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December 20, 1968 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1968-12-20

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THE JEWISH NEWS

Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with issue of July 20, 1951

Editorial
Member American Association of English—Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press Association, National
Association.
Published every Friday by The .Tewlsh News Publishing Co., 17100 West Seven Mile Road, Detroit, Mich. 48235,
VE 8-9364. Subscription $7 a year. Foreign IS.
Second Class Postage Paid at Detroit, Michigan

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Edtter and Publisher

SIDNEY SHMARAK

CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ

Advertising Manager

Business Manager

CHARLOTTE DUBIN

City Editor

Sabbath Hanuka Scriptural Selections

This Sabbath, the 30th day of Kislev and Rosh Hodesh Tevet, 5729, the following
scriptural selections will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portions, Gen. 41:1-44:17, Num. 28:9-15, Num. 7:42-47. Prophetical
portion, Zechariah 2:14-4:7.
Hanuka and Rosh Hodesh Tora readings, Sunday: Num. 28:1-15, Num. 7:48-53.
Concluding day of Hanuka Tora reading, Monday, Num. 7:54-8:4.

Candle lighting, Friday, Dec. 20, 4:44

VOL. LW. No. 14

p.m.

December 20, 1968

Page Four

Perennial Hanuka-Christmas Confusion

The few remaining days of Hanuka and
their proximity to Christmas raise anew
the question of a possible conflict and bring
to the fore again the problem that confronts
parents in relation to the influence of the
environment upon their children.
While the issue has arisen again and again,
it' emerges perennially -as problematic, and
there is always the oppressive realization that
children become confused by celebrations of
a religious nature.
Attempts to solve the problem have been
made on the basis of joint Hanuka-Christmas
observances, but such methods of evading the
religion-in-the-schools threats have been re-
jected, as indicated in a statement of prin-
ciples that had been issued by the National
Community Relations Advisory Council and
the Synagogue Council of America, in which
these guidelines were advanced:

In keeping with the principles underlying the
relationship of religion and public education set
forth in the joint resolutions of the Synagogue
Council of America and the National Community
Relations Advisory Council regarding released
time, and regarding other sectarian practices in
the public schools, and reaffirming those prin-
ciples and applying them to the specific question
of religious holiday observances in the public
school, we state:
1. We are opposed to the observance of re-
ligious holidays in the public elementary and
high schools because in our view such observance
constitutes a violation of the traditional Ameri-
can principle of the separation of church and state.
2. Joint religious observances such as Christ-
mas-Hanuka and Easter-Passover, are in our
opinion no less a breach of the principle of sepa-
ration of church and state and violate the con-
science of many religious persons, Jews and
Christians alike.
3. Where religious holiday observances are
nevertheless held in public schools. Jewish chil-
dren have a right to refrain from participation.
We recommend that the local Jewish communities
take such action as may be appropriate to safe-
guard this right of nonparticipation.
4. We urge that local Jewish communities

consult with the Joint Advisory Committee of the
Synagogue Council of America and the National
Community Relations Advisory Council before
taking formal or public action on all these matters.

Actually, such advice, repeated by local
as well as the national groups, does not solve
anything. Where there is emphasis on Christ-
mas, it continues in spite of protests because
we do live in a Christian environment, and a
small minority can not negate the activities
of a vast majority—because a small group
dares not and must not fight the trends among
the large masses of people.
It is true that when the religious influ-
ences are felt in government and educational
circles, they should be protested in the hope
of acquiring accord relative to avoidance of
injection of church issues into the affairs of
state. But even in such instances they have
not worked. The annual Christmas stamp has
been issued again, a Jewish girl who objected
to Yule carols was ousted from membership
in the -University of Pennsylvania marching
band and there are instances galore to indi-
cate that one can't fight City Hall.
Nevertheless, the Jewish community is
faced with an issue involving temptations to
Jews to introduce the Christmas tree in their
homes and the confusing challenges to chil-
dren in schools as well as in their everyday

environment.

Story of Prayer Book, Siddur's
Continuity Told by Two Authors

As the great and strong symbol of Jewish identity and as the sym-
bol of Jewry's spiritual functions, the Siddur occupies a major role in
Jewish life.
Philip Arian, educational director of Temple Israel, Albany, N.Y.,
and Dr. Azriel Eisenberg, now director of the World Council on Jewish
Education, in their joint effort, "The Story of the Prayer Book," pub-
lished by Prayer Book Press, Hartford, Conn., state:
"When Jews are described as 'the People of the Book," it is of
course the Bible which is being referred to. Nevertheless, if one were
to ask, 'Which is "the Book of the People"?,' the answer would be the
Siddur or Prayer Book."
In their interesting compilation of historical facts regarding the
Siddur, the two authors show that it is not the work of individuals "but
the expression of the genius of the entire people during the long pil-
grimage through time."

