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May 25, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1973-05-25

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Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with issue of July 20, 1951

Member American Association of English-Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press Association, National Editorial Agieoelia.
tion. Published every Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co., 17515 W. Nine Mile, Suite 865, Southfield, Mich. 48076.
Second-Class Postage Paid at Southfield, Michigan and Additional Mailing Offices. Subscription $8 a year. Foreign $9


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Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the 24th day of Iyar, 5733, the following scriptural selections will
be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Levit 26:3-27:34. Prophetical portion, Jeremiah 16:19-17:14.
Rosh Hodesh Sivan Torah reading Friday, June 1, Num. 28:1-15.
Candle lighting Friday, May 25, 8:37 p.m.
May 25, 1973
Page Four
LXIII. No. 11

Social Cancers Jewish Disengagements

Social cancers are poisoning the Amer-
ican system, and in the process the tradi-
tionally liberal Jewish community has been
infected with the viruses. Rabbi David Polish
who heads the Reform rabbinate, the Central
Conference of American Rabbis, is indignant
over the "disengagements," and his thesis
is correct: Jews must "not acquiesce in this
country's corruption 'as it sickens, weakens
and languishes amid its power and wealth.' "
True, Dr. Polish did take into account
the quota system, and the causes that have
brought about the present tragic situation.
Yet, it is necessary to take into account situ-
ations which have led to racism, to resent-
ments, to the about-face in Jewish political
We have a racism in reverse in the new
quota system that keeps young Jews out of the
professional schools. There is a new "numer-
us clausus" in the process affecting academics
who are highly qualified but are unable to
get placements on college faculties. Jewish
merchants have been ruined in the process of
integration. There is insecurity in large cities.
These are factors that have caused the
bitterness that leads to "disengagement,"
with the result that a measure of illiberalism
has set it.
It was a natural reaction to the experience
of the last political campaign that the Reform
Jewish leader should have concerned him-
self with Jews who utilized American support
or Israel as means of excoriating such in-
volvements. It was our position during the
presidential election that Israelis must keep
out of our politics and that the Israeli issue
should not be injected into the debates. But
it has not been unnormal for politicians to
capitalize on Jewish issues, on interests in-
volving nationality, racial and other groups
in this country; and we are not an exception.
Besides, it would be an exaggeration to
say that Jewish communities have in their
entirety yielded to disengagements. The fact

that all national Jewish organizations have
united in support of busing and in opposition
to congressional anti-busing amendments is
an indication that liberalism has not ended,
that there is a sense of responsibility in our
ranks and that it must be nourished.
What Rabbi Polish has done with his
expression of concern is to stimulate further
nourishment to Jewish liberal thought. There
is no room for racism in our ranks, and our
dedication to the highest traditions of justice
must not be denigrated under any circum-
What concerns us in Dr. Polish's dis-
tressing approach to issues that also involve
Israel is that the Zionist role and the pro-
tection of Israel's status should not be
dragged into avenues of suspicion. We are
again experiencing attacks upon the Jewish
national movement from bigoted groups,
from those who had been in the New Left
and who follow a Communist line—some of
them themselves Jews who do not recognize
the dangers that stem from the. ranks that
are steeped in Kremlinism.
There was evidence of it in the Jewish-
penned article attacking Israel in the Detroit
campus periodical which has already estab-
lished itself during the past year among the
anti-Semitic organs in the country. We have
trouble enough with deluded young Jews who
are resorting to the vilest sort of misrepre-
sentations vis-a-vis Israel. We need not feed
them with additional ammunition for attack
upon an embattled people in need of all the
encouragement we can give that nation.
Liberalism can stand on its own feet. It
its rooted in our ranks. It is suffering in
large measure from the agencies of our
country and the victimization of Jews. It is
well to re-establsh the dedication to highest
goals of humanitarianism. With positive ap-
proaches we can rebuild the bridges. That's
an aim not to be minimized.

Our Youth and the Elders' Inspiration

A study conducted by the University of
Michigan Institute for Social Research should
encourage parents never to despair about
their children. The research conducted by
the U-M experts shows that less than 2 per
cent of high school students use heavy drugs,
and the less than 6 per cent who had tried
marijuana had given up the habit.
This should inspire parents to have great-
er confidence in the self-control of their chil-
dren and in their good sense.
Nevertheless, the study should not aban-
don the concern that had been expressed orig-
inally that it is the example of the home,
where excessive drink was in evidence, that
caused the youth to follow the example of
This experience of recent years, while it
is in the extreme, may be utilized as an ap-
plication to other factors in parent influence
on the child. It is of special concern in the
anxieties so often expressed over interrup-
tion of Jewish studies by our youth once
they have reached the bar and bat mitzva
ages and their confirmations and consecra-
Are parents aware of this serious prob-
As a problem, the shortcoming often be-
comes apparent also in the post-elementary
stages of our youth. While the Jewish stud-
ies programs in our univerrsities have ex-
panded tremendously, those who enroll in
_ timn still represent ,the- wall minority., :The

