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September 12, 1969 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1969-09-12

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Purely Commentary

A New Year calls for new hope, for confidence, for self-assurance
that a community can share in the best that life offers. During the past
12 months there have been too many expressions of despair, too much
pessimism, too little faith in a better day based on rejection of fears and
an assurance that the good in man must prevail.
This is not a sermon but an effort at evaluating the experiences
of a period that is ending in the hope that the new one that begins for
us this evening is one to be welcomed with joy.
The fact is that what we viewed as rebellion was merely repetitious
in the life of humans who reserve the right to self-assertion. There have
been extremes in the acts of many of our fellow citizens. These stand
rejected. But the rights to affirm one's views, whether on campus, or in
public squares. or in parliamentary halls remain indestructible.
Therefore we roust welcome the lessons of the past, even the un-
pleasantnesses, with gratitude. Out of them will emerge the better day
all of us strive for.
It is true that there have been gaps, between generations, among
peoples. in families. But where there is a desire to meet on equal ground
these differences disappear. communications beckon for recognition, human
elements negate the destructive and senseless.
We wish and hope for such a restoration of common sense among
all peoples, in all our ranks—even in the Middle East. There surely are
enough Moslems who recognize that they can not hope for the destruction
of an entire people. even as we pray that human beings should reject any
attempt at destruction of human values in our immediate and personal

The New Year That Must Negate Fears,
Welcoming Confidence in Human Values

By Philip


Jewish life has never been without crises. Periods that have been
labeled Golden have not always been without challenges and tensions. When
there were eras of great prosperity, marked by creative efforts, learning,
piety, there also were the dark spots. So that we are not unused to the the
tragedies that have marred our existence but which have emphasized the
strength that was displayed in the determined will of the people to survive,
to function in defiance of outside threats.
Yet we have today an avalanche of crises that may be termed among
the worst. While the peoplehood of Israel has been re-established, there
nevertheless are threats which cause Israel to stand out as the bright spot.
And in Israel itself there are the mounting dangers which are not sub-
siding, which appear to be multiplying.
These dangers and challenges and tensions call for unity among
People Israel in defense of the State of Israel. And the depressing note in
our time is that the youth is not altogether with us, that it learns of dan-
gers too late.
That is why, in this trying era for the world and for us, we need
understanding and an assurance of dedication that will reject despair.
If we reject despair and learn from history, we shall remain un-
beatable, indestructible, undying.
That's the prayer of this era on the eve of a New Year. And we link
prayer with a feeling of confidence in the future.
May what we wish for in these assertions of confidence in the com-
ing of a better day materialize in 5730 !

Our First Page Illustration

Raskin's Art: His Last Work, 'Avinu Malkenu,' Published by Flint Group

The art of the late Saul Raskin
has inspired his generation and
continues to fascinate young and
It is out of admiration for his
skill and for devotion to Jewish
traditions which are emphasized
in his creative drawings that a
group of Flint Jewish citizens, un-
der the leadership of B. Morris
Pelavin, assured the publication of
his last book—the fascinating vol-
ume based or "Avinu Malkenu-
Our God Our Father."

It is from this work that The
Jewish News has selected the
front page cover for this holiday

He was approaching his 88th
birthday in 1966, when he com-
pleted his last work. The eminent

artist, whose

works included

the lIagada.


Ethics of the

Fathers. Song of

Songs. and num- '

erous other works
t hat are cher-

ished in Jewish

homes. found it

difficult to pro- B. M. Pelavin
duce another work. His age inter-
fered. and it was very costly.

That's when his great admirer,
Flint community leader B. Morris
Pelavin stepped in to assist him
and thereby to render a very great
service to Jewry. It was the effort
of Pelavin that assured the
publication of – Avinu Malkenu-
our God Our Father."

Pelavin had taken a deep in-
terest in Jewish art. He had
been visiting Raskin in his New
York studio, and that was how
he learned of the artist's diffi-
culty to complete his final task.
While Raskin had, in his pre-
vious art labors, produced his
own work and actually did much
of the printing himself, he need-
ed help three years ago, and Pel-
avin came forth with it. He
created a corporation of Flint
people, and the fund that was
made available assured the ap-
pearance of "Avinu Maikenu." It
was published a mere one week
before the artist's death and he
had the satisfaction of seeing it
off the press. His death occurred
just before Yom Kippur in 1966.

It was through the Genesis Pub-

lishing Corporation that Pelavin
was able to fulfill this important
task. Together with his son, Mi-
chael A. Pelavin, he had the as-
sistance of Raskin's son, Prof.
Eugene Raskin of New York. and
the following Flint fellow-citizens:

Louis Kasle, Dr. Saul S. Gorne,

2 — Friday, September 12, 1969

Dr. Maurice Taylor, Edwin L. Elk.
Louis Epstein, Jack C. Shaprow,
Joseph Megdell, Arthur Hurand,
Samuel M. Catsman, Abe Schreiber
and Irving L. Geisser. Also Albert
Katz of Shaker Heights, 0.: Howard
Mack of Hackensack, N.J.; and
Lee Reimer of New York.
Academy Photo-Offset Co. and its
head printer, Lee Reimer, super-
vised the printing of the attractive
In a deeply moving message to
Pelavin, Raskin described the back-
ground of the effort to assure the
publication of "Avinu Malkenu,"
when the Flint admirer told him:
'Permit me the honor. Mr. Ras
kin, to be your publisher!"

