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March 15, 1974 - Image 56

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1974-03-15

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Recollections of the Leadership and Oratory of Stephen S. Wise

(Concluded from Page 2)
He said that only the day before FDR had made a promise
to him "and he lied to me," Vandenberg said. He added
that he was to see him again about it that morning and
he didn't "because he is such a sick man!" As indicated,
Roosevelt died the following Wednesday.
Apropos that experience, Vandenberg, who accom-
panied me to numerous gatherings of the American Chris-
tian Palestine Committee and kept making friendly pledges
towards Zionism—he was a national co-chairman of the
American Christian Palestine Committee at my request
and on my invitation—with the late Senator Robert
Wagner—was not as warm to us when he became acting
Vice President after Roosevelt's death. He gained that post
as the ranking member of the U. S. Senate which then
had a Republican majority. At the United Nations forma-
tive sessions in San Francisco I met with him and his
major concern was with the Russians. He was not too
enthusiastic about Jewish hopes in Palestine. He was
similarly cooled in his earlier Zionist fervor when I met
with him a bit later in the Vice Presidential_ office in
Washington. Even the relationship with Abba Hillel Silver
—I had introduced the latter to Vandenberg—did not con-
tinue on a scale of hopefulness for Zionism.

An incident eminently worth recording about Rabbi
Wise relates to his defense of the Zionist cause and his
reply to a Columbia University professor who launched

a bitterly antagonistic attack on the Jewish national move-
Dr. Hy S. Pritchett, who was president of the Car-
negie Institute for the Advancement of Teaching, in a
report to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
on his observations in Egypt, Palestine and Greece, pre-
dicted failure for the Zionist movement, in November
Dr. Wise replied to the attack in his sermon at Free
Synagogue services in Carnegie Hall, the -first Sunday in
December of 1926. As members of the public relations
staff of the United Palestine Appeal—this commentator
then was editor of the Palestine Pictorial—we prepared
the text of a reply. The late Israel Goldberg (Rufus
Learsi), Nathan Ausubel, David Schwartz and this com-
mentator prepared the text. For some 30 minutes Dr.
Wise went over the text we prepared for him. Then, in
green ink, he erased and inserted, and it became his
speech. It was a masterpiece, indicative of the genius of
the man who was both a literary expert as well as one
of the greatest orators of the century.

Dr. Wise once told a story of a visit in Vienna with
Dr. Sigmund Freud, who fathered the psychoanalytical
movement. Freud asked him:
"Dr. Wise, who do you consider the four outstanding
Jews in the world?'
Wise replied: "I would put you and Albert Einstein

as the first two, then Brandeis, then Weizmann."
"How about yourself?," Freud pursued the test.
"But, No, No," Wise said he replied, gesticulating.
"It seems to me, you protest too much," Freud com-
Laughing as he related this story, Wise said: "That's
how I was a given a free psychoanalysis."
There is no limit to the personal elements in a friend-
ship that continued through associations in movements
of mutual interest for more than 25 years. I had worked
closely with Stephen Wise, for a number of years with
James Waterman Wise had known and had been at rum-
erous national functions with Louise Waterman WiF
Justine Wise Polier. They were unforgettable a
tions. We didn't often see eye to eye. Wise was a -i—an-
deisist in 1920; I was a Weizmannist. Both might have
changed with the years. Neither deviated from Zionist
loyalties. We worked together in Washington when our
legislators' help was needed and when my contacts with
members of both houses of Congress were multiple. The
relationship continued through the years.
Now is a time to bless the years of struggle which
ended in triumph for the prophetic. In his way, Stephen
Samuel Wise was a modern prophet. He had faith in his
people's durability. That's the faith we have nourished
and retain to this day. It is the best tribute to a man as
great as S. S. Wise.

Turning Back Pages of History: Opening

of Louis Wise Youth Center in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM—The opening of the Louise Waterman Wise Youth
Hostel opposite Mt. Herzl here on March 30, 1954, was marked by im-
pressive ceremonies which were attended by Justine Wise Polier, daughter
of the late Dr. and Mrs. Stephen Wise, and representatives of the Israeli
(The youth center became an American Jewish Congress project
in 1949).
Judge Polier, president of the women-'s division of the American
Jewish Congress, which sponsored the $150,000 structure in memory of
her mother, called the hostel "the symbol of Israel's determination to
build for the future through the lives of our children."
Others who participated were Prime Minister Moshe Sharett, Dr.
Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the Jewish Agency and president of the
World Jewish Congress; Dr. Abraham Granott, president of the Jewish
National Fund; Mayor Kariv of Jerusalem, Speaker of the Knesset Sprin-
zak and Dr. Arieh Tartakower, chairman of the World Jewish Congress'
Israel Executive.
Above, top left, is Louise Wise Hostel; top right is one of the public
rooms; lower left, Judge Polier placing wreath on Herzl's tomb; right,
Judge Polier speaking during ceremonies which were held in the hostel.
Seated are Dr. Goldthann and Prime Minister Sharett.

