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January 23, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1970-01-23

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THE JEWISH NEWS

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

National Editorial Association
Member American Associaton of Engish-Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press Association,
Published every Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co., 17515 W. Nine Mile, Suite 865, Southfield. Mich. 48075.
Phone 356-8400
Subscription $7 a year. Foreign $8.

CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Business Manager

Editor and Publisher

CHARLOTTE DUBIN

City Editor

Sabbath Scriptural Selections

This Sabbath, the 17th day of Sherat, 5730, the following scriptural selections

will be read in our synagogues:

Pentateuchal portion, Exod. 13:17.17:16. Prophetical portion, Judges 4:4 - 5:31.

Candle lighting, Friday, Jan. 23, 5:16 p.m.

VOL. LVI. No. 19

January 23, 1970

Page Four

Is American Jewry' s Future Insecure?

—JERUSALEM

High on the agenda of Jewish concern in Israel—more than the military problems
and the need to protect land and people—is earnest worry over the status of American
Jewry.
Whenever and wherever Americans meet with Israelis—and in private conversa-
tions among Israeli citizens—the question is posed: is American Jewry able to survive
the assimilationist trends and the reduced cultural standards?

It is granted that the problem is not that of American Jewry, that it is the issue
affecting the Jews in the entire Diaspora. But since half of the world Jewish population
is in the United States the chief worry is over us.

Arieh Pincus, the chairman of the Jewish Agency, broached the subject when he
met with American Jewish editors. Nahum Goldmann made it one of the chief topics in
his speech at the opening of the sessions of the World Jewish Congress here and the dis-
cussion over it continued at the WJCongress sessions in Tel Aviv.

Then Prime Minister Golda Meir picked it up and placed that problem above all
the issues she discussed with the visiting Americans.
Since it presents such a serious challenge to us, we dare not ignore the matter.
Is it true, as Dr. Goldmann declared, that in the commencing "decade of instability" the
position of American Jewry is worsening? Are we to accept as fact his assertion that:
"It is a historical fact that whenever the stability of a country is shaken, minorities, and
particularly the Jewish minority, experiences a deterioration of their situation?"
We number approximately 6,000,000 Jews, and if that analysis that is also augury
is true, then we must look for bad times.

Eisenberg's 'Historical Treasures'
Feature Archaeological Findings

Dr. Azriel Eisenberg, eminent educator, author of a number of
informative works, has collected a number of unustal items for inclu-
sion in his newest work that affirms realistically the title of the book,
"Jewish Historical Treasures." What be has included in this Bloch-
published volume does, indeed, mark a
gathering of treasures, many of which are
unknown, all of which combine to make this
Dr. Goldmann, for instance, spoke about the Truman era, that recent conditions a labor of love—and a definite contribution
are changing and the situation that is altering was "too good to last." Apparently he was to Jewish knowledge.
Much of his research for this volume is
expressing doubt whether the Nixon administration will be as friendly to Israel and to
Jewry as Harry S Truman was, and on that score there is not only grave doubt as to devoted to archeological findings, and his
own
"dig" here for basic facts is most in-
subject
to
debate,
since
a
basic
principle
but
it
is
realism
of
Dr.
Goldmann's
views.
the
involving American justice is involved, and we are not ready to admit the sense of fear teresting, very informative and of special
value to the growing numbers of people
or to submit to pessimism.
who are interested in archaeology.
The 221 photographs in this volume
But the views of Mr. Pincus and Mrs. Meir were more logical. Both were more con-

cerned with the cultural stagnation in our ranks. Mrs. Meir quoted the head of a Jewish
theology seminary (Dr. Louis Finkelstein) ashaving said that no Jew in America is able to
say with certainty whether his grandchild will remain a Jew. Because the question of
continuity in Jewish studies was raised, it also involves us in speculation over continuity of
the Jewish will to live and therefore to exist and to exist and survive. On that score we must
deal with the matter with great seriousness.
An argument may be advanced that in every generation we have the same expres-
sion of concern regarding Jewry!s ability to survive. But the fact is that we have suf-
fered and continue to suffer losses. An example of how we can disappear was offered
after 1904 when few if any of the members of the committee of 250 that was engaged in
the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the settlement of Jews in America could be
pointed to as having left children or grandchildren who remained in the Jewish fold. At
that rate, there would no longer be an American Jewry if not for the vast immigration
in the first two decades of this century and the additional flow of new Jewish settlers
during the Hitler regime.
If we were to deny that our cultural status is weak, we would be false to reality. We
do suffer from a relapse, we have the same problem today that justifies a remark made
last week by a London rabbi, in his comment on the regularity 'with which Jewish children
abandon their Jewish studies at age 13:
"A cynic observed that the Twelve Tribes were not lost at all—they had simply

had their Bar Mitzva."

