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March 10, 1972 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1972-03-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

'Meyer Weisgal... So Far': life St
Zionist, Weizmann Institute Architec ,

nen

conte

_
Meyer W . Weisgal is one a w e ping this dynamo who keeps creat-
of ,ft.Es
Zionists drove Dorothy awaY responses he had in Cleveland and d Go
fried
coeh
urae
very remarkable men of our gen- ing good will for the Weizmann some
dcaueede
and caused the bitterness.
niatem
Detroit.
trica
aeboiro
lutir
five eas
eration. An immigrant lad from Institute — deals in great mea-
Hok
size - of
Meanwhile, he tells a story that The bug-bit him:: fie- iset- out
the Russian-Polish
Russian-Polish province of, sure with Dr. Chaim Weizmann,
e
t
hvry
eesize
mov
pa
th
i
u
se
;e
;P es ia
v t%
Weizmann's satire and seek success in another great
y. is
te n rY
m
ih,
d
g
ie
Piotsk, he went through many first president of Israel; and with reveals
ton. grimace,
describes an incident at a seder duction, "The Eternal Road," and
stages, struggled, was self-taught,. the men in the Zionist movement in
Meyer's home. Let Meyer tell for that he enlisted- the coo
Reinhardt would go up on the a
mastered English, became an edi- who were his associates in behalf
porn-
and act every part, - man, wo
tor, produced several great liter- of causes for the Jewish national it: lion and active role of. Max Re 1 ri- or child. He molded his
actors .
"In
1943
Dorothy
contributed
the
hardt.
The
great
-undertakin
a
ary products, then became a mas- rebirth for more than four de- outstanding essay
g sculptor mokls his clay;
on Weizmann in proved a flop, but the experien
it
cades. Yet there are so many other
ter builder. As Chaim Weizmann's intimate
ces
great
experience
to
watch
the book I edited. At about that Weisgal had with *Reinhardt hair es
th accounts of people . he tune,
chief adviser—whichever way one
or
a
little
before,
Weizmann
left
memorable
aftereffect
"Years
after
his
death,
his
ed is that what Weisgal has
' s. Th
judges that description, be actual- recorded
and Dorothy celebrated a seder— recollections of them- reprise
one of. several—in our house. Dr. some of the most entertaining a us wood, where he worked at M.G.
ly attained such a role—and as tory, in addition to
tor b in ein
jewi
g
h ais
Weizmann's right hand man for dendurn to the Zionist record. d: Mordecai Kaplan, the founder of well as illuminating-stories in th e s as a- producer and director, to
the Reconstructionist movement
that 40 regisseur, books had
many years he was primarily re-
In
a
sense,
what
Weisgal
re- had published a new version of the ; Weisgal biography.
put up for auction and had
sponsible for the growth of the
bites also is part of the story of Hagada, and had sent us copies trigger,
Sharp-tongned,
quick
on the e
by' Marilyn Monroe;
raconteur,
a
man
great Weizmann Institute in Re-
American theatrical develop- for the celebrants. One of the star- a retentive Memory. Weisgal wlth
has fried hadn't-the money at the
hovot, Israel.
meats. It Is an account of many fling
to buy them'. 1 bou
innovations
in
this
revised
retained
recollections
of
many
That's part of the story related
non-Jews' interests in Zionism
of them back for._ $1,000 from
version of the ancient document the happenings, especially those
and their reactions to the move- was
in "Meyer Weisgal . . . So Far, „
the omission of the thunder-
relating to Reinhard t and th hfonroe and gave them to ..,
that led to Israel's state- ous denunciation of the heathens many
the autobiography of great magni- h ments,
e fried,- who later repaid rne.
ood.
other
notables-
of
man
tude
published by Random House For example: people have been who had destroyed Jacob through- l ands and many occupa tions. y Gottfried was_very close to
father and—Considering the ,•
and already circulated in a He- puzzled by the sudden enmity that out the ages: "Shphoch chamo.
the stories in these experience s vironment he, came frorn—pecull ,
brew edition in _Israel and in a drew Dorothy Thompson away scho; pour forth Thy wrath_ upon are Exemplary
he tells in his hi o- ly Jewish-He showed great
the heathens, who knew Thee
British edition published by Weld- from Jews
and
into what was believed
graphy about Max Reinhardt wh
enfeld and Nicolson. to be
anti-Semitic ranks. Meyer is nat.' When Weizmann came to the became his dear friend in spite o standing for -- our -problems
Naturally, the Weisgal story — charitable to Dorothy. He believes spot where this- should have been, of the failure of the theatrica The Eternal Road and helped .
th
plans both had for "The Eterna 1 innumerable fillies in solving
"So Far” because there is no stop- that bad judgement on the part of he insisted on finding an authentic
copy and reading it out. After a Road." Weisgal relates:
1 of them. His brother Wo
considerable to do, Shirley pro-
also in Films, was another, k
duced one from among her father's "Reinhardt arrived in New York of fish, He was rather remote
- wine-s
wine-stained 'hymnals,' and Weir.- during the 10 Penitential Days be - -cold and reserved. He rarely
Boris Smolar's
mann, as it were; restored the pas- tween Rosh Hashana and Yom an interest in 'What was going
