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January 17, 1969 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1969-01-17

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In Book, 'Strangers and Natives,' Judd Teller Offers Important Portrayal of American Jew

Sever al popularly acclaimed
works on "The Jews" published in
the past couple of years have
drawn wide attention, and numer-
ous approaches, derided as luic-
rcus, as resorting to the sensa-
tional and to efforts at fun-pun-
ning, created disappointment. One


of the recent books by a Jewish
university professor was filled with
so many misrepresentations that
it distressed those anxious to as-
sure positive historical approaches
to and interpretations of Jewish
life in America.
There is an element of great re-
lief in the constructive task pur-
sued by Dr. Judd L. Teller in
"Strangers and Natives—The Evo-
lution of the American Jew From
1921 to the Present," published by
Delacorte Press (750 3rd, NY17).
There is a feeling of relief from
the nausea of so many other
works in Dr. Teller's reminis-
cences, his evaluative skill, his
personal identification with many
of the events about which he has
written, his indispitable facts gath-
ered for this work which is un-
questionably the best that has
been written in recent years on
the subject of the American Jew.
Dr. Teller is currently the execu-
tive vice chairman of the Ameri-
can Histadrut Cultural Exchange
Institute, and in this position he
has already rendered great serv-
ice in raising cultural standards
in Jewish public affairs. In his
day he was a reporter for Yiddish
newspapers, he wrote in both He-
brew and Yiddish, he is equally
a master of English, and as editor
of Independent Jewish Press Serv-
ice and Palcor News Agency- -
both long defunct—he helped en-
rich Jewish journalism and the
quest for news by Jews.
His pioneering efforts are re-
flected in "Strangers and Natives"
in which he analyzes events, com-
ments on personalities, evaluates
conditions, applies them to our
own time.
In his impressive fashion as
the objective, authoritative ana-
lyst of events in the past 45
years, Dr. Teller emerges the
able historian, and even when
he protests that he is "not a pro-

fessional historian," his reports
on occurrences not generally
found in histories make his work
an addendum to whatever his-
tories may yet be written that
will be respected and treated as
enriching the collective records
of happenings of our generation
and of this century.
Dr. Teller is especially effec-
tive when he writes about the Yid-
dish press. (As editor of an Eng-
lish news service it's a pity that
he did not also add to his research
and study views on the existing
English-Jewish press. He is cer-
tainly highly qualified to judge the
conditions in present-day Jewish
His views on the theater are
similarly valuable, and it is im-
portant to read his comments on
the Zionist
anti-Semitism, on
movement, and in the up-to-the-
minute race issue and the Jewish
involvement resulting from the
spread of black anti-Semitism.
Terms not heard today have
their interesting definitions in
this work, primarily those relat-
ing to Yahudim and Yidn. Dr.
Teller describes the interests
of the Yahudim, the German-
Jewish leadership element, and
their concern for the common
folk, the Yidn. Re states: "Sam-
uel Untermeyer, the authoritar-
ian corporation attorney who
built a chapel for his Christian
wife on his estate; the kindly
Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Straus,
whose special concern was to
provide milk for children; and
the Warburg banking family, led
a long roster of Yahudim who
contributed generously to Amer-
ican Jewish charities and to
Jewish effort in Palestine. Some
of them also sat on the board
of the American Jewish Com-
mittee, the Yahudim's policy-
making body. Whenever requir-
ed, they dutifully protested ex-
treme measures against Jews in
foreign lands. However, their
protests were sotto voce, like a
turned-down wick, and couched in
an English idiom that seemed
especially designed for that pur-
pose: simultaneously supplicant,
accusatory and apologetic, seek-
ing to define, deny, justify and
assert Jewish `differences.".
This was in the early days,
under the leadership of Louis Mar-
shall who, pursuing an AJCom-
mittee policy, according to Dr.
Teller, released statements about
issues in which the group was in-
volved "only when other ameliora-
tive methods had failed and pub-
licly seemed the only recourse."
That's part of the past history,
during which Rabbi Stephen Wise,
acting as leader of the American
Jewish Congress, was able, as the
author of "Strangers and Natives"
emphasizes, to excoriate both the
American Jewish Committee and
the New York Times which so
often was unfriendly to Zionism.
In this regard, the role of Louis
Lipsky, the services and activities
of other leaders of their time,
come in for interesting review.
The aftermath of the Six-Day
War similarly is analyzed in

