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July 11, 1969 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1969-07-11

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Purely Commentary

Plea for Reconstruction of Jewish Home
Influence as Symbol of Our Strength . . .
Exxaggerations About Dir Yassin Exposed

By Philip
Slomovitz

Probing of Jews, Self-Examination, Search for Basic Idealism:
Prejudices at UN . . . Libels in Many Areas
Basic Jewish Lesson and Plea for Reconstructed Jewish Home
Setting Record Straight About Dir Yassin
We are constantly being tested and probed. "Jews are News" was an explanation during the last war,
Only one surprise is recorded in last week's UN action against
and in the era of widespread anti-Semitism, when many became sensitive because Jews were .constantly
Israel in relation to Jerusalem: the concurrence of the U.S. delegate ; in the headlines, it was thus explained—and it could have been taken as a compliment.
with the majority composed of a clique of Moslems and Communists
Not only are we being thoroughly examined for every aspect of social behavior and economic trend,
who never have a good word to say for Israel, who are motivated by
the reason for the extensive resort to Jewish characterizations in
destructive plans, who go along with all the efforts to destroy Israel. but we do a lot of self-testing. Isn't this
the modern novel? Aren't our young writers utilizing themselves, their parents—lately their mothers!—
Washington has much explaining to do. Never was a word uttered in order to expose themselves? If their backgrounds had been better, there might have been hope for posi-
about the state of horror that was perpetrated against all Jews in a tive delineations. Apparently the experiences wereunpleasant: that's why so many characterizations are
portion of Jerusalem when it was under Jordanian rule. Now Israel

