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Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the 26th day of Tebet, 5731, the following scriptural selections
will be read in our synagogues: .
Pentateuchal portion, Erod. 6:2-9:35. Prophetical portion, Ezekiel 28:25-29:21.
Rosh Hodesh Shevat Torah reading, Wednesday, Num. 28:1-15.
Candle Ughtlag, Friday, Jan. 22, 5:15 p.m.
. VOL. LVIII. No. 19
. January 55, 1971
Unnecessary Apologetics and Self Flagellation
If people were cut out of patterns and
were to represent either all that is good or all
that is bad, we might embark on very bad
times. There is no such thing as all glorious,
just as there is no such condition that makes
all people evil.
There are good and noble Russians and
not all, even in the Kremlin, are criminals.
Among the Germans there were many
honorable people who rejected Nazism.
There are -some evil men among the Amer-
icans, and we are grateful that the overwhelm-
ing majority of our people are good-willed.
Christianity has its bigots, but it would be
insane . to accept it as a generalization. For
centuries we have heard preachments against
Jews in churches, yet most Christians did not
embark upon pogroms. In recent decades, in
the era of Coughlin, Winrod, G. L. K. Smith
and scores of others, there were radio speech-
es at Easter and Christmas times emphasizing
the Crucifixion and appealing to hatred of the
Jew. Yet there were no demonstrations, even
though hatred must have seeped into many
These commonly established truths need
to be repeated for an evaluation of the Jewish
society. We are especially sensitive about be-
ing law-abiding. In fact, we are patriots of the
land in which we hold citizenship. We are the
loyalists par excellence. Yet we have among
us some criminals, a few lawbreakers, fana-
Is this so unusual among normal people?
The mere fact that these things need to be
said at this time makes the situation unusual,
but it does not reduce the normality of people-
What we have just stated is self-evident
and to be taken for granted, yet there has
arisen a condition that may be very damaging
to the human way of our existence if it should
be permitted for a community to become pan-
icky over a situation that is embarrassing but
which must be judged as part of a course of
human events and not as a branding process
upon the record of an important social factor
in the American entity.
Let it be understood:
In the course of more than 300 years of
organized Jewish communal functioning in
this country there have been no incidents of
organized Jewish disloyalty or inhumanity or
asociality. We have had in our midst some
criminals, and we also had our saints. We had
Jews in the ranks of slaveholders and also of
abolitionists. We have boasted of great scien-
tists, government officials, teachers—and also
laborers, unionists, perhaps also terrorists.
Presently, we have an organized Jewish
community of some 6,000,000 Jews, nearly all
of whom are defenders of Israel's right to
existence, nearly all of whom implore the
Soviet Union to permit its citizens to emigrate
if they so choose and also to grant them the
right to pursue their beliefs and adhere to a
culture that is their heritage. This people
pleads for justice and its cause is so pressing
that peoples of all faiths, of many nationality
backgrounds, of all races, are assisting in ask-
ing for fair treatment for those in need.
Within this group it is inevitable that there
also should be militants. Under the Czars in
Russia there was an organized samo-oborona, a
strong self-defense group that operated in the
ghettos to protect the Jewish population. The
Russian police could not be depended upon
for such protection. Often the police collabor-
ated with the murderous pogromchiks. The
situation was different then.
In pre-Israel Palestine there were the- Ir-
gun and the Stern Gang. They were dealing
with British betrayals to the Jewish people.
Their actions were not endorsed by the Jew-
ish community at large which depended upon
Hagana for its defense. But the situation was
In this country there emerged a tragic
situation involving the black-white struggle
and the inability of the authorities in large
cities to deal with abnormal situations. Vigi-
lante groups arose, first among the Orthodox
in Williamsburg, later in the form of the
Jewish Defense League. Both represented
minorities. Both were the evolving factors in Back-to-the-Soi I Movement
a condition that resulted from unfortunate
neighborhood changes, racial frictions and
conflicts between opposing factors on the by Pioneers in U.S.ToId
These are part of an evolving historical in 'Immigrants to Freedom'
experience that is not unique. There have
"Immigrants to Freedom" by Prof. Joseph Brandes of Paterson
been many such developments in American State College, co-published by University of ,Pennsylvania Press and
history. At no time, however, did it merit the Jewish Publication Society of America, is much more than the
condemnation of a single group, or a single subject implies. It deals with "Jewish Communities in Rural New
Jersey Since 1882" and it embraces a much vaster field.
religion, or a racial element.
