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July 10, 1970 - Image 48

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1970-07-10

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Oppression of Jews in Russia
From 1917 to 1967 Related

Sponsored by the Union of Rus-
sian Jews, edited by four authori-
ties on Russian Jewry — Jacob
Frumkin, Gregor Aronson, Alexis
Goldenweiser and Joseph Lewitan
—published in a splendid transla-
tion by Joel Carmichael, "Russian
Jewry 1917-1967" brings the story
of the Jews in the USSR up to the
present and exposes the tensions,
oppressions and sdppresions suffer-
ed under Kremlin domination.
Published by Thomas Yoseloff,
this volume is especially significant
for its all-inclusive coverage of the
conditions in Russia and reveals
the agonies created by the anti-
Jewish elements that have inherited
the anti-Semitic legacy of the
This volume continues the an-
alyses of the situation in Russia
that were presented in an earlier
volume published by the Union of
Russian Jews under the title "Rus-
sian Jewry 1860-1917." The Union
of Russian Jews was founded in
1942 by Jews who had escaped
from Russia. In the 23 essays in
the new volume the authors outline
the historic occurrences in the Bal-
tic states, in the Ukraine and Bye-
lorussia, under Nazi rule, in the
period during which there emerged
the anti-Zionist and anti-Israel
The all-inclusiveness of this
volume becomes apparent in the
essays that deal with educational
experiences, with the theater,
with the language question, Zion-
ism and migration.
A review of "The Jewish Ques-
tion During the Stalin Era" by
Gregor Aronson has direct signifi-
cance today because of the revived
anti-Semitic practices under Com-
munist rule. Aronson gives a thor-
ough review of occurrences during
the tragic years of the anti-Jewish
campaigns under Stalin, how Lazar
Kaganovich's name stopped being
mentioned, how the Yiddish press
vanished and "Jewish disorienta-
tion was complete."
There are details in this essay of
the earlier functions of the Yiddish
press, the pressures upon it, its
demise: the author translates how
Communist pressure prevented
mention of the Jewish sufferings
under Nazism, the complete silence
relative to the death camps.
Dealing with the literary fac-
tors, there are exposes here of
persecution of Jewish writers and

the works of the many creative
authors are commented upon and
given extensive resumes. In this
respect, the essays in this volume
serve a special purpose, in view
of the sad experiences of the
many writers in the course of the
developing USSR anti-Semitism.
There are interesting figures of
Russian Jews who settled in pre-
Israel Palestine. The author of this
account, Julius Margolin, presents
the numbers for 1925 (7,780)
through 1936 (165 for first half) and
states that "the period from 1937
to 1945 was a 'blank spot' in the
history of the aliyas of the Russian
Jews." There are no figures listed
for subsequent years but the essay
contains a record of Russian Jews'
vast contributions towards Israel's
In a reminiscence, "Russian Zion-
ists in the Struggle for Palestine,"
S. K. Gepstein tells of the nefarious
role of the Yevsektsia, the Jewish
Communist sector, its unscrupulous
acts in seeking to harm the efforts
of those aiming at rebirth of the
Jewish nation. Yevsektsia empha-
sized use of Yiddish, called Hebrew
a counter-revolutionary language,
in the early years of Tarbuth still
was able to register protests but to
no avail.
The author of the latter essay
died before he had concluded his
reminiscences, but he incorporat-
1 ed enough data to add an im-
portant chapter to Zionist his-
There is a factual account of the
charges against Jews who observed
religious regulations and who wish-
ed to be linked with the synagogue
and the article, "Jewish Religion
in Soviet Russia," by Gershon
Swet is a powerful indictment of
the Russian prejudices. He cites
from the venom-inspired article in
the "Great Soviet Encyclopedia"
in which rabbis and the Kahal are
listed as reactionary and goes
through the era during which the
atheistic attacks were especially
leveled at Jews, under the direction
of the Yevsektsia and its young
Komsomol Communist League.
Numerous other issues are thor-
oughly accounted for to indicate
the trends of the time and the pre-
judices that have been injected
into Soviet society, and the revela-
tions serve to enlighten those seek-
ing data about the status of Jewry
in Russia today.

