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June 12, 1970 - Image 48

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1970-06-12

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Rabbi Mordecai Kirshblum at 60

The Spirit of Israel

'We Have Had a Taste of Jewish Freedom'

the Jewish National Fund and vice
president of the Keren Hayesod.
Rabbi Mordecai Kirshblum, an On election to membership of the
outstanding figure in religiious Zionist Executive by the 24th
Zionism, has just celebrated his Zionist Congress in 1956, he was put
60th birthday. A 7, 7
in charge of the Jewish Agency's
past president of:64?'
departments of Aliya and Torah
the Mizrachi-Ha-
education and culture in the United
poel Mizrachi(
States in both of which fields he
Movement in the '
initiated and carried through a
U.S.A., he !fas
variety of activities.
been a member ;
On behalf of the World Zionist
of the executive:
and Mizrachi organizations he
of the Jewishl
visited many countries from New
Agency for many
Zealand to South America. In 1964,
years, and
Yeshiva University of New York
now deputy head
conferred an honorary doctorate
of its department
on Rabbi Kirshblum.
for immigration
Shortly after his re-election to
and absorption.
the Zionist Executive by the 27th
A man of great
Zionist Congress, Rabbi Kirshblum
personal charm
went on aliya and settled in Jeru-
and sterling
qualities, Rabbi Dr. Kirshblum
When Kirshblum v.•as a young
Kirshblum is esteemed not only ,
within his own movement, but in ; rabbi and secretary of the Mizrachi
wide circles of the World Zionist ' at Scranton, the revered Mizrachi
Organization. His popularity as a leader, Rabbi Meir Bar Ilan (Ber-
public speaker in three languages lin) came to that city to gain a
—Hebrew, English and Yiddish— first hand impression of the per-
is unrivalled. He bases his argu- sonality and the doings of that
ments on a deep knowledge of promising and energetic spiritual
Jewish culture and on wide general leader.
learning as wen as on a rich ex-
Rabbi Kirshblum went to the
perience of public affairs. His railway station to welcome the
Puckish humor and rich store of visitor and offered himself to carry
Jewish folklore are legion. In his his suitcases to the hotel. Rabbi
personal relations, he has the Bar Ilan bade Kirshblum put the
knack of finding the right word luggage down, saying: "You shall
and tone for everybody; and his not carry the suitcases: for this
"Ahavat Yisrael" is an outcome of there are porters . . . But if you
his ideology and philosophy of life, want to ease my burden, you can
and a reflex of his own personal- help me to carry my load in the
Mizrachi and the Zionist move-
ment. Share my troubles and hopes
Mordecai Kirshblum was born with me: the projects and plans
in Bialystok, Poland, in 1910. After as well as tiring visits of city after
attending var ious hadarim he city and country after country ..."
studied at the Yeshiva of Bialystok,
Rav Kirshblum took up the chal-
and at the age of 12 received a
magnificently bound bible from lenge and from that day on he has
in harness.
Rabbi David Fayans, a Mizrachi
leader, as a prize for an excellent
performance in a Talmud exami-
World Israel Bond
nation. At 13 he arrived in the
U.S., continued his studies 'at vari- Conclave Aug. 13-25
ous Yeshivot and embarked on his
Jewish leaders in the United
Zionist public career as a youth of
17 when he conducted an informa- Stites, Canada and other free
tion campaign on behalf of Young countries have been invited by
Israel. At the recommendation of Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir to
his teacher, Dr. Bernard Revel, participate in an internaor -al con-
he was appointed in 1931 as spir- ference in Israel to discuss the
itual leader of the Orthodox Con- country's extraordinary economic
gregation of Scranton, Pa., and in I needs.
the same year on the initiative of
The conference will take place
Rabbi Zeev Gold, Rabbi Kirsh- Aug. 13 -23 and will be the
blum's guide and mentor, who was occasion for the celebration of the
also his predecessor on the Zion- 20th anniversary of the historic
ist Executive and the American Jerusalem Conference of Septem-
Religious Zionist Movement, he ber, 1950, which initiated the flota-
was elected secretary of the local tion of Israel Bonds in the United
Mizrachi society.
Rabbi Kirshblum visited Eretz
The Jerusalem Conference of
Israel for the first time in 1938. 1950, which was convened by for-
That year also marks the begin- mer Prime Minister David Ben-
ning of his swift rise in the eche- Gurion, was the first gathering in
lons of Mizrachi leadership.
Israel of world Jewish leaders after
Ile was an honorary president of the establishment of the state to
put in charge of the Jewish Agen consider the needs of its economy.

