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November 27, 1970 - Image 56

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1970-11-27

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Black Muslim's Right to Wear Beard
Backed in Court by Orthodox Group

NEW YORK (JTA)—An Ortho-
dox Jewish group, supported by
three major national Jewish or-
ganizations, has asked the New
York Court of Appeals to compel
Greyhound Bus Co. to hire a Black
Muslim who was refused a job be-
cause he wears a beard.
In August 1968, Abdullahi Ibra-
him applied for a position as bag-
gage clerk with Greyhound.
When he appeared for an inter-
view, he was advised of the com-
pany policy that its employees be
clean shaven. Ibrahim stated that
he is required by his religion to
wear a beard.
Greyhound refused to hire him
when he reiterated that he would
adhere to his religious practices
and beliefs and would not shave
his beard.
Ibrahim filed a complaint with
the New York State Division of
Human Rights, charging Greyhound
with violation of ttie state's Hu-
man Rights Law ban on discrimi-
nation in employment because, of
The state division ruled in favor
of Ibrahim and ordered Greyhound
to offer him a job. However, Grey-
hound appealed this decision to
the appellate division.
Several months ago, the ap-
pellate division reversed the di-
vision of human rights ruling
and held that Greyhound was not
guilty of discriminatory practice
because Its policy was not based
on any intent to bar employment
on religious grounds.
An appeal was then taken to the
Court of Appeals by the State Di-
vision of Human Rights.

Because of the broad implica-
tions that the case may have to
Orthodox Jews who wear beards
or other religious garb, the Na-
tional Jewish Commission on Law
and Public Affairs (COLPA) de-
cided to submit a friend of the
court brief urging the state's high-
est court to uphold the Division
of Human Rights ruling.
COLPA's brief is supported by
the New York chapter of the
American. Jewish Committee, the
American Jewish Congress and the
Metropolitan Council of the Anti-
Defamation League.
In its brief, COLPA argues that
"the impact of a company's em-
ployment policy on the individual's
employment opportunity must be
decisive—and not the presence or
absence of a specific intent to dis-
criminate . . . Thus, in the case of
persons such as the complainant,
to refuse to hire because of reli-
gion of necessity means to apply to
such individual an employment pol-
icy which ineluctably forecloses
him from employment if he ad-
heres to his religious require-
According to Howard Rhine
and Sidney Kwestel, COLPA of-
ficers who wrote the brief, the
decision of the Court of Appeals
may have an important bearing
on the employment rights of
Sabbath obseryers — Orthodox
Jews, Seventh Day Adventists
and members of other religious
Many Sabbath observers have
encountered difficulty b e c a u s e
they are required to leave work
early on Friday afternoons during
the winter months.

Compassionate Act Stirs Up Controversy

Tribute to Israel's President Shazar
for His Humane Altitude to Arabs

Jewish News Special
Israel Correspondent
TEL AVIV — Israel President
Za 1 m a n Shazar, when he re-
ceived a big delegation of Israeli
Arabs who delivered their New
Year greetings to him, said: "I
am not sure whether I shall be-
come popular because of what I
am about to say. I cannot forget
that the Arab Moslem world has
sustained a great loss a short time
ago which caused great mourning.
If I would know that my expres-
sions of condolence would be ac-
cepted by the people of Egypt
with understanding and not as an
act of hypocrisy, I would have
expressed them on the day of the
burial of Abdel Nasser. But as
Egypt considers itself at war with
Israel, I can only hope that the
president and prime minister of
Egypt will one of these days wish
for peace like the president of
Next day, the former member
of the Knesset and now chairman
of the Arab department in the
Histadrut in Haifa, Amnon Linn,
came out with a strong declara-
tion against the president of Is-
rael. Linn said at a press con-
ference that the president made a
severe mistake when he expressed
condolences on the death of Nas-
ser and damaged the endeavors
to turn the Israeli Arabs into faith-
ful citizens of Israel.

