attendance than in the
previous year, according to the
military governor's office, even
Thinking of a new Cadillac?
though, many of the youngsters
have been busy harvesting dates
For Personalised Service Call
and other crops.
There are 11 schools in the
coastal town of El Arish and 14
others scattered all over the penin-
sula which are attended by Bed-
ouins and village children. Schools
in other Israel-occupied territories
KE 1 2600
24600 Grand River Nr. 7 Mile
opened several weeks ago.
in Sinai Schools
Let there be
about if ...
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NY Assemblyman Dies
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