must be punished for refusing to divide the ancient City of David! repulsive.
We have had occasion to review many books by Jews about Jews, in the search for Jewish identity,
History won't absolve the American spokesmen.
in the efforts at self-examination.
But the Jerusalem matter is not the only one that makes truth at
Now we have new products. Some of them puzzle us. There is, for instance, the Doubleday-published
stake. The lies keep repeating and repeating and repeating, and those "My Rabbi Doesn't Make House Calls" by Albert Vorspan. The author is such a serious minded social ac-
who would harm Israel embrace every aspect of untruth.
tion expert, yet his book is on the fun-seeking track, and one wonders whether we need more of this
Major among the lies is the one relating to Dir Yassin. That inci- type of stagecraft.
Vorspan knows Jews and Judaism, he understands Jewish aspects in our modern life. Bat sb much
dent has been cause for chagrin and deep regret on the part of Israel
and world Jewry. It was not condoned. Israel condemned it. But Arnold' of what he touches upon is just in the "tongue-in-cheek" mood, as the publishers state on the jacket of
the book. So that even with his many positive angles there is just a bit too much joking at a time when
Toynbee and his cohorts keep using it as a weapon against Israel.
Now, however, we have new truths relating to the incident, and we need the hard-hitting approach.
When he deals with Aliya, we have this pun: "Israeli: Why don't you come to live in Israel? Amer-
many of the claims against Israel are being refuted.
ican: Oy, here we go again!" We've had so much oy-oying that this hardly fits the realism of our search
Menahem Begin's writings have been invoked in arguments against
for
our
inner selves.
Israel, and the common Arab charge states: "Israel committed atro-
, " or
Or when.we are presented with a lexicon the author call a Nachas machine a "herring mayvin.
cities against the Arabs of Palestine (i.e. Dir Yassin). Begin himself
"a girdle for fat girls."
in his book "The Revolt" admits that the Dir Yassin massacre caused when he defines Hillel Foundation he describes it partly as
Vorspan could have done better: what he did was a banality. We don't go for it.
.
the Arab flight."
In the search for the inner Jew, we are offered a good book by Reconstructionist Rabbi•Ain W.
As is commonly known, Israel, at the time of the Dir Yassin tra-
Miller who, in "God of Daniel S.", published by Macmillan, does have something to say. It is set the
gedy, uttered an official condemnation. In his book "The Revolt
most perfect work through which Rabbi Miller set out "in search of the American Jew," but it is
Begin wrote: •
sound, it probes well, it delineates history properly, and it sets out to define Jewish ideals and as-
"After the capture of Dir Yassin . . . the Hagana Commander
pirations.
in Jerusalem announced that its capture was . . . indeed contrary
There is this special interest in Miller's approach: he sets out to describe Jews in all denominational
to the general plan ..." (p. 162.)
settings—Orthodox,
Reform, Conservative—and winds up with Daniel S. who, we surmise, is his Recon-
The Hagana (official Jewish defense force) regional commander
structionist idol. In his descriptions of the various types of Jews he is effective. He is positive, realistic,
in Jerusalem warned the Irgun on the eve of its attack on Dir Yassin,
fair and impartial.
and Begin stated in his book:
Then comes the Daniel S. of his major story, and here we find the type of American Jew whose back-
"Raanan, the Irgun commander of Jerusalem, radioed to us
the following letter he had received from the Hagana Regional ground is assimilationist, whose wife is non-too-enamored with Judaism but just goes along.
In the process of the definition provided in "God of Daniel S." every factor in Jewish life is discussed
Commander: '... I warn you against blowing up the village which
—the heritage from the Rabbis, the observance of the Sabbath, kashrut, the threat of anti-Semitism, and
will result in its inhabitants abandoning it . .
(1)- 163 )
the
place
of Israel in the life of the Jew.
The following is the detailed account of the battle of Dir Yassin,
In a sense, Daniel S., as the author implies, is often "agonized," as in the case of kashrut So
as told by Begin in "The Revolt":
when
Miller's hero abstained from pork products "he spoke about the historic reality that where a
". . . the hostile propaganda, disseminated throughout the
kosher butcher existed the Jewish community existed and that where the butcher closed shop that
world, deliberately ignored the fact that the civilian population of
invariably pointed to the demise of the Jewish community. He spoke of the need of supporting, as
Dir Yassin was actually given a warning by us before the battle
Jews, institutions which, even if one didn't need them oneself, other Jews needed and believed in.."
began. One of our trucks carrying a loud speaker was stationed
Daniel S. learns from the Nazi holocaust, from Israel, from traditions, and the form his learning as-
at the entrance to the village and it exhorted in Arabic all women,
many
children and aged to leave their houses and to take shelter on the sumes in the splendid historical analyses and social studies provided by Rabbi Miller can serve well
slope of the hill. By giving this humane warning our fighters threw Jews who are, indeed, in search of the American Jews, in search of themselves.
What is the basic lesson in "God of Daniel S."? It is the admonition of the able author that the
away the element of complete surprise, and thus increased their
Jewish home is major in the consideration of his topic. It is "the home which enshrined Jewish symbol-
own risk in the ensuing battle.
ism,"
that what is needed is the "Jewish home, loyal to its past, present and future." Daniel S. as por-
"A substantial number of the inhabitants obeyed the warning
and they were unhurt. A few did not leave their stone houses— trayed here learns the lesson well.
The lesson in Rabbi Miller's book is especially effective in the following which we are pleased to
perhaps because of the confusion. The fire of the enemy was mur-
derous—to which the number of our casualties bears eloquent quote from his book:
"Perhaps the most difficult, as well as the most vital, expression of the modern Jewish home, is the
testimony.
"Our men were compelled to fight for every house; to over- manner in which Jewish values are exemplified in daily life both on and apart from specifically Jewish
occasions.
If the values supposedly enshrined in the sancta of Jewish life are honored in real life more in
come the enemy they used large numbers of hand-grenades. And
the civilians who had disregarded our warnings, suffered inevitable the breach than in the observance, we have a travesty of a Jewish home. Nachmanides„ a distinguished
medieval Jewish philosopher (1194-1270) spoke of the naval birshut ha-Tore, the ritirriato scrupulously
casualties." (pp. 163.164.)
sareatlit-fitie of the Jewish
While Jewish authorities condemned the Dir Yassin action, no observes all the minutai of Jewish law, yet manages to behave like a pig. The past - tir developed in the
word of Arab censure was heard after the many Arab massacres of home. Unless the values implicit in the Jewish observances selected from the
Jewish
Jews. In the case of Hebron, in 1929, when Arabs massacred 80 young present are endorsed in action, we will have the hypocritical or the immoral but never the truly
rabbinical students and completely destroyed an entire Jewish com- home.
"One of the areas where great care will be exercised in the modern Jewish home will be parental at-
munity; in the cold blooded slaying and burning of more than 70
nurses, doctors and scholars on their way to the Hadassah Medical titudes to material things. Jewish religion, linked as it is with family celebrations, involves food and
drink. These mainstays of like will be treated with respect and with perspective. Excess of any kind,
Center in April 1948, there was silence!
in-
Yunes Ahmed Asaad, one of the inhabitants of Dir Yassin, gave wastage of any kind, will be avoided at all costs. Even the needless squandering of water and of of fuel
Jewish
the following account of the battle as described in Al-Urdun, published volved in washing, heating and cooking will be scrupulously avoided. The classic benedictions
home worship thank God as the Author with man's cooperation and involvement, of the food which we
in Amman, Jordan, April 9, 1953:
are sustained. Any waste of these commodities is a veritable blasphemy, not so much because of the
"The Jews never intended to hurt the population of the village economic, as of the spiritual harm involved. The child who sees his parents recklessly squandering
but were forced to do it after they encountered enemy fire from life's blessings will not learn from them the reverence for all parts of the Creation which must be a prime
the village populace who also killed the Irgun commander.
element in Jewish home life. Traditional Jewish religion, which prohibited the throwing away of bread,
"The Arab exodus from other villages was not caused by the understood the significance of benediction in this respect. In some homes a loaf of bread, which accident-
actual battle of Dir Yassin but by the exaggerated description ally fell to the floor, would be kissed, like a prayer book in similar circumstances, on retrieval. The prob-
spread by the Arab leaders for the purpose of inciting the Arabs lem is enormous in our modern affluent society based on wastage and built-in obsolescence.
to fight against the Jews."
"Respect for the material things in life presupposes a perspective on them. There will always be some
Nevertheless, the lies are spread, Israelis are portrayed as demons, discrepancies between luxuries and necessities and the child will not fail to observe them. A Bar Mitzvah
the Arab masses are misled by their leaders, Toynbee is acclaimed present involving a family trip to Israel may cost more than a lavish party at a downtown hotel. It will
a ,- the great historian-philosopher while he harbors hatred for Jewry however, give some indication of the scale of values of the family."
and spreads anti-Semitic venom against Israel.
Thus we are offered a creative work with an effective lesson. It is so timely! And so vitally,neededl
We keep pleading that the facts be known: does it help? Our In "God of Daniel S." we have a diagnosis of a Jew without labels—we have a portrait of a Jew who could
Christian friends should be saying what we are in our appeals for well emerge as a great creative force called the American Jew within the framework of America Ind Ju-
justice!
daism! It is a book that will help Jews, will help Israel, will cause non-Jews to respect their Jewish fel-