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viewing the Israel situation vis-
a-vis American Jewry.
Studying the Negro-Jewish situa-
tion, the author makes the com-
ment that: "The high Negro and
the declining Jewish birthrate, to-
gether with the diminution of the
Jewish voter's ethnic conscious-
ness now that he thinks of him-
self as part of the Establishment,
can lead to a complete dissipation
of American Jewry's political

power should the politician be corn-
pelled to choose between the Jew-
ish and the Negro vote. Indeed
this would be a consumation not
to be wished for as its effects
would transcend America's fron-
tiers, and be felt in Israel and in
other communities that have re-
lied on American Jewry for sup-
Because of American Jewry's
significant role as defender and

supporter of Israel, Dr. Telleeit
views on this aspect of worldwide
activities is valuable in his study_
Whether he views politics, social
standards, economics, the preSa,
the theater, the restaurant, Dr.
Teller has portrayed an interesting
picture of American Jewry, elevat-
ing his "Strangers and Natives"
above the other works published
on the subject of American Jewry.

Feds, Army Probe Blast Damaging
Washington D.C. Synagogue Jan. 11

agents and army experts called in
by local police were trying to
determine the type of explosive
that virtually destroyed Cong.
Shaare Tikvah, a Conservative
synagogue in the Washington su-
burb of Oxen Hill, St. George's
County, Maryland the night of
Jan. 11.
The blast caused an estimated
$150,000 damage to the 15-month-
old structure.
No one was injured by the ex-
plosion, which neighbors said
sounded like a giant airliner crash-
ing. Doors were blown across a
field and smoke and flames burst
from the windows. Police called
in the FBI and army bomb squad
experts from Fort McNair, Va.
Dr. Issac Frank, executive di-
rector of the Greater Washington
Jewish Community Council, was
consulting with police officials
about the incident. Some authori-
ties feared the explosion might
have been a local manifestation of
the recent rash of synagogue burn-
ings and vandalism in New York
Residents of the modest, middle-
income suburb said there was no
previous record of anti-Semitism
Rep. Larry Hogan, Maryland
Republican, deplored the bomb-
ing and said he may initiate
action for stronger federal anti-
bombing laws.
Rep. Hogan t o 1 d Congress,
"American people will not tolerate
terrorist attacks on houses of wor-
ship . . . The time has come to
review anti-bombing statutes to
determine what additional strong-
er federal legislation might be
adopted to punish and discourage
such terrorism."
He said, "to ignore such a re-
prehensible deed as the bombing
of a synagogue is to invite further
depredations of this nature. We
are dealing here with not only a
desecration of a sacred edifice but
a grave threat to lives of innocent
persons." He said he is studying
existing statutes and would con-
sider sponsoring "entirely new
legislation" if needed.
The explosion might have taken
a heavy toll of lives if a dance
scheduled in the social activities
room had not been cancelled at
the last minute because of flu.
Rabbi Robert Chernoff of Shaare
Tikvah, said the explosion ocurr-
ed at a time when the social room
would have been occupied by teen-
agers. "Had they been in the so-
cial activities room, it would have
a slaughter," Rabbi Chernoff said.
The explosive knocked a hole
in a pressed concrete floor,
blew out three heavy metal
doors and send debris flying
across the social room. Police
said, "A high explosive charge
of undetermined type was plac-
ed on the floor of a short pas-
sageway between the social
room and the kitchen." They re-
ported finding no signs of for-
cible entry into the locked
building and no notes.
Members of the 175-family con-
gregation said that a group of
teen-age boys entered the kitchen
through a skylight last fall and
raided a supply of sacramental
wine. They speculated that the
same skylight may have been used
to plant the explosives. The major
damage was confined to the rear
of the synagogue, and Rabbi Cher-
noff said the sanctuary would be
ready for use by next weekend. He

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March of Dimes prenatal care
education programs for teen-agers
stress the dangers of drug misuse
to unborn children and the import-
ance of prenatal care for young

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