St. John's Delightful South American Travelogue
Robert St. John is famed as one
of the pioneer radio broadcasters,
as foreign correspondent, an inter-
preter of world affairs. In the
course of his coverage of world
news, at the UN, in many coun-
tries, he has become a traveler
skilled in observing the customs,
the habits, the characteristics of
He has not only authored impor-
tant works on Israel, the Jordan
River, Eliezer ben Yehudah, the
fathter of modern Hebrew, David
Ben-Gurion and "Jews, Justice and
Judaism," but has also covered
Latin American and other areas.
In his last two ventures he has
added the observations of his wife,
Ruth, and becasue of the glamour
she adds to his depicted experi-
ences, his latest book, "South
America More or Less" (published
by Doubleday), gains special
ROBERT ST. JOHN
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It's a delightful work. It is
descriptive of many Latin
American centers and their peo-
ples Caracas, Belem, Recife,
Bahia, Rio, Brasilia, Sao Paulo,
Asuncion, Montevideo, Buenos
Aires, Bariloche, Santiago, La
Paz, Machu Picchu, Lima, Gua-
yaquil . It is anecdotal, filled
with adventure, historically in-
structive, revealing in its anal-
ysis of current developments.
It is a highly imaginative work,
as the reproduction of the cover
picture indicates: the author
utilized postage stamps from the
areas he covered.
As a travelogue it is superb—
and the recollections of earlier
events and of personal acquaint;
ances, many related to Jewry and
Israel, add the usual interest the
St. John works have for Jewish
Indeed, his wife's role is woven
in splendidly—although she is not
listed as a co-author. But she cer-
tainly is a collaborator.
Pernambuco. Here they braved
tropical tliseases, almost un-
bearable heat and other jungle
conditions in return for the right
to worship as they pleased. But
the arm of the Inquisition was
long enough to reach across the
ccean. Spies and agents provoca-
teurs arrived to apprehend them
and thousands were burned at the
stake as a lesson to South Amer-
ican natives about what would
happen to them if they failed to
show proper respect for their
white-faced rulers. For years the
Jews lived in fear. Any non-Jew
who denounced a secret Jew was
rewarded with a sizable percent-
Sarah Reisman, Active
in Mizrachi, Education
Sarah Reisman, who for more
than half a century had been active
in behalf of educational circles and
Mizrachi, died Saturday at age 90.
She lived at 14801 Lincoln, Oak
Funeral services were held Sun-
day at Kaufman Chapel.
Surviving are three sons, Drs.
Frank, Samuel and David; a
daughter, Mrs. Max (Mildred)
Steiner; 16 grandchildren and five
Shortly after she arrived in De-
troit from Poland, Mrs. Reisman
assumed responsibility for many
projects in Orthodox Jewish cir-
cles and for many years was active
in Mizrachi women's groups. She
was primarily interested in the
work of the United Hebrew Schools
where her children and some of
her grandchildren were educated.
She aided Zionist and educational
causes during many years of serv-
ice for them.
age of the apprehended man's
"Then the Dutch sent an armed
expedition to capture Pernam-
buco, which was seized under
cover of darkness and was re-
named Recife. For the next 30
years under Dutch rule the Euro-
pean Jews lived well, even be-
coming owners of plantations,
traders and engineers. But in
1654 the Portuguese retook the
city and gave the Jews the choice
ROBERT AND RUTH ST. JOHN
of baptism or exile. With little
hesitation most chose exile. Some friendship between the two coun-
his head vigorously. When I
left for the Netherlands on Dutch tries:
asked what his interest was he
ships, others on Portuguese ves-
"Once the Israeli ambassador
sels. one of which was boarded
"You are fighting for princi-
gave a formal reception and sent
in the Caribbean by Spanish pir-
out 600 invitations. If it had
ples that I believe in."
ates, who might have put the 23
"'He was very unhappy when
been an average turnout, 400
Jews aboard to death had not a
might have appeared, but at the
I told him his services could not
French privateer, the St. Char-
possibly be accepted. He spent
appointed hour 900 were on
les, arrived and rescued them.