"Who am I? I am a father of
two children, one of whom has
fallen so that the other might yet
This was the reply of Yaacov
Gilboa, a slight, mild-mannered
man of 52 with a heavy-featured
face, when asked his name. The
Gilboas emigrated from Mexico to
Israel in 1955, first settling at
Kibutz Yad Mordecai, near the
Gaza Strip, and later moving to
Beersheva to operate the Gift Shop
in the Desert Inn Hotel.
His younger sort, Segen (First
Lt.) Drori, 21, had lost his life
three weeks earlier on the Suez
front during one of the heavy
Egyptian artillery bombardments
across the Canal. So fresh was
Gilboa's grief that he identi-
fied himself, not by name, but
as a father who had lost a son.
He had difficulty in controlling
his voice as he talked about
Drori while mechanically re-
plenishing a picture postcard
"He came to me a few days
after he had finished his military
duty and said he wanted to go for
another three months. 'You have
just completed three years,' I said,
'why must you do this?' He re-
plied: 'If I leave my men now
they will feel as if alone. They
have never come under such in-
tensive fire. They are not quite
ready to take care of themselves.
Many fall because of this. They
need someone to look after them.
I have the experience. I know how
to watch over them. I want to be
with them for just another three
months. My conscience won't let
me leave them now. I don't want to
argue with you, Father, I have
made up my mind.' You see, he
didn't want me to blame myself
for giving permission should some-
thing happen to him. That's the
kind of a son he was. He volun-
teered for the additional three
months. One month and three days
later, he fell." Israelis tend to use
the word "fell" r a ther than
"killed" when referring to Army
Gilboa moved away to serve
some homeward-bound American
technicians who wanted color slides
of Arad, a petro-chemical locale
being developed near the Dead
When he returned he talked about
some entries that Drori had made
in a diary he kept during his army
service. In one he wcites that in
looking at himself in, uniform be-
fore a mirror, he had to ask, "Is
this really me? I am not a mili-
tarist and would much prefer to

Torah Damaged by Vandals

Academy of the
Hebrew Language


Roberta Savitsky weeps as her father, Rabbi Mordecai Savitsky,
lifts a badly damaged Sefer Torah from the Holy Ark at the Chevra
Shas Synagogue in the Mattapan section of Boston. The Synagogue is
one of two vandallzed 'and set afire in the area.

48--Friday, June 12, 1970


Hebrew . Corner

The highest institution for all mat-
ters concerning the Hebrew language
is the Academy of the Hebrew Lan-
guage in Jerusalem.
The academy was established by a
special decree of the Knesset in 1954.
Ali institutions of the government and
municipalities in Israel, Including the
educational system, are obligated to
conduct themselves according to the
decisions of the academy in everything
concerning linguistic matters.
The members of the academy are im-
portant scholars, writers• and great
poets who are living in Israel at this
The academy is now engaged in the
preparation of a large and compre-
hensive historical dictionary of the
Hebrew language and its literature,
which is thousands of years old. They
are using modern electronic machines
in the preparation of the dictionary.
One committee of the academy deals
with grammar with a few committees
alongside it. Another committee deals
with terminology and finds Ilebrew
names suitable to things for which
there are still no Hebrew words. A
third committee deals with the diffe-
rent publications of the academy.
Among the publications of the acad-
emy are studies in the Hebrew language
aW others. The academy also publishes
a popular magazine on linguistic sub-
jects called "Our Language of the Na-
tion" which comes out once a month,
and also a monthly page for language
corrections and language innovations,
called "Learn your Language."
Translation of Hebrew Column pub-
lished by Brit Ivrit Olarnit with the
assistance of the Foundation for the
Commemoration of Jewish Culture.