low citizens and Jews to live in the American environment with pride and in strong adherence to a great
A Jewish Medium for Arab Propagandists
heritage.
When we covered the UN sessions at which Israel's statehood was
debated, during the arguments that developed when Israel was admit- fester with vermin and rats, and he knew that many of the low in lion to himself and to the com-
ted to membership in the world organization, we met many characters come people, primarily their children, needed parks.
munities he serves, since he knew
—friends of Israel and her enemies, non-Jews who battled for fulfill.
His movement for the beautification of the city brought results. at the outset about the resort to
ment of 2,000-year-old prophecies and Jews who struggled to create He took a casual walk through his city with Detroiter Phillip Stollman Christian Doxology at the service
obstacles to self-redemption.
two years ago and spoke of the Holy City's needs. The generous De- in the White House, to ask for
There was the Council for Judaism that labored against Jews and troiter then gave the first handsome gift for a park in Jerusalem—it its omission and for the substitu-
Judaism. And there was a chap who inserted full page ads in the was an outright on-the-spur-of-the-moment gift that was not deductible tion of a text that could apply to
NYTimes propagating against Israel. That fellow, Benjamin H. Freed- tax-wise because the contribution was made in a foreign country and all faiths.
man, is on the scene again. A message of hate, a propaganda sheet not through an American agency.
(There was an error in our last
from the "Arab Higher Committee for Palestine" and the self-styled
Now there is to be a Detroit Park, the gift of the Paul Zuckerman comment, resulting from the omis-
"Palestine Arab Delegation" is being circulated by him.
family, and the movement is gaining momentum for the realization sion of a NOT from this sentence
There is really nothing new about such a demonstration of self- of Teddy Kollek's dream.
which should have read: A Presi-
hatred. Yet, every time it emerges it creates much hurt: why should
How fortunate for the Holy City that in time of stress its mayor
dent's invitation is never rejected,
Jews seek to destroy the freedom and security of more than two mil- is a man of vision!
but that does not absolve a partici-


lion of their own kinsmen? It's part of the price we must pay for

pant in a President's project from
enemies within.
The Matter of Proper Invocations and Prayers
criticizing contents or from asking



Ecumenism can be glorious and it often meets with obstacles that for changes ...").
need to be avoided by those who seek a truly workable method of
Teddy Kollek's Jerusalem Beautification Plans
Participants in the inter-faith ac-
Teddy Kollek is a remarkable man. He had many roles in the early attaining good will and cooperation among the faiths.
At brotherhood meetings, the sensible Christian ministers never tivities are responsible for what
days of Israel's statehood and his sense of history became evident as
occurs;
they should be on guard
resort to the trinitarian texts. Too often, however, others are led
soon as he was elected mayor of Jerusalem.
of
He saw the slums, the neglected streets and alleys which could astray by their own devotionalism which could find effect on a waiver- against lowering the standards
cooperative activities among people
sal theme not to create uneasiness among Jews in the audience.
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
That is why we believed that Dr. Louis Finkelstein owed an obliga- of all faiths.
2—Friday, July 11, 1969

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