the night with us and then, very
hand. The 300 who came without
The French captain demanded
reluctantly, went back to his
being invited all said, in effect,
2,500 guilders to take them to the
one way or another, I'm sure
nearest port, which he said was
are many more incidents
you meant to invite me, too, but
New Amsterdam. After six more
somehow you failed to send me in the St. John story of great
months at sea, the 23 were final-
an invitation so I came anyway merit. In Lima he was suddenly
ly put ashore at New Amster-
in order to save you any embar- stopped by a man who reminded
dam, then little more than a
him he was Zeev Ardon, the Isra-
village, with narrow dirt roads
"Hagai told us that 15 Israelis eli who had traveled with him.
and a few scattered houses, but
were teaching Hebrew in various Ardon said he recognized him be-
which someday would be New
schools in Uruguay, while one cause "Only St. John dashes like
Ycrk, with the largest Jewish
public school had been named that!" He urged that he meet a
population of any city in the
the State of Israel School. Israel friend who wanted to "say hello"
buys $2,000,000 worth of meat to the biographer of Ben-Gurion.
From cover to cover St. John's
a year from Uruguay and in ex-
St. John makes note of Israel's
change sends her fertilizers, "South America More or Less" is
role in the world and in the Latin
pharmzceuticals, chemical s, filled with interesting episodes.
American countries, and it is
tools and other manufactured It's a truly delightful book by a
especially noteworthy to quote the
goods. During the Six-Day War delightful man•, and his charming
following from the report he offers
1967, 12,000 people flocked to wife has a good role in the travel-
the city stadium to demonstrate ogue.
"Paraguay is so poor that she is
in favor of Israel. Among the
able to afford diplomatic relations
speakers were leaders of all po-
with few of her fellow members
litical parties except the Com-
of the United Nations. It costs a
munists. Just before the war
small country a great deal of
started, a 10-year-old Uruguayan
money to maintain an embassy in
Washington, London, Paris or even
Damascus or Jerusalem. And if
Paraguay can afford embassies in
only a limited number of coun-
tries, then only a limited number
of countries will have embassies
in Asuncion. That is why the only
Middle Eastern country represent-
ed in Asuncion is Israel and there
is no Swiss ambassador and no
Canadian ambassador. The only
Communist country with an em-
bassy in Asuncion is Yugoslavia,
but Paraguay must share Yugo-
slavia's ambassador with Argen-
The remarkably good relations
established between Israel and
Uruguay is credited to the able
efforts of the Uruguayan ambassa-
dor Hagai Dikan about whom St.
John writes commendably. St. John
describes the democratic spirit in
Uruguay, the friendship with
Israel, Uruguay's pioneering as the
first country to have sent an am-
bassador to Israel, the visit there
of Israel's president, the studies
about Israel in Uruguayan schools.
St. John provides the following
delightful facts in relation to this
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
38—Friday, August 14, 1970
girl, having heard by radio that
Israel was about to be destroyed,
came to the Israeli Embassy on
Reject JDL Plans
for Militant Rally
Sophie Katz, 74
Sophie L. Katz, a member of
many women's organizations, died
Sunday at age 74.
Mrs. Katz, 16500 N. Park, South-
field, lived in the Detroit area for
50 years. She was born in Russia.
A member of Temple Beth El
and its sisterhood, Mrs. Katz also
belonged to Women's American
ORT, Hadassah, National Council
of Jewish Women, Pioneer Women
and the Jewish National Fund
Surviving are her husband, Saul
A.; a son, Marvin; two daughters,
Mrs. Jack (Helen) Silberstein of
Columbus and Mrs. Albert (Joyce)
Feurring; and 11 grandchildren.
Florence Cohen, 74;
Was ORT Leader
Florence G. Cohen, first fund-
raising chairman in Detroit for
Worben's American ORT, died Sun-
day at age 74.
Mrs. Cohen, a member of Tem-
ple Beth El and its sisterhood, also
belonged to National Council of
Jewish Women, was originator and
first chairman of the council's re-
sale shop and was a past officer of
Music Study Club.
Born in Chicago, Mrs. Cohen
lived in the Detroit area for 55
years. She resided at 16210 W.
Nine Mile, Southfield.
Survivors are a son, Norman; a
daughter, Mrs. Frederick (Elaine)
Sauve; two sisters, Mrs. John
(Sarah) Flesch and Mrs. Lilly
Steinberg; eight grandchildren and
NEW YORK (JTA) — Jewish
community leaders in the Crown
Heights section of Brooklyn have
attacked as "detrimental 'to the
people of the community" the Jew-
ish Defense League plans for a
"But the best story of all," rally at the site of the Crown
Hagai said with a large grin, 'is Heights Jewish Community Coun-
something that happened late cil headquarters which was fire-
one night that same week. Tam- bombed on July 21.