exchange jokes with my friends,
but Our enemies give us 120 alter-
native." This diary will shortly be
published by Kibutz Yad Mordecai,
which, incidentally, is named after
a slain leader of the W a rs a w
Ghetto in the Forties.
Gilboa himself is still in
the reserves and was called uP
for special duty recently. In 1956
he served in the Sinai Campaign
and was decorated for bravery in
action. In 1948, while still in
Mexico, he smuggled aviation
gasoline past the Bsh block-
ade for use by Israel's infant
Air Force.
"I am not an exceplion," he in-
sisted. "I am a simple Jew who
with many others is determined
that we will not move from here
no matter what happens. My son
fell in battle like so many others
of our young men; all are fighting.
If, God forbid, another war should
break out, my other son, who is
24 and has finished his compulsory
service, goes back, and I, too, if
necessary. We will not desert our
country. It is not for this purpose
that we came here from every
corner of the earth. I could have
earned my living, as others in any
country. I didn't have to come to
Israel. I came because I am a Jew
and this is the Jewish Land. We
have had a taste of Jewish freedom
and we will not give it up. We are
building a future for the entire
Jewish people."
Gilboa, whose sons were born
in Mexico, had an encouraging
word for the many Jewish
young men and women who come
to spend a summer or a year to
work in the kibutzim, to learn the
Hebrew language and to know the
country. He praised the 7,009 who
came in the wake of the Six Day
War. "Even if they only peeled
potatoes," he said, "what they did
was important, though at the time
they didn't think so. It released
others for defense duty."

He felt that only by visiting
Israel, and not for "a quick
week's tour," could outsiders
folly understand what is going
on—"how the people lives, how
it struggles." He likened the
present crisis to that in the days

of the Second Return under Ezra
and Nehemia.
The faith of Israelis, native born
or immigrants, in their young men
is awesome. Gil b o a referred
to the case of the young officer
who threw himself upon a live
grenade to save the lives of his
platoon. He was killed. This was
the third such incident in the
annals of the Defense Forces.
"With boys like this, it is im-
possible for us to lose."
Gilboa pa use d, looked away
for a moment, and with some bit-
terness in his voice added this
"Here's how I see it. Anyone who
wants to come here, to live with
us, we welcome him like a good
brother, but when he sits there (in
the Diaspora) I don't feel he is my
brother. He says he is. I—I don't
feel it."

Youth Triumphs: Bank
to Lift Yarmulke'. Ban

NEW YORK (JTA)—A student
of an Orthodox day school in
Brooklyn has obtained permission
to wear a skullcap while working
as a summer employe at the An-
chor Savings Bank of Brooklyn
after being told initially he could
not, an official of the National
Jewish Commission on Law and
Public Affairs (COLPA) reported.
Howard Rh ir le, vice president
of COLPA, said he had inter-
vened when he was informed that
Mark Krauss, a student of the

senior graduating class of the
Mesivta and Yeshiva Toras Emes
Kamenetz, had been told he
could not wear his yarmulke at
his summer job.
The bank manager told the
youth, who appeared for job
registration at the bank wearing
his skullcap, that this was against
bank regulations.
Rhine said he had discussed the
matter with the bank's personnel
director, pointing out that the ban
was contrary to the city's anti-bias
law on employment.
He said he then notified Rabbi
Yehuda Oelbaum, the school prin-
cipal, that the bank had cancelled
the restriction.

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