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February 08, 1974 - Image 46

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1974-02-08

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


46—Friday, February 8, 1974


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Hasidic Stories

Rabbi Noah Lekhivitzer
(died 1833) said: "Man is of-
ten called a small world.
This title is to be explained
as follows: If a man is small
in his own eyes, he is in-
deed a world.' But if a man
is a world in his own eyes,
then he is indeed small."
He also said: "To worry is
a sin. Only one sort of worry
is permissible: to worry be-
cause one worries."
Rabbi Leib Dimimles of
Lantzut (died 1834) was a
wealthy merchant, and very
learned in the Torah. It hap-
pened that he lost his me-
mory and was reduced to
poverty. Rabbi Leib paid no
heed. to this calamity and
continued his studies. His
wife inquired: "How is it
possible for you not to show
the least anxiety?"

The Rabbi answered: "The
Lord gave me a brain which
thinks rapidly. The worrying
which another would do in
a year, I have done in a
Rabbi Mordecai of Tzerno-
bil (died 1837) said: "If you
wish to acquire the habit of
truthfulness. make it a point
when you catch yourself tell-
ing a falsehood to say un-
'ashamedly: 'I have just been
guilty of a lie.' In this man-
ner you will speedily disci-
pline your tongue."

Americans Submissions to Fascist
Ideologies Decried in Diggins

An avalanche of books ex-
posing the Holocaust and Nazi
cruelties keeps reminding
mankind of the horrors and
the mass murders. The role
of Benito Mussolini did not
receive sufficient attention
until the publication of the
thorough review of Italy's
role in World War II by Prof.
John P. Diggins of the de-
partment of history of the
University of California at
In "Mussolini and Fascism:
The View From America, -
published by Princeton Uni-
versity Press, Diggins gives
a full account of American
reactions to Fascism in the
entire era of Mussolini's rule,
the attitude of the Catholic
Church, the Jewish position,
the affirmations of friendship
for Jews by Mussolini before
he became the tool of Adolf
For an understanding of
the American Italians' atti-
tudes, which also related to
Jewish responses, to attitudes
of national magazines and
government leaders, it is his-
torically valuable to have the
earliest view of Mussolini
vis-a-vis Hitler. In the early
1930s, Diggins states, "the
immediate effect of Hitler on
Mussolini's image was am-
bivalent . . . At first his ap-
pearance created the alarm-
ing impression in some cir-
cles that Der Fuehrer was
Mussolini's diabolical disciple
— an argument harped upon
by Fascism's enemies both
here and abroad. Il Duce
tried to deny the damaging
analogy. He reassured Ital-
ian-Americans that Italy did
not depend upon Germany;
told Anne O'Hare McCorm-
ick (of the New York Times)
that Nazism was not an 'off-
shoot' of Fascism; informed
American-Jewish leaders
that under his regime Italian
Jews enjoyed complete free-
dom and the respect of their
countrymen; and insisted to
Emil Ludwig that Italy had
no 'Jewish problem.' . . . One
measure of Mussolini's suc-
cess in separating himself
and his regime from Hitler
and Nazism. may be seen in
the fact that in 1933 Ameri-
can Jewish publishers se-
lected him as one of the
world's 12 'greatest Christ-
ian champions' of the Jews."
Mussolini was able to pa-
rade as t h e enlightened
statesman w h o countered
Hitler's aggressive designs.
Watchful Americans, Diggins
reminds his readers, were
confused by the impetuous
warmongering of Mussolini,
as "a Nazi sympathizer and
a foil to Hitler . . . " But
soon there developed the
Italian-American anti-Fascist
resistance. There were the
related anti-Semitic trends,
the era of Father Coughlin's
discriminatory attacks on
Jews, the differing views be-
tween Joseph Kennedy and
his son John F. Kennedy —
the latter, having support-
ed the Spanish Republic,
advocating "collective secur-
ity against Fascist aggres-
It is interesting to note
Diggins' explanation that in
those early years "in the
Jewish community opposition
to Fascism sprang mainly
from labor unions." He re-
calls that "Bnai Brith Maga-
z i n e , surveying European
Fascist movements in 1934,