and the additional 76 line drawings, the
full-page reproductions of important pic-
tures describing the text, are indicative
of the explanatory essays about more
than 100 subjects dealt with in this vol-
ume. Dr. Eisenheeg

Dr. Eisenberg begins with the story of the strategic city, of Hazor,
of the facts unearthed about the 15th century BCE city, and ,proceeds
to tell about the Gezer Calendar of the 11th Century BCE, explaining
the agricultural calendar, giving the text, describing its format.
Archeological items include the 9th Century BCE Black Obelisk of
Shalmaneser HI, the unearthed findings at Megiddo in the same period
in history, the Moabit Stone, the 7th to 4th centuries BCE Signet Seals,
the 700 BCE Siloam inscription, the 6th Century BCE Lachish letters,
the 5th century BCE Elephantine Papyri and many others of the Tem-
ple era, the Maccabean period, and the important papyri that have
become part of reconstructed and acknowledged historical knowledge.
The role of the Western (Wailing) Wall is importantly depicted,
outlining the measurements, the constructions in various periods in
history, the attitudes towards the area of the Arabs. Dr. Eisenberg
points out that "the Arab Moslems never regarded the Western Wall
and its immediate surroundings as holy, but subjected the place to the
basest and most humiliating usage. They would pass through the
square mounted on asses carrying garbage and manure, and molest
the Jews who stood there in prayer. Once the city council decided to
run the sewer of the Old City through the square before the Western
Wall, and it was only through the protests of the Jews that the plan
was frustrated."

Such an indictment is applicable today to the Jewish communities everywhere and
they cause us as much concern as they do Mrs. Meir, Mr. Pincus and Dr. Goldmann. It
would not do to put our leaders to the test, to ask whether our rabbis are a bit at fault,
Not only the Tomb of Rachel and the Cave of Machpelah In
or to blame everything on the temptation in our society, on the freedoms we enjoy and
Hebron, but even the humiliating Arch of Titus in Rome receive
attention in Dr. Eisenberg's collected items as a memo of historical
which are being utilized to be free to abandon Judaism. There may be another culprit:
interest. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the more recently acquired
the parent. And before we blame the child perhaps we should turn to the parent.
scrolls are illustrated and described, and special attention is given
Indeed, the average parent today is in his and her 20s and 30s. Perhaps we
to the Masada story.
should resume the classes for them, and then there will be another chance for the
Dr. Eisenberg has not ignored the notable figures in Jewish history
Bar Mitzva lad, for the young girls, for a generation that knows not Joseph but should —Philo Maimonides, Zacuto, Menasse ben Israel, Mordecai -Manuel
Noah, Albert Einstein, Theodor Herzl, Arthur James Balfour, Donna
begin to learn about a great heritage.

Gracia Nasi, the Mexican martyr Luis de Carvajal, Shabatai Zevi and

The problem is at hand. We have been challenged. In Jerusalem we took the stand others.
that we must not yield to panic, and Mr. Pincus said that it is not a matter of panic but
In relation to these great men in history, the volume includes brief
of grave concern.
but effective explanations of the works that made them famous.

Then came that expression from the heart by the great lady. Mrs. Meir proved that
her concern was not with Israel alone but with the entire Jewish people, and on that
score we must now respond with as much sincerity as the query addressed to us: can we
survive?
Will we survive? We believe we can, but we must close an old book and open a
new one, we must forget the old means of approaching our youth and we should - turn

There is considerable reference to stamps and coins, and the Bar
Kokhba coins, as well as the heroic rebel's letters, receive considerable
attention.
Because they have significance in considering Jewish settlements
everywhere, the Roman Jewish Catacombs, the Dura-Europos Syna-
gogue, prayer books that retained historic value, Khazar documents
and a score of other valuable items are duly noted. • 'I

Among the relics described are the first editions of Maimonides'
works, Rabbinic Responsa, the Sarajevo Hagada, oldest mane--
scripts in Yiddish and in Hebrew, the Gutenberg Bible, the first
printed Hebrew book, the famous Rothschild manuscript now in the
Bezalel Museum in Jerusalem, Abrabanel's Commentary, the First
Rabbinic Bible, the first printed Talmud, and many others.
Many of the items, such as the Council of the Four Lands, Liberty

a new page in the volume of life.
We are being put to the test. We are 6,000,000, and we are the dominant commun-
ity of Jews in the world. We are affluent, and Israel needs our help, but Golda Meir was
frank and adamant: it is much more important to strengthen our people culturally than
to emphasize the philanthropic. Where else does one find such unselfish approach to
Jewish needs and conditions?
Bell, Washington's letter to the Newport Synagogue, the Warsaw Ghetto
memorial, Yad Vashem, Israel's Declaration of Independence, combine
Having heard the challenge, we must learn to meet it and to find a way of ful- to give this volume an aspect of covering the major happenings in

filling. 'a. great .ohligation. to 'heritage all -of-us -wish- tor.preserve.-4

-

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