It provides valuable information about Jews as farmers, about the
As a result of unfortunate happenings in- Baron
de Hirsch Fund. It traces the historic record of the Vineland
volving the Soviet Union, a state of panic settlers who were among the Jewish groups who turned to farming
seems to have emerged. Jews as a group were some 90 years ago.
linked into the boiling pans of resentments, as
Written in association with Martin Douglas, Prof. Brandes' slowly
if it were an issue affecting the honor of the is part
Jewish Theological Soninary'ig "Regional . Whiney
entire Jewish people. Just because a small Series." of In the
his preface to the vantage, Prof. Moshe Davhi declares
group of vigilantes had acted unscrupulously, that "it details
the continuing quest of the Jewish people is find a
unlawfully, disgracefully, does not justify an more perfect union
with lands and peoples of expanding
entire people's state of horror as if we had
Prof. Brandes' reconstruction of an important chapter in the Jewish
committed a wrong. Why didn't the Jewish
self-liberation movement, in the organized tasks to abandon an =pro-
groups act in consort with community-wide ductive
way of life and turn to the agricultural, represents one of the
sentiment rather than enact a self-flagellation most vital
efforts that was instituted by East European Jews, simul-
for an occurrence that is not our collective taneous with
their Zionist endeavors, for a back-to-the-mil apd creative
activities. It was a rejection of the ghetto in search for true freedom.
The current volume not only calls attention to a forgotten de,4092nent
It is proper for Jews to repudiate disgrace-
led Jews to the soil,. but was of a greater task to end the
ful acts of kinsmen within their ranks. It is which
seclusion into which Jews hemmed in and to emerge as self-respecting
questionable whether making a national issue citizens in a new environment..
of it is in the best judgment of responsible
Tracing the background, the life of oppression is Russia, and the
citizens who must act as citizens and not as
search for a new identity in the free atmosphere of American life, the
members of a particular philanthropic, civic, pioneers
of the emerging movement sought the self-respect that goes
religious or ethnic group.
with creative pursuits.
Some years back, the eminent author,
They began activities in South Jersey: "Among those seeking
Maurice Samuel, wrote a book entitled homes on the rural frontier were men and women inspired by popular
"Jews Be Nice." It dealt with just such leaders like Michael Bakal and Moshe Herder, who taught the dignity
situations—or expectations from Jews to of manual labiar. They were members of an ideological movement based
bend backwards, to be apologetic, con- on a return to the soil as a means of salvation for the oppesimed Jews
stantly to kowtow to all as if whatever of Russia, and assuming, with Tolstoy, that 'all the world bison and
rights were granted them were concessions protectai the bread producer,' that farming embodied the adidelionest
useful kind of toil. They had as precedent the sailors narodnild
to second class citizens. We grant that and
(populists), including Pavel Axelrod and Lev Deutsch, youthful intel-
such a time existed, that such humilia
t ions lectuals
- concerned with the welfare of Russia's vast peasant class --.
did influence Jewish life. But such condi-
tions no longer exist. We do not, as free
These were the ,agrarians who were linked ideologically to Zion-
ism and 'whose homes were established in Vinewood. Prof. Brander
citizens, permit self-humiliating apologetics,
points out that in these experiments were embodied, in microcosm,
and we therefore deplore the emergence
Agrarianism, Americanism, Zionism, as "a testing of traditional
of a sentiment that approaches cringing or
permitting our neighbors, no matter how
innocently, to chastise us for acts that
In the emerging struggle for identity, for a link of American and
stem from suspicions which could so easily Jewish ideals, there is reflected in this unusual story one of the most
noteworthy changes that has taken place in the life of the sponsors of a
develop into hatreds.
great movement akin to Zionism, and it has led to the democratic
It is our considered judgment that the pluralism in American society.
Jewish Defense League has become a problem
While the account given by Dr. Brassies describes the Vineland
within American society, and its actions—if experiment and the encouragement it received from leading Jewish
the bombing of a building in Washington personalities as well as ass-Jews, his xenon also servos as no adden-
really was the act of JDL—since it is denied dum to Zionist history, astable( in it description of a straggle for
by its leaders—are a link to other terrorist Zionist recogatisa, recalling the Reigns oppoation of the late
acts into which it was not found necessary to and the early lines and the battle of the *mews the movement
drag in Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Panthers, to advance its aims.
Mafia or any one else. Other bombings were
The personalities who figure in Urn story are in themselves of great
dealt with as part of the American lawless- iniporiance hittorically; and the successes and failures, the facts pre;
ness. That's how the Washington bomb-throw- tented in tabalar form, the descriptions of conflicts over goals and
ing should have been treated. It did not, in means of achieving the aims are illustrative of ideological searches for
our view, necessitate the -creation of a rendez- dignity by those who suffered oppression.
vous between President Nixon and some 100
It all stemmed from the Rumba Jewish Am Olans—Rlessal People
Jewish representatives as a Unison in apolo- movement.
- Thit;sister eoWft, at 'Woodbine played its role. The effects
getics. Perhaps the Jewish community should of
luiti-SeniitisM ere noted. 'The'-changes that had _taken place in the
enter into a study of such tactics; so that they 19(10s are - Winded:to, since the new trends no longer serve the idea of
should not develop into a rather unpleasant the blek4o-the-SO11• Moittnent in this 'country' as ceatrasted with the