The general secretary of the His
tadrut in Haifa, Eliezer Molk, im-
mediately rejected Linn's decla-
ration, which stated that Nas-
ser expressed the docrine of des-
troying Israel and no Israeli
should mourn his death. Linn also
said that when the Israeli Arabs
saw the Israeli reaction on the
death of Nasser, they arranged big
mourning demonstrations.
After a talk between Molk and
Linn about this delicate matter,
Linn admitted that he had made
a formal mistake when he re-
proached the president of Israel
with his declaration as chairman
of the Arab department in the
Histadrut in Haifa.
I learned from an authoritative
source that at a meeting of the
Israeli cabinet after the death of
Gamal Nasser, the Mapam minis-
ter, Nathan Peled, put forward a
proposal that the president should
express condolences to those
Arabs in Israel who mourn the
death of Nasser. He said that such
a step would be esteemed by the
Arab leaders as a humanitarian
act. This proposal was rejected, as
some cabinet members were of the
opinion that the Arab leaders
would interpret such a declaration
as hypocrisy.
The former minister and present
treasurer of the Jewish Agency,
Leon Dultzin, pointed out that the
words of the president were a true

Biography Notes Chagall's Rebellious Independence

"Chagall" is the title of the book published by Coward-McCann.
Chagall's relationships to the great men of the past half century
Its author is Jean-Paul Crespelle and the translator from the French
and more form valuable data' on the development of art as well as
is Benita Eisler. Illustrated with photographs of the great artist in the
political events that upset dynasties, led to revolutions, experi-
various stages and by other pictures of note, this volume will be enced the Holocanstian terrors.
cherished by lovers of art.
Passing in review in the Marc Chagall story are such word-famous
It is a biography that has the special merit of containing the personalities as Maxim Gorki, Baron David Ginsbourg, Ilya Eheren-
distinguished artist's personal views given to the biographer over a bourg, Ossip Zadkine, Leon Trotsky, Nikolai Lenin, Pablo Picasso,
period of some 10 years during which he met and discussed art and Amedeo Modigliani, Boris Pasternak, Mane-Katz, and so many others,
related subjects with Chagall. especially the very great in the world of art.
Chagall is now in his late 80s yet he retains the forcefulness In "The Love, The Dreams, The Life of Chagall," Crespelle
of ,a young man. His views are as firmly expressed as if he were now discusses at some length the 12 windows Marc Chagall created for the
conducting a campaign for realism and for appreciation of the arts synagogue in the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. There is this reveal-
and of human values_ ing story about that assignment:
Crespelle describes Chagall's late-in-life years as "a bouquet of
"More challenged than discouraged by the obstacle present in
flowers." He quotes Chagall's "profession of faith": "I ask nothing
the form of the Jewish law forbidding the representation of the
from life: I work like a cobbler; I love my wife, I am at peace."
human face, Chagall exploits the restriction with astounding vir-
Primarily Chagall is depicted as the artist, although the many
tuosity, using cnjy objects, chandeliers, tablets of the Law, Torah
trials and tribulations are reviewed to indicate the turmoil that
scrolls, shofars, and Hebrew letters to symbolize the twelve tribes of
affected him. To Crespelle, Chagall is "an astonishing mixture of Israel. Unveiled in the spring of 1961, housed in a specially con-
Charlie Chaplin and Mephistropheles, of a goat and cat. Cunning and structed annex to the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in the Tuileries
sensitive, sarcastic, yet playing the ingenue to ward off the curious
gardens built at the behest of Andre Malraux, these windows imme.
and to preserve his inner kingdom."
diately won great acclaim, to Chagall's vast delight. "I did all that
Of course, the Chagall story is begun in Vitebsk, Russia, where as effortlessly as birds sing," he declared. Stained glass is easy.
The same thing happens in a cathedral or a synagogue: a mystical
he was born in 1887, then to Paris where he lived until the last war,
thi ng passes through the glass.
his life in the United States during the war and his return to Europe
" But Chagall was to be rapidly disenchanted when, in February,
where he continued his labors which resulted in so many triumphs.
There is an interesting quotation on the manner in which he
1962, he went to the inauguration of the windows In Jerusalem. The
synagogue building, conceived in a relentlessly utilitarian spirit, had
worked: "I always liked to paint at night; it gave me a feeling of
cramped proportions, and ugly, cheap material had been used in the
exaltation. My thoughts returned to my own country. I lived for my
work. I used tablecloths, sheets and nightshirts torn into pieces of construction. The windows no longer achieved the same effects as
canvas." they had in the Musee des Arts Decoratifs. And as the ultimate mis-
fortune, the Six-Day War of June, 1967, was to damage them seri-
ously. Since then, Chagall constantly shivers in dread over their
fate, as he considers them one of the summits of his lifework."
Chagall's parents were Hasidim, yet by Crespelle be is described
as having been influenced by Christ not as the Messiah but as "the
marvelous poet of pity and suffering to whom he could open his
heart." Chagall's home town of Vitebsk is depicted as typically Rus-
sian. Perhaps there is a better explanation for his religious attitudes
in this quotation from Crespelle:
"Closed to formal education, Chagall was equally resistant to
religious training, which is more surprising In view of the biblical
atmosphere enveloping his family life. But the fact remains: he
challenged God in synagogue-1f you exist, make me blue, thunder
or moonlight,' he would murmur. 'Hide me In the altar of the Torah—
do something, God!' He even went as far as sacrilege, assuring his
mother of his observance of the ritual fast when he had, in fact, Just
eaten. All this explains his personal attitude toward religions ques-
tions and his lack of interest in creating works destined for churches
or temples of whatever faith.
"In school, as in synagogue, what he liked best was music and
singing. His parents had arranged singing lessons for him, and an
ironmonger neighbor taught him the rudiments of the violin. On the
High Holy Days in synagogue, be imitated the cantor, feeling himself
borne aloft by a kind of holy intoxication."
It is as a world figure that Chagall emerges especially in this
volume, as a rebel, as one uninfluenced by pressures and as a formula-
tor of his own ideas which were, indeed, Influenced by his family
background, even though his biographer depicts him as somewhat
aloof from his religious upbringing.
Crespelle's work is among the latest on art and artists that is certain
to create greater interest in Chagall while arousing debate over the
56—Friday, Nmadrer 27, 1970
THE DETROIT JEWISH HEWS Issues that affected his life.
— P.S.