sage—which he knew by heart Kippur. One of his first requests at the Hammerstein -Opera Ho
anyway. Greatly puzzled by this to me was: 'kb moechte Yerspeh.
he once
proceduie, Dorothy asked: 'Chaim, nungstag in die Synagoge gehen.' th
Strar-be-,f
elYanked
ed
Kiatiur
what is this all about?' Very care- Versoehnungstag was not yet in my whether In the - interests
of..
fully he translated it, - saying: German vocabulary, but since Rosh girth or his scull never' was
a
'This is for you, my dear.' In the Hashana was- over I figured out to discover. To
me he seemed-
Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, JTA
light
of
what
was
to
happen
to
that
it
meant
Yam
Kippur.
Ac-
_
complete
gmr.
.
_
(commit/it 1972, JTA Inc.)
- -
Dorothy later, his words were cordingly, I took him to Stephen
"One day in September, 1967;.
JEWISH MYSTICISM: Never before has the interest in Hasidism prophetic." Wise's Free Synagogue in Carnegie
and other forms of Jewish
was
sitting
in
the
house
in
Reho
Such incidents are recorded by Hall. Wise put on a magnificent
mysticism
so great among Jews in
this country as it is today. Never
before been
,
, oratory and dictating these memoirs. Isra
have so many books on this the dozen in the Weisgal story. Performance—music
Some of the revelations throw even some prayers. He 'was per- had recently -emerged from
subject been published in this country as during the last few years.
light- on _misunderstandings that haps the most dramatic American Six-Day War and the inunda
The interest is growing especially among large segments
of the had developed about personalities, orator of his time, and at his best of- Jeivs - for the Holidays and
university community. Some of the Jewish students -display a ques
t
non-Jews
who were drawn into overwhelming. As we left the syna- 50th anniversary of the B
for spiritual certainties that seemingly cannot be met by our main
- Zionist activities, rabbis and lay. gogue, Reinhardt turned to me and Declaration was about to set
stream theology and interpretations.
and the Institute were s
Hillel Foundations report this development from various universities men. said: 'Herr Weisgal (whenever be Rehovot
There was some concern many called me this I knew something tranquil; all one heard was
and seek to deal with it. In a number of universities, the Hillel Foun- years ago about the. reversal in was wrong), ich wollte in clue clatter of workmen -behind
dations are conducting appropriate lectures and discussions, seminars, attitude of another non-Jew, Vin- Synagoge gehen; Theaterspielen house •constructftig a small m
workshops and study groups. They have introduced hasidic music
cent Sheean, who bad gone to kann 'eh hesser als dieser Rabblner- sion for Isaac Wolfson — ha
and week-ends.
Palestine
It —I wanted to go to a synagogue, ground music. I - had just be
is
good on a Zionist mission.
At Princeton University, for instance, lectures were held on "The
that Weisgal is able to when it comes to theater I can to draft the chapter on Reich
Messianic Element . in Early Hasidim" and ort "Hasidic
clarify the occurrence, as he did, do better than this Rabbi.' For and I had fallen into a nostal
At Arizona, a course is offered in "Jewish Mysticism and Mysticism." " th
mood.
us:
-
Simcbas Torah, therejoici ng
Hasidism.
"The doorbell rang and Y
At I , • p esented an Encounter with Mystical Judaism,"
"A young Irish newspaperman, the law, I took him to an hasidic
which included community meals and singing. At
Shale,
my
major
domo, priva
Sheean
had
a
wide
audience.
He
situ!
on
the
Lower
East
Side.
It
the University of
Illinois, a program was presented
was attracted by the idea of a only oceuFfed to me later that nurse, chief tactician and so
featuring
"Tales of Hasidic and
th _ ,,,,,,,,.., Reinhardt had not suddenly
Zen Masters." Hasidic programs also
have - been
visit
"
times
cook
—In
short
a `sabr
t_
Palestine;
_
sponsored by ifillel
sue-
in a number of other universities.
id7o% too, `-iZteresad hi
eumbed to an impulse of piety. He jewel informed me that a yo
e
*
M
lieve it was Dorothy Thompson, wanted to recapture the old-world man wanted to see me. -- T-ade
herself a convert at that time, atmosphere of the synagogue, an -lfghtffing- Irfp;-.; baek----through_
SOULS ON FIRE: The current surge of interest in Jewish mystic-
ism among Jewish-minded students and faculty is being explained by
who introduced him to it. Sheean important element in the pp lay,'!. years and went to greet my
understood that he would be free
ethical motivations of the founders of Hasidism—the Baal Shem Tow,
The Reinbardt story deserves tor. Very young he was, 18 or
Levi Itzhak of Berditchev, Nachman Braziaver and others. Their
to write exactly as he felt, and more than passing reference in and extremely -handsome.
understanding for the poorest of the poor appeals to the social-minded
I was perfectly
certain
that
onr
quoting
Weisgal. For the record, name, he said, *is Tom Reinhardt
Palestine would seduce him,
Jewish academicians and students of today. The ecstasy which the
was the soh -of Wolfgang, Max'
in view of the genius of Reinhardt Ile
hasidic songs and dances have brought . to many thousands of _semi-
And seduced he was, but not by and the inseparateness of his name grandson; he had -come from M '