reassured its readers that no
anti-Semitism existed within
the borders of Italy. It will
be remembered that Musso-
lini repeatedly denied to
Americans that Italy had a
`Jewish problem.' " Diggins
also asserts:
"At this point it is enough
to state that during the
'20s neither Protestant-
ism nor Judaism proved to
be a spiritual sentinel against
the vogue of Italian Fascism,
while Catholicism demon-
strated that an elastic apol-
ogia would accommodate both
religiosity and reaction."
A propaganda campaign to
silence anti-Fascist senti-
ments was conducted from
the Italian Mussolini quarters
which aimed to retain Amer-
ican friendships. Then the
Ethiopian crisis arose. Dig-
gins points out: "The con-
science of American Jewry,
racked more by German anti-
Semitism than liberal neu-
tralism, tended to support
Ethiopia as the victim of ag-
gression." The role of Fa-
lasha—black Jews in Ethio-
pia — is taken into account
but there is this added note
about the attitudes of that
time: "In 1935 Jews through-



out the world were sickened
by the sight of Hitler's po-
groms. Since many German-
Jewish refugees were finding
asylum in Italy, American
Jews were in no position to
attack the Mussolini govern-
ment which thus far had
scorned Hitler's anti-Semitic
Then came the changing
trend, to quote Diggins:
"Officially the anti-Semitic
campaign began on July 14,
1938, with the publication of
the fabricated Carta della
Razza. To most watchful
Americans t h e publication
came as a stunning shock.
That the cancer of anti-Sem-
itism could afflict the people
of Italy seemed incredible to
those who had always pointed
to the absence of racism in
Italy as the saving remnant
of Italian Fascism. Thus the
announcement of a 'scientific'
racial policy had an air of
unreality. Moreover the de-
crees, which would involve
the deportation of thousands
of Italian Jews, confiscation
of property, and exclusion
from government and profes-
sional occupations, did not go
into effect immediately (and
when they did many meas-
ures were either ignored or
sabotaged by the Italians
th emselves ). Consequently
America did not react as
hostilely as in the case of the
German pogrom. Nor did the
Jews. The journalist Martin

Jewish solidarity. But even
then there were sympathiz-
ers. Anne O'Hare McCormick
of the New York Times
sought to play down the im-
portance of racial documents
published in Italy. Diggins
makes the point that "Miss
McCormick's strange argu-
ment •that Italy could not he
rang hollow . . . Indeed anti-
Semitism was a major part
of a vicious anti-American
campaign formally launched
in 1938."
At this point, too. Coughlin
is quoted as having spread
his views on "Jewish demo-
cratic propaganda," a n d
noted Americans, Jews and
non-Jews, were the targets

Agronsky reported from
Rome that even Italian Jew-
ish leaders assured him Mus-
solini's adopted racial policy
amounted to nothing more
than 'diplomatic expediency.'
But Agronsky, perhaps with
the Nazi experience in mind,
was appalled when six months
later world opinion still ap-
peared indifferent: " 0 n e
wonders at the capacity for
understatement of the foreign
press which even today writes
about Mussolini's "mild
anti-Semitic measures."
That's when Catholic
World, New Republic began
to condemn "Italy's cold
war" and Mussolini sought
to nip in the bud Catholic-

0 .■ .11 ••••t,AMIN,

0 ANEW INIMO ■ 1111•1•11. 41 ■ IIMM•IMI.1 ■ •••• 0

1 MINIIINPOIM 114111.1 1■

.11••• ■ •■■


'Between You
. . and Me'

Boris Smolar's

Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, JTA
(Copyright 1974, JTA Inc.)

Something new and impres-
sive has been added by the
American Jewish Committee
in its attempt to strengthen
Jewish identity and Jewish
education. It is the establish-
ment of credit - giving cor-
respondence courses for home
study in Jewish history, cul-
ture and tradition.
The courses are of par-
ticular value to Jews living
in small towns, remote from
Jewish centers and isolated
from the mainstream of •ew-
ish life. Here they will have
a chance to receive a sys-
tematic Jewish education on
many subjects in their free
time while sitting at home.
MENT: Adult Jewish educa-
tion is not new in the United
States. There are numerous
groups — like Bnai Brith and
synagogue groups—that con-
duct courses in adult educa-
tion. Their activities in this
field are, however, limited.
They lack proper education
material for their courses.
They attract little attention.
The new established
academy, through its Aca-
demic Advisory Council —
which is composed of about
50 foremost Jewish scholars
and educators in this country
— will develop the curricu-
lum necessary for systematic
study of Jewish subjects.
The academy will also de-
velop the proper texts. In
this respect, the Academy
will be of great importance
for any of the groups in the
United States interested in
promoting adult Jewish edu-
Leaders of the academy
foresee that among those en-
rolled for its correspondence
courses will also be students
from European countries
where Jewish knowledge is
now sought by Jews exposed
to assimilation. There are
also numerous Jews in Latin
American countries who will


