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April 25, 1969 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1969-04-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Delightful Tale of 'A Tradition' Mingles
Parables With Historical Jewish Adventures

Friday, April 25, 1969-19

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Study of 'Berliners' Due Off Press May 9

"The Berliners" by Walter Hen- ruled Germany right after World

Atrona Liman McHugh not only riddles, Nathaniel • you
will find tested three times by God and ry Nelson — a major study of War I kept in power reactionary
in a marvelous story-teller, but that the uniqueness of human
be- found wanting, then, his life is not Berlin and the people of Berlin,
she also is able to knit together ings is not an accident, because worth living and so, the story of both East and West, past and judges and officials who in turn

Jewish experiences that have kept
alive the recollections of several
generations.
There is genuine skill in the
manner in which she has linked
the descendants of the Spanish

Marranos with the Jews of Dvinsk

they were all made to be different
from each other for a very good
rea.,ww which is, that each one of
us can do something better than
the fellow on the next capstan.
"Thus. When a man who refuses
to do !chat he is best fitted f or is

82

a novel well
B-G Movie Star at
deserving commendation.
She subtitled "The Luck of the JERUSALEM — The first pro-
Van Meets" as "A Tradition," and ject of the Israeli Communications
this novel, published by Double- Center trill he a film about David
day, is just that: except that it is Ben-Guri,,n, former prime minis-
more than one tradition and all ter. In it, Ben-Gurion, 82, tells of
Of the adventures are linked into his earliest recollections after corn-

in Czarist Russia, in

one family. ing to what was then Palestine in
The Van :Steers are a seafaring 1906.
group who love their travels,
The film bears the name "Chap-
who retain memories of a Jewish ter 42, Verse 6. Isaiah," because
past and group them together this is Ben-Gurion's favorite verse
into an impressive presence. But and he likes to quote from it often:
In addition to loving the sea and "I, the Lord have called thee in
being sailors they also have in righteouness, and have taken hold
their midst doctors who experi-' of thee hand. and kept thee, and set
ment in study of heredity. As a thee for a covenant of the people,
matter of fact, this entire and for a light of the nations."
very delightful work is . a re-
The production of this film will
search into human breeding and cost half a million dollars, the lar-
the results will fascinate the gest part of which was contributed
reader, even if they also will by a Jewish industrialist from
often puzzle him.
! Iran. David
a 38-year-old
The manner in which selective immigrant from Brazil. is director
breeding is treated here will pro- of the movie.
vide food for thought, material for
scientific discussion, delight as en- Midrasha Plans Dance
tertaining reading.
The Midrasha. College of Jewish
In the process of delineating a
story about a Jewish family with j Studies of Detroit, will present
"The
Sabra - 9 p.m. May 3 at the
lineage
stemming
from
the
Span-
i
a
Inquisition, Mrs. McHugh tells Kasle High School-Midrasha Build-
ing.
The
evening will include dane-
about the Marranos, describes the
inherited practices of the secret i ing and music by "Gingi." The Is-
inherited
Jews. continually relates the sus- rael dish "falafel" will be served.
All young adults, 17 and above,
seeding generations to loyalties in
which adherence to Jewish obser- are invited for a nominal fee.
vances becomes part of a long Parking is available on the lot ad-
chain of familiar events. )scent to the building.
Because of the many links in
this chain of events, the Van
Meers, having been traced from
Holland. later are taken to Ger-
many. Activities in Hamburg
describe a continuing element of
merchandising and the descen-

dants, in a new form and dif-
fering garb and devotions, are
then taken to Dvinsk in Russia.
The parables and the riddles,
the Jesus parable, the form of pre-

diction of events to come and the
breeding of humans combine to
make the theme one of intriguing
puzzlement.
What is the luck of the Van
Meets? The narrator, confronted
with that question, replies:
"It consists of three things.

First, to keep their traditions
secret. Second, to use care in
selecting mates. Third, to train
the memory of their children."
The entire narrative evolves
around the answers to these three
prerogatives and as definitions of
the aims of a family so unique that
X is wordly, Jewish, scientific, his-
torically minded.

Presented as realism, the entire

work is marked by unusual fan-
tasy. Dealing with seafaring as a
family tradition, with the many
conflicts within families and in
communities, there is injected in-
to the parable-infested story an

Jonah is the story of all men who,
because of their stubborn vanity,
throw away their God-given tal-

ents for doing good in the way in
which they were created to do it.
Jonah was not meant to be the
Captain of a great ship but he
might have done a fine job as the
Captain of a smaller vessel had
he not been so vain. And so, Na-
thaniel, you will perhaps not un-
derstand this story until you are
much older, but one day you will
'remember it and when that time
comes. Nathaniel, you will know
that you have been called by God
to do the only job which you were
put here to do and I hope that
you will not run away or be afraid
to make a fool of yourself like
tonah but instead you will answer
1;ke the great prophet Samuel,
`Sneak. Lord, for Thy servant

This is one of the approaches
that makes "The Luck of the Van
Meers" stand out truly as "A Tra-
dition" and as a very unique nar-
rative. It is a delightful story,
whether the reader will accept it
as realism or as mere parable.
Mrs. McHugh's story is well worth
reading.

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Idea. Said Tobias:

'The great lesson of the Book
of Jonah is that while many are
called, few are chosen, and my
answer to your question, Nathaniel,
Is Just this: I would not presume
to say whether there is a God or
not, but if there is, He cannot do
the great work He must do unless
He has the right people to call
upon for assistance when He needs
G. The ways in which God works
may, at times, seem mysterious to

encouraged right-wing extremism.

hPareth.'

occasional reference to the Bible,
and among the fascinating evalu-
ations is the reference to the "Book

of Jonah."
Since we often are told about
youngsters especially who ques-
tion the God-idea, and elders who
speak of the death of God, it is
worth taking note of an explana-
tory statement by one of the Van
Meer descendants — Tobias —
who speculates on the testing by
God and the reality of the God-

present — is due May 9, from
McKay Publishers.
Nelson, born in Germany where
his father served in the diploma-
tic corps, fluent in German, wrote
the book while living in Germany,
conducting over 1,000 interviews
with Berliners of all ages and
stations and political persuasions.
Nelson probes anti-Semitism, the
rise of the Nazis, the war, the
Soviet takeover, the Berlin Air
Lift, the "Wall," night-life, news-
papers, magazines, politics, Gun-
ter Grass and Group 47, etc.
Left-wingers as well as right-
wingers hold responsibility for the
rise of Nazism in the 30s
contends Nelson. The Socialists who

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