few hundred who have enrolled for such
studies at the University of Michigan, for
example, are a much larger group than had
ever before enrolled in the study of Jewish
subjects. But they still are the very minute
element of dedicated young men and women
who are anxious to play an important role
in our people's cultural activities.
But what about our high schools, whose
students are still so close to the home ties?
Why weren't the secondary school students
influenced to pursue their Jewish studies?
Why aren't the Hebrew classes in our South-
field and Oak Park high schools filled to
The cooperation from the principals and
heads of departments in these schools has
been so wholehearted that it was to be ex-
pected that there would be a clamoring for
admission to these classes. But the number
of enrollees is small, it is not increasing, and
there is a measure of disappoinment in the
lack of response to such wonderful oppor-
tunities that had been provided in our public
school systems for prospective students of the
Hebrew language.
It is not too late for homes to adopt new
attitudes that should lead to the encourage-
ment of youth in their Jewish studies. The
schools are ready to cooperate: the Jewish
community should respond properly. This is
not a mere opportunity: it is a serious obli-

Yiddish Works Translated

JPS Issues Zinberg's Classic
Literary History in 2 Volumes

"A History of Jewish Literature" in two volumes, by _Israel Zinberg
(1873-1938), translated from the Yiddish by Bernard Martin, is the
newest of the classics that have enriched the works issued by the
Jewish Publication Society of America.
The first volume deals with the Arabic-Spanish period, the second
with French and German Jewry in the early Middle Ages and the
Jewish community of medieval Italy.
The author, a Russian Jewish scholar, was a chemical engineer
who devoted more than 20 years to research in the Leningrad libraries.
His Yiddish history first appeared in eight volumes in Vilna, in the
years 1929-1937, the final volume appearing a year before his death
Dr. Martin, the translator and editor of these studies, holds the Case
Western University Abba Hillel Silver Professorship of Jewish Studies
and is chairman of the department of religion at Case Western Reserve.
In his introductory essay, Prof. Martin includes a biographical
account of Zinberg's life, and he points out that the author, "em-
ployed all day long in his engineering work at the factory, could
devote only weekends, evenings and occasional holidays to study
and research in the extensive Judaica collections of several of the
great libraries of Leningrad." He explains that, having been cut
off from direct personal contacts with other Jewish scholars, "his
anguished feeling that the Jewish world he had known and loved
was dying in the soulless atmosphere of the new Soviet order
weighed heavily upon his spirit."
Indicating specific examples in Zinberg's writings, Dr. Martin
states: "For Zinberg ethics is the heart and center of Judaism. This
leads him to focus on the demands for justice and love of fellowman
that are reflected in Jewish literature."
In the volume devoted to the Arabic-SPanish period, Zinberg
started his history with the works of Ibn Shaprut and Ibn Gabirol
and proceeded to outline those of the poet Jehudah Halevi, Maimonides,
the religious philosophy of Saadia Gaon and the literary creations
of Abraham Ibn Ezra.
There is a fascinating chapter on the satirical romances in
Hebrew literature, and another on the epics and fables of the
period under study. The quoted noems and parables reveal the
influence of Jewish cultural standards of that rich period in Jewish-
literary creativity and the extensive bibliographical notes show
to what extent the author had gone to create an informative
background for his collected works.
In the second volume of the new JPS product, Zinberg's writings
commence with Rashi and the Tosafists. Dr. Martin has incur - ted
in the selections he had made the Zinberg writings on Elegy... of
Worms, the Tibbonites, Immanuel of Rome, Kalonymos Bar Kalonymos
and many other poets, commentators, historians and chroniclers of
experiences in the eras under consideration.
The chapter on 'Supplications and Lamentations in the Period
of the Crusades" gives an idea of the extent of this work, of the cover-
age of occurrences during the tragic periods which were recorded in
memorial books and chronicles. In this portion, as a typical example,
the author quoted the paytan of David ben Meshullam, who lived through
the terrors of the First Crusade. In this prayer there is the author's
imploration: "Dost Thou behold this and remain silent, 0 Thou great
and mighty One, Thou God of vengeance?"
Another subject dealt with the "War Against Rationalism," the
debates between the Maimunists and the French rabbis, the thinking
of the anti-Maimunists, the tragedy of Maimonides' works having been
turned over for burning to Catholic clergy. It was the era of mystical
feelings. It was the period before the Renaissance and it marked the
struggle that resulted from Maimonides' "epoch-making slogan 'free-
dom of human thought.' "
The immensity of this two-volume classic adds immeasurably to
the produeiv-0, works f


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