literate impoverished Jews who had no other joy in their daily life
nieh
to settle in Lsrael, and pia
the Jews. He was taken In band from the history of the theater, it-,
Kitty Annius, the wife is worth utilising
to study biology in Haifa. Thus
reaches the minds of the Jewish-minded academic youth and provokes
o by
f G Mrs.
eorge Ant onin.% the leadi
the
following
their curiosity and interest.
ng from the Weisgal biography:
Max Reinhardt reach the Promis
= _
-
Arab intellectual of the tune, "In 1943 Reinhardt died as the Land."
They read Prof. Martin Buber who has transplanted the hasidic
philosophy and the hasidic legends into the modern world. They read
Whether it is about the Si
and became convinced that the result of an accident while he was
or
the
Abbe
Hillel
Silver
inn
Arabs, not the Jews, were the walking his dog in Fire Island. He
other books on Hasidism that appeared in this country during the
recent years. And they will now, no doubt, welcome a new book
coming force in Palestine. I must was only 70 years old, and sigenee or the Solomon Goldm
record that he returned all the in remarkably good health. His experiences -or the relationshi
which will widen their horizons—"Souls on Fire: Portraits and Legends
money we advanced him be. family insisted on an Orthodox with nearly all the Zionist •
of Hasidic Masters" by the well-known author Elie Wiesel.
cause he refused to - write a sin- Jewish funeral,
and I undertook taries of two generations, Weisg
e is word for us." to arrange it and have it done in is the outspoken exposer of th
LUBAVITCHER HASIDISM: I am often asked: What is the dif-
7'l
dates
back
to
1921,
and
the
good taste. Wanting for my_dead - cliches, the revealer of clay-foo
ference between one school of Hasidism and the other? . . . What reac
is, for instance, the difference between the Lubavitcher Movement as tions that developed then have friend the best of both worlds, I arrogance, the 'narrator of tal
much relevance to a review of went to Stephen Wise, who pre- that will cause some to blush b
and the Satmarer Movement? Both movements now have their world Zin fist
history- and the
headquarters in New York.
sided at a most dignified ceremony will entertain the reader who e
of n on-Jews as the Israel attitudes
situa. —possibly the only Orthodox fu- joys gossip mixed with undeniab h
The difference is a very important one. The Luhavitcher Hasidic
tieAn merits today. neral in his career. Reinhardt was iact, never nail-aggressive himse l
movement which originated in Czarist Russia some 200 years ago, „t„
Weisgal also reveals himself.
nd so Weisgal wrote in his buried in a tallis.
is an outgoing movement. It goes out to the people. The Satmarer h."
was an insult by Namier, h
" - biography about the people
"After the war, a clamor arose there
movement is a closed one based on the' people coming to the rebbe. „'e„ dealt with. He has much to over
the final disposition of his quotes it, and when there w
There is also another difference. The Lubavitcher movement is not
grave
differences with Silver
anti-Israel; in fact it has established a village in, Israel, and one elf the muss about the man who was his body, for which cities competed.-- Ben-Gurion,
he didn't hide thenz
streets- in the Old City in Jerusalem carries the nante of tile Lubavit-_ ho and mentor—Louis Lipsky__ Vienna, Salzburg, Berlin—is they
That's what makes his biograpN
ha u t personalities like Stimarya- did of old for Homer's birth. But
cher movement ("Rehov Chabad"). The Satmarer movement is hau Levin, Nahum Sokolow, Na- Reinhardt had never wanted his --already reviewed_ once in th
fanatically against Israel. It believes that a ,Jewish State can be um Goldmann, Dewey Stone,--
remains returned to Europe; he columns but also - always wo
established only with the -coming of Messiah.
oh, s
turning back to for another re
very many more! wanted to be buried in Palestine, iscences—a
If I were a Hasid, I would probably be a follower of the
0f o course
superb document.
Meyer, the promoter led
the time being his body mixes history and fact with an
Lubavitcher movement which is democratic in spirit. It has attracted c/'. no table pageants, emerges- here rests for
in
a
vault
in
- America. It is dotes. It is Meyer Weisgal . •
as th e impressario. He had ereat- now proposed that he
followers in many countries world over. One can find today many __,
be reinterred
Lubavitcher Hasidim even in the remotest parts of the Soviet Union. th e "Romance of a People" and in Israel on the 100th
who has -gone very far in dir
In Leningrad there is an annex to the Great Synagogue which carries
guild- tonal Zionist and Jewish co
s a :great success, as a page. versary of his birth,
it V41
the name "Lubavitcher Prayer House" even to - this day. ant a nd financially, in Chicago.
1973, and that munal _ schemes . . .but only.
It a theater be established in his far. He'll never rest from activifI
hrough t great response in New
56—Friday, March 10, 1972
name, which will contain a library and willt never be silenced. p.s. j
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS York. He was dissatisfied with the of
his regisseur books, which are,
;f

'Between You
. and Me'

,

;_-_77,..- -



-



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