Sarah Reisman, 89
ara and I were about to go to
In announcing the rally, JDL
bed when there was a furious
Sarah Reisman, 89, a member of
it would no longer tolerate
There are some personal refer-
pounding on our front door. said
attacks upon Jewish persons and several communal organizations,
ences by the author, but one is
When I opened it there stood a property in Crown Heights and died last Saturday.
of special interest. At Asuncion,
gaucho who was in his seventies
Born in Poland, Mrs. Reisman
"retaliate in kind against
he met a delightful couple: he,
if he was a day. He had a three- would
was a member of Shedlitzer Far-
future assaults on Jews."
American; she, a native of Asun-
day beard and he seemed about any Stating
ein, Pioneer Women, United He-
cion. They lived in New York,
to collapse. We wouldn't let him cf poverty agencies had been brew Schools and Cong. Beth Te-
she became lonesome for her
talk until he sat down and Tam-
filo Emanuel Tikva. She was an
threatened, Jewish residents as-
native land, and they moved back
ara made some mate for him.
saulted and Jewish religious in- active worker in the Israel Bond
to Paraguay. St. John wonders
Then he told us why he was
whether the husband, Pete, could
here. He had walked 150 miles
Mrs. Reisman, 14801 Lincoln,
be happy away from the big city
from his ranch to volunteer his key to these assaults upon Jewish Oak Park, leaves three sons, Dr.
of New York. The author there-
services as a soldier in the up- rights is the image of a Jew in- Frank, Dr. Samuel and Dr. David
upon suggests that "most mixed
coming Middle East war. In his
of Dallas; a daughter, Mrs. Max
marriages create complications."
youth he had been an artillery- back."
"If the goons and hoodlums who (Mildred) Steiner; 16 grandchildren
and parenthetically he com-
man in the Uruguayan army.
and five great-grandchildren.
ments: "Ours—Ruth's and mine
Now he wanted to be sent to have been terrorizing the neigh-
—was an exception."
Israel "to help." When I asked borhood think that Jewish rights
For him and his wife the Jewess
whether he was a Jew he shook can be violated with impunity, we
are prepared to teach them the
there are some Jewish experi-
kind of lesson that even they will
ences, one of them in Recife, in
be able to understand in its sub-
Brazil, the center that figured so
lime simplicity," it said.
much in the story of the first Jew-
Dr. Alvin S. Geffen, a dentist
Jewish community leaders, who with offices at 530 Telegraph,
ish settlers in America. The St.
asked not to be identified, said the Dearborn for 22 years, died last
Johns state frankly that they "dis-
Messenger of Good Tidings
JDL had not been invited by the Saturday at age 47.
liked the city" but the author re-
Golda promptly called for an community.
lates the following: All because of a word, Gahal
Dr. Gef fen, 22051 Ivanhoe,
"This puts the fat in the fire," Southfield, was a native Detroiter.
"In the 15th Century, when the leader Menahem Begin withdrew English dictionary, which revealed
Jews were forced out of Spain from the Israeli coalition. When that the definitions for acknowl- one said, "The end result of the He was a member of Cong. Sha-
by the machinations of Isabella U.S. Secretary of State William edge include "to recognize the rally will be to chase the rest of arey Zedek and Alpha Omega Den-
and Ferdinand, they went first to Rogers called for—in his peace authority or claims of: recognize the Jews out of Crown Heights." tal Fraternity.
Portugal and then, when life be- plan — "acknowledgment" of Is- in legal form."
JDL has a right to do as it
Surviving are his wife, Nori; a
came uncomfortable for them rael's sovereignty, Begin protested
Was Begin convinced? Or, more please, they declared, but it is a son, Bradley; two daughters,
there, some of them moved, to Golda Meir that Nasser might importantly, how many Arabic "lot of nerve on their part to in- Cindy and Heidi; and two sisters,
across the Atlantic to what is I acknowledge Israel's sovereignty interpretations are there of the volve the Jewish community. or Mrs. George (Frances) Moss and
now Recife but then was called but he would never recognize it.
Community Council in their plans." Mrs. Mildred Fox.
her way to school and gave Am-
bassador Dikan a diamond ring
she had inherited on the death
of her mother because she want-
ed to help Israel.
Dr. Alvin Geffen,
Dentist, Dead at 47