The answer that possibly suggests itself to
How did the Prayer Book begin? While tracing prayer to Abra-
the Jewish community is in the form of self-
ham's time, to the period when Abraham and Isaac "built an altar
respect—of Jews learning to observe their
and called upon the name of the Lord," Arian and Eisenberg credit
own and respecting the symbolisms of others
the beginnings of formal prayer to "the epochal events following
the destruction of the First Temple." To describe the offering of
by refraining from their observances. This
sacrifices which was a major ceremonial in earliest times, the
calls for educational approaches which should
hymns of praise which accompanied the sacrifices, the Levites'
be assumed as existing and being emphasized
hymns of praise, the accompaniment of the organ-like magrefa, the
but which apparent ly are not effective
trumpet sounds and the subsequent group prayers. Even in earliest
enough. To make them effective, the com-
times, they show, the Prophets Amos, Hosea and Isaiah displayed
munity has a great responsibility — a far
courage by challenging the resort to the ceremony of animal sacri-
greater duty than that of constantly fighting
fices.
for the principles of Church and State Sep-
The emergence of the synagogue, the reading of the Tora on Rosh
aration which should be an obligation on all
Hashana in 444 BCE by Ezra, the development by Ezra of "study and
citizens and not on Jews alone.
prayer in a single act of worship" and the democratization of prayer

Scranton's Mission and Israel's Position

It is too early to judge the results of the come most of the threats to Israel since the
mission of former Pennsylvania Governor Six-Day War, proves the contrary: there is
imbalance in aid to Middle Eastern states.
William W. Scranton to the Middle East, other
President-elect Richard M. Nixon had
than to indicate anew that the attitudes of
made
some strong commitments to Israel. The
governments do not change, that campaign
Scranton mission has begun to water them
promises by political candidates do not always
give assurances of changes in established down. The one hope now is that Israel will
policies, and to emphasize the established not be let down in the guarantee that this
principle that the State Department, in the country will not permit the state's dissolution
through Arab organized schemes to destroy
long run, guides a President in his actions.
The Scranton position might be summar- everything that Jews have built in the small
ized as warning of future policies of "no area they call their home and ancient heritage
favoritism," and on this score the question they seek to perpetuate by constructive
must be posed whether there ever was favor- means. There is no doubt that the entire world
itism, whether on the basis of assistance will be eyeing Washington for proof that the
extended to Arab countries it could not be pledge to assure Israel's security will not be
said that they rather than Israel are being broken — regardless of the party that had
favored, and most important is the necessity made such a pledge. Such a guarantee is
in the party platform of the Democrats and
to assert that Israel does not ask favors.
What is requested and hoped for is that the Republicans and they were supported
an established American-Israel friendship will also by Senators McCarthy and McGovern,
be perpetuated and that this country will not and even by George Wallace.
do anything to endanger the security of Israel
and her people. If the Arab lands are to
receive arms, as they have, from the United
States as well as the Soviet Union, it is hoped Max M. Fisher, already having attained

Fisher's Dual Role

in the early days of the Second Temple are described in detail.
There was a debate over the fixing of prayers during the Second
Temple period, and the authors compiled a pro and con debate summa-
tion in which are pieced together the view of the rabbis in the Talmud.
It is shown how the Nasi, Rabbi Gamliel II, fixed the order of prayer,
and the authors point to the institution at that time of the Shaharit and
Minha services, to the Arvit and the Amida.
The Siddur itself was born during the period of Jewish life in Baby-
lonia which became the new center of Jewish life after the Temple's
destruction. There were marked differences in prayers in Babylon and
Israel, and these are listed in this book, which indicates that a response
of Rab Amram ben Sheshna Gaon in 870 CE "brought about the first
written order of prayers."

There are time capsules of special interest in this volume, espe-
cially those describing the activities of and the controversy with the

Samaritans dating back to 535 BCE. The roles of the Sadducees and
Karaites are denied, and the attitudes towards Jewish-Christians in
a subsequent period are alluded to.

Specific prayers are explained and their origin described in this
interesting book. Prayers like the Alenu
known as the Martyrs'
Prayers—are among those delineated.
There are folk tales, especially those relating to Hasidic lore, and
there is a fine evaluation of kavana—the spirit of direction—as well as
of the Kabala and of many traditional practices. The influence of Hasi-
dism plays an interesting part in this descriptive work.
Among the legends related is the one about the Unetane Tokef of
Rabbi Amnon who rejected conversion. The Kinot, Selihot, T'hinnot,
Piyyutim, acrostics and other prayers and their forms are evaluated.



There is a fine description of the Mahsor and the authors es-
plain the emergence of the Reform prayer books, indicating their
differences and the opposition to them. The introduction of Reform
Judaism in the United States as well as the rise of Conservative
and Reconstructionist Judaism are recorded. Tice numerous prayer
books ,published in this country are described la this connection.

that Israel, too, will be assisted in creating local as well as national recognition as a
a balance that is vitally needed to remove the dynamic participant in major Jewish and
fears that the Arabs will indeed be aided in civic causes, this week emerged anew in his
fulfilling their aim of destroying Israel and dual role.
Prayers written in tribute to the Six Million Martyrs are listed and
exterminating the Israelis.
As the re-elected president of the United
origins explained.
There is an element of grave injustice in Jewish Appeal he retains one of the major their The
authors place emphasis on the unity and continuity of the Sid-
some newspaper reports which continue to roles in Jewish philanthropy.
dur. They call it "the. continuing record of the age-old conversation
harp on an exaggerated American support of
He has risen to great heights as the guide between man and God, a conversation that will end only when man
IsraeL The,dxtent of this country's aid to and head of the New Detroit Committee.
himself ceases to exist," and in spite of inevitable changes that will
Israel is debatable, and the amount of arms
His meritorious labors lend new honor to take place in the Siddur in time to come, they predict it will continue
that has been sent to Jordan, whence have Fts4(0-reqq;d, tnr bhe service • • • • - t9
-

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