THE JEWISH NEWS
Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with thc issirc Qt . lid!/ 20, 1951
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CARMI M. •SLOMOVITZ
Editor and Publisher
News Editor . . . Heidi
Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the 18th day otAr 5735, the f011owing scriptural selections will be read in our synagogues:
Pentatenchal portion, Dent. 7:12-11:25. Prophetical portion, Isaiah 49:14-51:3.
Candle lighting, Friday, July 25, 8:1-0 p.m.
NOL. L\% II, No. 20
Friday, July 25, 1975
Cultural Exchange Deplorably Ruined
Cultural exchanges between nations have so
much value in cementing the best international
relations that they must be encouraged and
should serve valuably in advancing good will
among peoples. Regrettably, the prejudices that
stem from and have been enacted in the Soviet
Union have served to destroy rather than ad-
vance the most practical and most productive
Two eminent artists, the American operatic
star Beverly Sills and the eminent Israeli pianist
David Bar-Ilan, in a letter to the New York
Times, published on July 13, expressed their
indignation over occurrences which have marred
the cultural exchanges and have disrupted the
good feelings that should exist between the U. S.
and the USSR. They stated in their letter which
appeared under the heading "Preventing the
Purpose of Cultural Exchange":
Two recent instances of censorship in the
United States raise serious questions about
the consequences of American-Soviet cultural
The first episode occurred in Los Angeles
in June. Three separate advertisements were
placed in the Bolshoi Opera program at the
Shrine Auditorium. One, sponsored by the lo-
cal Jewish Federation Council, welcomed the
Bolshoi visit, but pointed out that continued
repressions of Jewish artists in the Soviet
Union were incompatible with the spirit of cul-
The others were commercial: a piece
promoting Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipe-
lago," and an announcement of the appear-
ance of the San Fransico Ballet in Los Angeles
featuring Valery and Galina Panov (who are
not defectors, but legal emigrants). The Bol-
shoi threatened to cancel the company's ap-
pearance unless all three ads were eliminated,
and the auditorium management bowed to his
pressure, and had the three pages of ads torn
out of the program.
The next episode took place in New York.
Here, the Greater New York Conference on So-
viet Jewry sought space for an ad in the Lin-
coln Center playbill. When challenged that an
ad might be considered offensive, the confer-
ence offered to purchase a blank page which
would carry nothing but the signature of the
organization. It was then told no space in the
program was available for the entire three-
week run of the Bolshoi.
The late Sol Hurok used to say that cul-
tural exchange is "good" because it enabled a
Russian ballerina to buy a $15 dress here and
show it to her friends in the Soviet Union.
Many of us have doubted that such exposure to
the material benefits of free enterprise justi-
fies the price, i.e., the respectability which the
Russians felt cultural exchange gave them,
and which carried within it the West's implicit
approval of, or at least tacit indifference to,
continued repressions in the Soviet Union.
Now the Bolshoi incident serves to illustrate
even further how perverted the purpose of cul-
tural exchange can become. Instead of promot-
ing• contact and liberalization, it has made us
acquiesce to censorship. Under conditions like
these, cultural exchange may become not only
useless, but dangerous.
The unfortunate incidents recorded in this
letter point to many regrettable demonstrations
of prejudice and indicate the shocking spread of
stubborn bias that not only disrupts the worthi-
ness of cultural. exchanges but also undermines
the very dignity of human relations in ap-
proaches to international good will.
It is difficult to understand why Commun-
ist Russia, which officially boasts of being the
only form of government that declares anti-
Semitism to be a crime against the state, should
be a leader in fostering anti-Jewish feelings.
The inheritance from Nazism has found
root in the most socialistic of governments. The
proof of the double talk on the part of Russian
officials, who assail anti-Semitism when it
serves the USSR purpose but fail to uproot the
seeds of bigotry became evident in the Commun-
ist trials, the explusion of Jews from major gov-
ernment and academic positions and the sup-
pression of the Yiddish press.
The most shocking example of medievalism
that has negated the most boastful of claims
that Communists reject anti-Semitism became
evident when the Russian government failed to
interfere in the spread of the worst of all bigo-
tries, the charge of ritual murder that had
spread in the Ukraine and undoubtedly to other
portions of the Soviet Union.