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* New Freedom Shares

seek to strengthen their
knowledge of Jewish history
and culture by enrolling in
the correspondence courses.

The innovation may turn
turn out to be the greatest
contribution in the field of
Jewish education for youth
estranged from Jewish
knowledge as well as for
adults who never received
proper Jewish education.

In this time, when so much
is spoken about the need to
combat assimilation by im-
planting -stronger feelings
among Jews about their own
spiritual values, the Ameri-
can Jewish Committee has
made an important step in
the right direction. However.
much is yet to be done in
the field of Jewish education
for children and for college
youth — a function upon
which concentration is need-
ed now more than ever be-
fore by the entire Jewish

of the anti-Semites and the
Ineffective Vatican efforts
to intercede for Jews are re-
viewed in this volume and
the role of the Franklin
Roosevelt administration is
defined as one of an "abyss
of incomprehension."
While Italian Fascists' re-
sort to anti-Semitism is fully
exposed here, it is the
American-Italian relations in
World War II that receives
special consideration in t!
immense work by Diggin..,.
There is a saddening note in
the author's comment that
"only for a few Americans
did the meaning of Fascism
remain in the deeper recesses
of conscience. The great
majority of robust citizens
came out of World War II
with little or no understand-
ing of its history or ide-
ology." The author concludes:
"From their experience
with Italian Fascism most
Americans learned nothing
and forgot nothing. Ameri-
cans tended to externalize
the problem, to regard Fas-
cism as Europe's peculiar
institution and thereby deny
what many emigres believed
was its universal significance.
Yet if we regard Fascism as
a state of mind and not
merely as an authoritarian
state, as an attitude and men-
tality as well as an institution
and ideology, the problem
remains as much America's
as Europe's. That 'it can't
happen here' may seem a
reassuring historical judg-
ment. But it is a political
truth that can easily become
a moral lie. Politically man
is what he does, morally he
is what he thinks. Between
the idea and the deed lurks
the condition of mind and
heart. Perhaps this study of
America's admiration f o r
Mussolini's Italy may help us
analyze the fascism within
The lesson in Diggins'
book thus is very clear and
concise. The vigilant must
never falter. Many often do.
— P. S.

Advise Me .

To help answer questions of a personal nature we have
called upon counselors from the Jewish Family and Chil-
dren's Service. Other resources will be called upon as prob-
lems arise in other areas. Address confidential queries to
"Advise Me," care of The Jewish News, 17515 W. Nine Mile,
Southfield 48075.

My 3-year-old son has been
toilet trained for some time,
but since the birth of his
baby brother, he sometimes
wets the bed. He also wants
to nurse from the baby's
bottle. Is this normal?
—Confused Mom
Dear Confused,
Your son is reacting to
the birt....", ,of his baby brother.
He is .4u;...
normal jeal-
ousy rif TO care and atten-
tion -ou afe giving to the
baby. Assure him of your
continuing love and affection.
Involve him when you care
for the baby, and 'be patient.
Once you have assured him
of your love for him and the
importance of being an older
brother, he'll be fine:

0 *

I am 12 years old and can
never use the telephone. My
sister always answers and
talks for hours. When I yell

at her, she makes her friends
call her back after she harre -
up. My mom never ink
her get off for my turn.
Dear Sister,
You don't say how old your
sister is, but what we hear
is how helpless and unfair
you feel about the way you
are treated by your mom
and sister. You used the
word "never" twice, and we
wonder if that means there
are other times when you
feel the situation is unfair.
What have you tried to do
on your own? Can you think
of any way to share the
phone that your sister agrees
with too? Discuss your feel-
ings with your mom; maybe
she isn't aware of how badly
you feel and can do some-
thing to help you feel less
"left out."


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