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June 07, 1974 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1974-06-07

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


Nixon Not First President Who Will Make Trip to Jerusalem


(Copyright 1974, JTA, Inc.)

Kings are nothing new in
Jerusalem. Herzl spoke to
two who visited there, Wil-
helm. of Germany and the
king of Italy. Nixon is not
the first President in Jerus-
alem. Just about a century
back another whose adminis-
tration curiously enough was
also rocked with convulsions
paid a visit there — U. S.
Grant. Three members of
Grant's cabinet, the secre-
taries of the treasury, war
and the attorney general, had
to resign and the vice presi-
dent was not entirely exon-
erated. Grant himself was
not involved. He was regard-
ed as an innocent among the
wolves of finance. Grant had
great respect for men of
wealth—having done so badly
himself at that—and was an
easy prey for any schemer.
The Grant visit, however,
did not come until after the
end of his term—in his re-
tirement—in the course of a
trip around the world. Every-
where as the hero of the
Civil War, more than perhaps
as ex-president, he was ser-
enaded. In Jerusalem, at the
Wailing Wall, a Jew came up
to him tay say toda rabba.
Grant had done a big
mitzva and the Jew wanted
to thank him for it. It was
like this. One day in Wash-
ington, Simon Wolfe, head
of the Bnai Brith, received
a letter from a Jew in Je-
rusalem. His daughter re-
quired help for her dowry,
so she could marry her ha-
san. Would Mr. Wolfe kindly
see "the King of America"
and ask him for the pecuni-
ary assistance required.
Wolfe was amused by the
letter and showed it to
President Grant. "Is he ser-
ious?" asked Grant.
"Very much so," explained
Wolfe, telling the President
all about mitzvas and how
highly regarded = was the
mitzva of helping marry off
a poor girl.
Grant thereupon wrote a
chack for $25, which was
sent to the Jew in Jerusa-
lem. Subsequently, the Pres-
ident received a portrait of
himself — on tapestry—done
by "the Jew in Jerusalem,"
who seemed to possess some
artistic abilities. When Grant
arrived in Jerusalem and
visited the Wailing Wall,
there was the Jew in Jerusa-
lem - to thank
Perhaps while in Jerusa-
lem, President Nixon could
pick up a little Hebrew. At a
dinner at the King David Ho-
tel in Jerusalem, Secretary
of State Henry Kissinger is
reported to have said in He-
brew of the soup, "zeh met-
suyan ma-od (this is very
If Nixon knew and spoke
Hebrew, people wouldn't be
able so easy to bug in on
his tapes. Only rabbis would
understand and they wouldn't
say anything.
Mr. Kissinger is not the
first member of a Presiden-
tial cabinet to speak some
Hebrew. There was one in
the first cabinet—Washing-
ton's. None other than the
great Alexander Hamilton.
Several of Hamilton's bio-
graphers mention his He-
brew speaking. How exten-
sive his knowledge was, we
do not know. One biographer
says he could recite the Ten
Commandments in Hebrew.
Another says that a Jewish

lady school teacher in St.
Croix where he was born
taught him Hebrew.
There was a considerable
Jewish settlement in St.
Croix and Hamilton may have
attended a Jewish school.
Hamilton's mother had first
been married to a Jew named
Levine, with whom she had

Halakha OKs

(Copyright 1974, JTA, Inc.)
An American R ef or m
rabbi, reviewing the applica-
tion of Jewish religious law
to organ transplants, has
cited a rabbinic ruling that
human heart transplants
may not be halakhically
sanctioned until the time
when "the chances for sur-
vival from the surgery are
greater than those for fail-
That ruling was made in
an address to the Congress
on Oral Law in Jerusalem
1968, by Rabbi Isar Yehuda
Unterman, the former Ash-
kenazic chief rabbi of Israel,
according to Rabbi William
B. Silverman of Kansas City.
Rabbi Silverman, who is
chairman of the committee
on religion and medicine of
the American Medical Asso-
ciation, discussed the "agon-
izing dilemmas" which can
confront rabbis in such areas
as organ transplants, as well
as on issues of definition of
death, the right to die and
euthanasia. He reviewed the
problems in a report in the
current issue of the Journal
of the Central Conference of
American Rabbis.
He also cited Rabbi Unter-
man as holding that halakhic
bans against deriving benefit
from the dead, desecrating
the dead and delaying burial
of the dead are all "set
aside" when what is involved
is the question ,of saving a
life (pekhah nefesh).
Dr. Rosner also is cited on
problems arising from the
transplantation of kidneys
from both dead persons and
living donors. For the latter,
there is a halakhic question
of whether a living donor
may subject himself to the
danger, however small, "of
the operative procedure to
remove one of his kidneys to
save the life of another."
Jewish religious law rules
that an individual may not
intentionally wound himself
and, "likewise, one may not
set aside one person's life
for that of another."
Dr. Rosner reported that
the answer is found in sev-
eral sources in nearly iden-
tical language, summarized
in the statement that the
Jerusalem Talmud concludes
that "one is obligated to
place oneself even in a pos-
sibly dangerous situation" to
save the life of another."

Tourist Dip Recorded

ism declined by 12 per cent
during the first five months
of this year compared to the
same period in 1973, govern-
ment statisticians reported.

Celebrity is the chastise-
ment of merit and the pun-
ishment of talent.—Sebastien
R. N. Chamfort.

a son, Peter. Hamilton was
the offspring of a later affair
of his mother with a Scotch-
man, but Hamilton used to
correspond with his Jewish
half-brother, Peter Levine.
James Madison, who was
secretary of state in Jeffer-
son's Cabinet and later suc-
ceeded Jefferson as Presi-
dent also had studied He-
brew at Princeton during the
brief time he contemplated
becoming a preacher.
Abraham Lincoln didn't

Friday, June 7, 1974-11


AlI S Foreign Car Service

know any Hebrew and he was
not religious in any denomi-
national sense, but he knew
the Bible probably better than
any American president. It
helped mold his style and
he quoted from it. At the
time of his assassination,
the newspapers recalled a
conversation not long before
in which he had expressed
the wish after his retirement
of visiting Jerusalem. A city
dear to the man he was
named after.






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