'Jewish Values' Effectively Defined by Louis Jacobs

Dr. Louis Jacobs, the eminent
British Jewish scholar whose views
conflicted with the former British
chief rabbi and whose controver-
sial role in Jewry attracted wide
attention, has produced another
guide to Jewish thinking and living
and to a knowledge of the basics
of Judaism, that will merit for a
long time the role of an outstand-
ing classic in Jewish literature.
"Jewish Values" is a study in
Torah and Jewish ethical teachings.
In its 160 pages it covers a vast
field relating to love of neighbor
and love of God, truth, holiness,
humility and many related sub-
Published in London by Vallen-
tine-Mitchell, it was just issued in
this country by Hartmore Press of
Hartford, Conn.
The values defined here are
called Jewish because "they re-
ceive a special kind of emphasis
in the Jewish tradition," Rabbi
Jacobs explains at the outset.
He makes these interesting points
in introducing his subject:
"Take the word value itself. It is
highly significant that the word
'erekh' used for 'value' in the
latter Hebrew literature, originally
meant no more than 'estimation' or
'assessment' and was used in the
earlier sources for the idea of
establishing the monetary worth of
an object. In the great formative
periods of Bible and Talmud there
is no word for 'value; in the sense
of abiding or absolute truth: the
ancients show no value in value.
The genius of biblical and talmu-
dic Judaism expressed itself far
less in abstract thought patterns
and far more in concrete applica-
tions. There are very few discus-
sions on the nature of justice and
righteousnes but there are con-
stant appeals for justice and right-
eousness to be realized in the lives
of Jews .
Parables, the views of the
sages, the teachings that have
been perpetuated through the
ages are incorporated in this vol-
ume to illustrate and to empha-
size the ideas and ideals defined
by Dr. Jacobs.
In "The Study of Torah" we have
an examination of the methods
pursued in study, of the difficulties
facing the modern Jew because
"He knows too much about devel-
opment and evolution in Jewish
beliefs and practices, he has too
strong an historical sense, he has

too great an awareness of the ex-
ternal influences always at work in
shaping the pattern of Jewish life
throughout the ages, to assert con-
fidently that a passage he happens
to study in the classics of Judaism
is the authentic word of God."
It is because he tackles his sub-
ject with such realism and frank-
ness, taking into account the
obstacles, that the author is able to
draw his reader to a constructive
Jewish point of view.
Dedication to Torah, study for
the sake of study, theologian
joining hands with the historian
are advocated in this splendid
work. Dr. Jacobs states: "Once
the idea is accepted that the
quest for Torah is itself Torah
the grand old Jewish ideal of
Torah study for its own sake is
as relevant today as in the past
and one that is fully compatible
with the most objective approach
in which the truth is followed
wherever it may lead. If only a
new type of Jewish scholar is
permitted to emerge, who blends
both the religious devotion of the
old style talmid hakham with the
expertise, the ability to specialize
in one or more great fields of
Jewish learning, and the objec-
tivity of the modern, scientific

tionately, far less serious in Israel
than in the United States, it is a
matter of increasing concern.
Ile believes the increase in Is-
rael is part of a worldwide trend
and said that it might be signi-
ficantly worse were it not for
the war conditions curtailing
much of the delinquency that
could normally be expected.
Another matter of growing pub-
lic concern, according to Dr. Horo-
vitz, is the problem of narcotics.
He explained that until just a
few years ago, this had been a
phenomenon of the underground
and, to some extent, of the Arab
population, but that lately it has
become common among native-
born, middle-class Israelis, as well
as those of European origin.
Ile emphasized that the problem
is. at present, confined to the so-
called "soft" drugs, marijuana
and hashish. Israel has had very
little contact so far with LSD and
other hard-core hallucinatory nar-
cotics, and he added that even pot
hasn't approached the endemic pro-
portions in Israel's high schools
and colleges as it has in the United
Dr. Horovitz said that Israeli
courts are generally far less con-
cerned with punishment than with
rehabilitation, and that many
judges regard a prison sentence as
Interviewed at NCJW headquar- a last resort for all but the most
ters in New York just prior to his serious crimes. With a total na-
departure, Dr. Horovitz acknowl- tional population of some 2,800,000
edged that while crime is, propor- people, the number of those pres-

48 Friday, July 10, 1970


ently confined in prison is around
4,000. Of these, some 2,500 are con-
fined for security reasons, includ-
ing captured members of El Fatah
and other terrorist organizations.
According to Dr. Horovitz, Is-
rael's Arabs have a significantly
lower crime rate than its Jews,
but he attributed this to the fact
that the Arabs are less urbanized.