I think my dear God heard may
bon pencils, all black on white prayer and helped me produce
very best work during the cow
paper. I consider the medium of
black and white drawings a most eluding years of life.
book was published by a
noble one for such a work. Any
introduction of color would dimin- group of sincere friends of things
and Jewish. Thanks to
ish or destroy its effectiveness.
You cannot imagine the Torah them the book is now before may
and old. saying be-
written in colored inks. The use of
black and white enabled me to ! fore an open Aron Hakodesh the
give faces their full psychological
Our God and the God of our
content, and the figures their dra-
niatic intensity. It gave me the full
Thy People asks for
blacks of the tallit stripes. 'and
the tender grays of the angels'

text, done with black pencil, pen
and ink, ball-pen, charcoal or car-


Overwhelmed by the affection of to a Jewish heart. It is considered
his admirers. Raskin wrote: "It to be the prayer of Rabbi Akiva
all happened around Hanuka in his fasting days. In a Siddur
when ice praise the Lord for the dating from the 9th Century, there
miracles He performed for our were only 25 verses in Avinu Mal-
forefathers. and also is perform- kenu, but during the long chain
ing in our time. I have the feeling of disasters, bloody persecutions
that a miracle also happened to and plagues. the number of invo-
me. by sending to me a man from cations increased to 44, in ardent
Flint . . . To me he is like Elijah hope that no more additions would
the Prophet. assuming the name of take place.
the person Pelavin, blessed be his ; Each of the 44 verses begins
with the words Avinu Malkenu, our
The large-sized book is in the Father our King. and stands sep-
arately. In a group of 6 verses, our
style of the Pirke Avot, the Hag-
Father and King is asked to in-
gada, Song of Songs and the
scribe His people in the books of
other Raskin works. It has a total
blessing. Another group pleads for
of 100 pages-46 comprising the mercy and forgiveness. A few invo-
text, the opposite pages illustrat- , cations pray to nullify and frus-
ing them and an introduction.
trate all the hateful designs of our
Accompanying the Hebrew text enemies. Many are the appeals to
are several Yiddish acclamations our Father and King to do for the
sake of His name; for those that
of faith that add considerable in-
perished by sword, fire and water,
terest for the readers whose cul- for sanctification of His name, Kid-
tural roots are in the traditions of dush Hashenz. In these 44 verses
the older generation.
all our needs, hopes. fears, visions
The introduction explains the and aspirations are expressed. Our
contents, and it emphasizes anew hearts are deeply moved by devo-
tion. love and trust in our Father
the originality, the imagination,
and King.
the spiritual strength that abode
For many years, in the days of
in the 87-year-old artist whose Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
works nevertheless are filled with I lived through together with my
the spirit of youth. The calligraphy peonle. the deep emotion of that
prayer. Looking at their
of the new work approaches per- great
fection. The drawings are impres- faces, hands, bent figures weeping
sive. The idea of illustrating in their tallitim. I thought how
"Avinu Malkenu" is in itself most good it would be to make a book
just of this prayer with its 44 invo-
cations, a drawing for each verse
Raskin, in his introduction, opoosite the page with the invo-
For 10 years. I postponed doing
The Tehillim (the books of the
book in doubt of my capacity
Psalms), the Siddur, the Rosh to express
all 44 variations on the
Hashana and Yom Kippur Mah- theme Avinu Malkenu the people
zor, are the three books of prayer
by the Jewish people. These books and
the angels
of God receiving
and bringi
do not stand completely apart from i the
the gates f Heaven . na them do
each other. The Tehillim enters e u ni
st4ce t o such a supreme
s Will pro
I b-
the Siddur with a great number of
a olm
nssidearitr ible the Siddu
lPhen I was approaching the age
spa ce
of realized that time
1 Malizor. In fact, the three books i.s arminst
86.7 suddenly
that I must not
pray er
hesitate any longer. "Do it now,"
which our people in all their dis- I said to myself. So. with a prayer
persions approach their Father in to
my Father and King to grant
Heaven. This book of prayer, more me strength, clarity of vision and
than anything else, unites all Jews wisdom of heart. as He did to the
in one people.
biblical artist Bezalel. I .started
The prayer Avinu Malkenu is the book and comnleted it after
one of the oldest and the dearest about two years of intense work.
It is a book of 46 full page
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS drawings and as many pages of

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Towards the righteous and the pious, towards the elders
of thy people the house of Israel, towards the remnant of
their scribes, towards true proselytes, and towards 'US
also may thy tender mercies be stirred,:.0 Lord our God
grant a good reward unto all who-faithfully trust in thy
Name ; set our portion with them for ever, so that we may
not be put to shame ; for we have trusted in thee.

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