expression of humanity and not
a political act.

The chief editor of Davar, Hans
Zemer, wrote that the words of the
president were very cautious. It
was an expression of good taste,
that the president didn't voice his
own mourning over the death of
Nasser but only the mourning
of the Israeli Arabs. Hana
Zemer added with sarcasm: It
turned out that only in one respect
did the president not regard his
caution: "He did not take the ad-
vice of Amnon Linn before he
said what he said. Without doubt,
Linn would have amended, with
his known' liberal access to mat-
ters, the statement of the presi-
dent and we would have been
spared the sham of Linn's press
conference and his later excuse.
It would be advisable for the pres-
ident to take council with Amnon
Linn whenever he intends to say
something . . ." A stream of
letters arrived at the office of the
Israeli newspapers about the presi-
dent's statement.
Our beloved President Zalman
Shazar, who is a Talmid Haham,
writer and thinker, does not like
to subject himself to the instruc-
tions of the government. He has
proved several times that he has
his own opinion about certain mat-
ters. Several months ago he criti-
cised those Israeli leaders who
waged a strong campaign against
the president of the World Jewish
Congress, Dr. Nahum Goldmann,
on his political activities. He said
at a meeting of the Zionist Council
that he was shocked to hear how
Israeli students received the for-
mer nresident of the World Zion-
ist Organization, how one
tried to turn him into an
Uriel Acosta like the fanatics in
Amsterdam. He said the Zionist
conscience must treat those who
wish to express their free opinion
in another way, that if their atti-
tudes are not acceptable, one can
contest them, but not proclaim
them as traitors and boycott them.

The president accepted four
years ago the proposal to head
the public committee to mark the
80th birthday of David Ben-Gur-
ion. At the satne time. a great
drama occurred in the Manai Par-
ty. A party court dealt with those
who left Mapai and founded the
new Ran Party. It was headed by
the present minister of justice,
Jacob Shimshon Shapira. who in-
dicted the former Mapai leaders,
including Ben-Gurion, as neo-
fascists . . .

Now Minister Shapira has again
become a good friend of B-G and
has accepted the chairmanship of
the Ben-Gurion archives in the col-
lege at Sde Boker. He recently
headed the festivities marking
B-G's public committee.
President Shazar had many ar-
guments with former Premier
Ben-Gurion owing to the latter's
negativism to the Yiddish lan-
guage. The president is a partisan
of this language.
Now there is a public contro-
versy going on, whether the presi-
dent was right or not in expressing
his condolences to an Arab delega-
tion on the death of Nasser.
His statement was accepted by
public opinion in the world as
proof of the high moral and hum-
anitarian feeling in Israel and as
a liberal expression of the presi-
dent of Israel with regard to the
Arab world, though this world is
in a state of war with Isfael.
It can only be said, that the
president of Israel has proved
himself once again as a great
democrat, who strives for peace
and Is not afraid to express hum-
an feelings on the death of one of
the chief enemies of Israel.

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