11;yry i iron

scholar, then the study of the

Torah will once again flourish as
one of the most sublime of Jew-
ish values."
Holiness, fear of God, sanctifica-
tion, humility, compassion, truth-
th.: variety of values defined by Dr.
Jacobs gives his book status as an
objective and instructive work for
those desiring to become more
fully acquainted with Jewish tradi-
tions and teachings.
The views of the rabbis on truth-
fulness is an interesting approach
here. Dr. Jacobs, while stating
that "truthfulness involves the re-
futation of hypocrisy," also asserts
that "truth must not be made into
a fetish" and that while man must
live by the truth "there are times
when truth imperils man's exist-
ence and then truth must be cast to
the earth."
On this score, giving specific

examples of avoiding truth, Dr.
Jacobs states that "there is the

general principle that where
peace demands it, a lie may be
Discussing "The Love of Neigh-
bor," Rabbi Jacobs quotes an oc-
currence that has some reference

Israel's Low Crime Rate Attributed to Newness of Her Penal System

NEW YORK — Modern Israel's
freedom from centuries of tradi-
tion is at least partially responsi-
ble, according to one of its leading
criminologists, for the significantly
lower crime rate and the relative
success of the young nation's re-
habilitation programs. '
Dr. Men a chem
Horovitz, deputy
director of the
adult probation
department of
the ministry of
welfare, says
that the Israeli
penal system,
barely two dec-
ades old, is ex-
ceptionally suit-
ed for social ex-
and change.
Many new and
admittedly o f f-
beat concepts in Dr. Horovitz
criminology and rehabilitation, he
added, are being successfully im-
Dr. Horovitz, who returned to
in February, has just corn-
, ,pleted a two-year stay in the
'Trilled States during which he
earned his doctorate at the Univer-
sity of Pittsburgh School of Social
Work under the auspices of the
National Council of Jewish Women.

to the problem affecting soldiers
on "taking orders," a problem that
arises every time a Nazi defends
himself for having committed mass
murders. Rabbi Jacobs states in
this chapter:
". . . . whatever are the views of
the Rabbis on sacrificing one's life
to save another's, they agree on
condemning the sacrifice of an-
other's life to save one's own. The
Talmud tells of a man who came
before Raba (299-352 C.E.) and
said to him: 'The governor of my
town has ordered me: "go and kill
so-and-so; and if not I will kill
you." Rabbi replied: 'Let him kill
you rather than you should commit
murder; what reason do you see
for thinking that your blood is
redder? Perhaps his blood is red-
<ler.' As Rashi explains, although
it is permissible to sin in order to
save one's life, this cannot apply to
the crime of murder . . ."
In these and many more in-
stances, with the resort to folklore,
to the teachings of the Talmud, the
Bible, the rabbis, Dr. Jacobs has
produce a valuable work whence
"Jewish Values" emerges in all
their grandeur, teaching the reader
the dignity of the principles taught
in our traditions.

most of the world's major cities,
Israel's underworld doesn't infil-
trate business and other elements
of the economy. There is no high-
level organized crime in Israel, a
circumstance which Dr. Horovitz
regards as one of the advantages
of being an "underdeveloped"

In addition, Israeli jurists have
Hebrew Column
had to familiarize themselves
with legal matters that are in-
digenous to the Arab culture,
such as the crime of allowing
one's sheep to graze on another's
land or eating the bark off some-
All summer long Shimon Ben AM
would go out from his house early In
one else's trees.
the morning and return in the late
Asked what the difference in afternoon (hours). What did be do?
was practicing for the Maccabi
treatment might be for a Jewish He
Games. He ran and Jumped, pulled
teen-ager convicted of stealing a ropes and climbed poles—he practiced
car as opposed to an Arab teen- without a break. Why?
Shimon wanted to achieve good re-
ager found guilty of the same of- sults
in the Maccabia, to set a record.
fense, Dr. Horovitz said they would But even If he did nal. set a record, he
does not regret the training he did.
be treated exactly alike.
He is sure that it is worthwhile Tyree-
The welfare ministry retains both ! tieing and taking part in competitions
with outstanding Jewish sportsmen from
Arab and Jewish probation work- other countries.
ers on its professional staff in
The Maccabia takes places every four
in the large stadium at Ramat
recognition of the need of youthful years
Gan, near Tel Aviv. Here Jewish sports-
offenders for ethnic rapport with men from all over the world assemble
competitions. The Mac-
rehabilitation counselors.
cable is the "Jewish Olympic Games,"
Dr. Horovitz went on to say that an expression of the sporting spirit of
the people of Israel.
while the young Arab and the
During the Maccabia it is Impossi-
young Jew would be accorded ble to recognize the city of Tel Aviv.
identical treatment from any court, Tens of thousands from all over the
country come to see the strong and
an Arab youngster would be far healthy Jewish youth showing its ability
less likely to ever steal a car in in the field of sport. Schools, youth or-
ganizations and the army in Israel
the first place. Car theft, it ap- devote much time (lit- place) to sports
pears, is a crime indigenous to the matters and physical development be.
cause we well know the slogan: "A
young Jewish offenders among the healthy mind in a healthy body."
Israeli populace.
(Issued by Brit Irvit Olamit in con-
Unlike the criminal element my ehudit.) with Keren Zikaron LeTarbut

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