The form that Russian prejudice has taken
has spread to many areas. It is affecting Jewish
attitudes. It is poisoning feelings here, as it has
in Russia proper. Added to the restrictions on
emigration of Russian Jews, the bias that has
become evident in the course of sponsorship of
cultural exchanges has disrupted the road to de-
The tragedy is that Americans who should
know better, those who should encourage rather
than hinder cultural exchanges have given com-
fort to the Russian bigotries. Had the American
sponsors of concerts by Russians exercised a
measure of wisdom rather than submit to the
poorest judgments in handling such matters,
the confrontations might have been averted.
Beverly Sills and David Bar-Ilan are serving
the cause of cultural relations among nations in
good fashion by warning against prejudiced and
highhanded handling of programmatic rela-
tions. Their rebuke also is an admonition
against suppression of freedom of expression by
people who differ. Not only cultural exchanges
but freedom of the media are involved in the
warnings of the two distinguished musicians.
Perhaps their admonitions will aid in preventing
the spread of the bigotries that have been
hatched in the Soviet Union.
Israel and the UN
'Herodian Period' Adds
Value to Jewish History
A major Jewish historical and literary task, which commenced
some 15 years ago with the publication of the first volume in the se-
ries, with the publication of the first of the encyclopedic works, "At
the Dawn of Civilization," edited by the late Prof. Ephraim A.
Speiser, reaches new heights with the appearance of the latest addi-
tion to the vast effort which has just been published.
"The Herodian Period" is the title of the new volume in a collective
effort under the general title "The World History of the Jewish Peo-
ple." A debt of gratitude is due the publishers, Rutgers University
Press, for having undertaken this important task.
The plan, thus far proceeding with significantly impressive re-
sults, aims to cover all of Jewish history. The first five volumes
already published are evidence of the progress made and the ex-
tent of the researched labors incorporated in the immense ency-
Dr. Michael Avi-Honah edited "The Herodian Period," with the as-
sistance of Dr. Zvi Baras. A sad note accompanies this accreditation.
Dr. Avi-Yonah, one of Israel's most distinguished scholars, died before
the publication of this work and it serves as a specihl tribute to his
The 424 pages of text, including the extensive annotations, numer-
ous maps and historic photographs of relics from that era, contains a
thorough account of the very exciting Herodian period and the related
Roman role in the shaping of events of that crucial era.
The Roman-Hellenic conflicts, their effects upon the Jews in their
struggles for independence, the temporary triumphs of the Hasmo-
neans and their collapse which soon led to rule by Herod — these are
the introductory factors in the struggles in that embattled field.
In the turbulence of the epoch under review here, historic fig-
ures play great roles. It is the period of Herod the Great, his son
Herod Antipas, Roman emperors, Julius Caesar, John the Baptist,
Jesus Christ. Scores of others historically significant are related
to this era and are in the cast of characters of the volume that
assumes vast importance in historical analyses.
The years covered in this story, 63 BCE to 66 CE, are considered as
the golden period in Jewish history. Yet they were marked by a begin-
ning that was rooted in fratricide, by cruelties that were part of th
royal family's quest for power, and at the same time by Temple-build-
ing and notably constructive achievements.
The excellent relations Herod I, called the Great, had with Rome,
contributed to his successes in Temple construction and the building
of fortresses, cities, citadels, which are now becoming better known as
a result of extensive excavations. It was after the 100-year period un-
der review here that the first Jewish expulsion from Judaea took place
and the Bar Kokhba Revolt against Rome, in 66 CE, ended the epoch
labeled the golden one in Jewish history.
Responsible Americans are actin g promptly
with their warnings that an attempt to expel Is -
rael from the United Nations will not be toler-
The advance admonitions to the Third World,
Arab and Communist delegations at the United
In the work, "The Herodian Period," there is clarification of the
Nations could well be interpreted as a warning long disputed interpretations of the Herodian policies. He had been
to avoid the death knell for the world organiza - labeled a tyrant, a foreign agent who had undermined Jewish
traditions. The new approach in the present volume treats Herod
The hatreds that developed on the banks of as the great creative force, as the builder and as the man who had
the East River in New York have already rele - elevated Jewish standards and practices.
Excavations play their role in the study under discussion and the
gated the international arena into a cesspool of
prejudice. The mere talk of expelling Israel has recent findings, as a result of the many digs, add to the merits of new
created the nausea that may awaken those who historical research and analysis.
by noted scholars, A. Schalit, M. Stern, J. Klausner,
have joined the haters to withdraw from medi - S. Participation
Safrai and H. D. Mantel, in addition to the editors, provide exten-
evalism that has so often turned the hoped - for sive studies on the Masada structure, the social, economic and agricul-
civilized society into a jungle.
tural aspects of the period under discussion.