Educator Sees Midrasha Potential for Reshaping Jewish Identity

(Editor's Note: Deepening in-
terest in adult Jewish education,
as well as expansion of elemen-
tary educational tasks, makes the
accompanying article of special
interest. Dr. Amon has a degree
in history and political science
from the Hebrew University and
a PhD from Claremont Graduate
School in California. He has
taught in the history and philos-
ophy department at the Univer-
sity of Detroit, at the Midrasha
and at Oakland University, where
he teaches Jewish philosophy. A
current article on Judaism and
Liberalism soon will be published
by the Midrasha. Former news
editor of the Israeli daily, Al-
Hamishmar, Dr. Anon is a former
Palmah member who served in
the Israeli wars of 1948, 1956 and

Our children are sent to
school with many expecta-
tions. We want them to be
prepared for their future
liVes, but we also expect
them to represent us in that
We ,hope for them to be-
come "better" representa-
tives of the "good" within
ourselves. We expect them to
confront the unknown future
with the maximum security
that the known past can pro-

56—Friday, March 15, 1974

We assume that our cul-
tural and spiritual heritage
will continue to live in our

As Jews, we possess a
unique tradition and culture.
Only many of us no longer
live according to this cul-
ture. Beginning around the
19th Century, and certainly
in evidence today, the ma-
jority of us have directed
our efforts toward adopting
the culture of our adopted

Unlike our ancestors who
struggled for 2,500 years to
preserve their way of life
amidst prevailing foreign
civilizations, we "normal-
ized" our behavioral code.
Our Jewish heritage couches
on the fringes of our daily
lives, not really an essential
pattern for our behavior. We
"modern" Jews still call our-
selves "Jewish" but this fact
could hardly be recognized
without the name.

While identifying ourselves
with society's norms we
definitely have an identity
problem as vicarious Jews,


vicarious because so many
of us are not aware of the
Judaism we are supposed to
We send our children to
Jewish day schools, after-
noon Hebrew schools and
Sunday school clases expect-
ing them to study a culture
and tradition which is for-
eign to our life-style.
We send them to these
Jewish classes out of the
realization that if they as-
similate any further, they
will be lost to the Jewish
nation — which might ulti-
mately dissipate if the as-
similation patterns continue.
But do we really know what
type of representation we
want from them?
Let's first admit to this
problem, and then to a series
of others.
What are our objectives?
How can we expect our chil-
dren to show evidence of
something which we don't
represent? How can we con-
vince them of its relevance
in their lives?
The answers to these ques-
tions are sufficient to under-
stand the resentment that so

many of our children feel
toward religious school
classes. We demand and
coerce them to attend these
classes, without supporting
their learning in the way we
live at home. They learn to
resent Judaism before they
even understand it.
If we assume that the role
of the school is to transmit
our culture to the next gen-
eration, we must agree on
the heritage we want to
transmit. When such agree-
ment has not been achieved,
we must concentrate our ef-
forts on education of the
adult generation.
The answer lies in adult
education. Many groups in
Detroit already have recog-
nized this need and meet
regularly in private homes
to study the Bible, the Tal-
mud, and related Jewish
subjects. However, these
scanty beginnings do not
reach enough of the adult
Jewish population. A prob-
lem must be recognized be-
fore it can be solved! Adults
must study their religion and
strive for mutual understand-
ing of Jewish practices in
modern life.

The first step is accept-
ance of Judaism into adult
lives, then the continuance of
these practices by the Jewish
schools. Examples set in the
home should be reinforced
in the religious school.
Individual attendance at a
lecture does not suffice. Dis-
cussion groups should in-
volve scholars and laymen in
mutual discussion. This focus
could present the problems
and add scholarly dimen-
sions to the discussions.
The Midrasha potentially
could serve to educate adults
in the greater Detroit area,
yet, most people are not
aware of the existence of the
Midrasha and its potential
for service to the Jewish
The Midrasha currently
functions to provide Hebrew
teaching certification to the
graduates of the United
Hebrew Schools. Yet, for
practical reasons, many of
the graduates of the United
Hebrew Schools attend out-
of-state colleges for their un-
dergraduate degrees. There-
fore, the Midrasha loses
many potential students.
Those graduates who re-

turn to this area to settle
down and raise families may
rediscover their Jewishness
and their need for the Mid-
The parents of the United
Hebrew students are also
another potential source for
the Midrasha.
All Jews should think
about reshaping their livek,
in terms of their
identity. The Midrashis
its scholarly potential
easily be turned into a center
which will inaugurate Jewish
thought and help to reshape
the Jewish identity of our
Working jointly with the
already established study
programs in area temples
and synagogues, the Mid-
rasha could and should ex-
pand the perspectives of
problems raising in those
study groups.
We must be aware of the
fact that confusion about the
meaning of Jewish life in
our time reigns among adults
and not among the children.
If the adults are perplexed,
we have to redirect our edu-
cational effort towards there,
and their world.


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