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December 24, 1976 - Image 25

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1976-12-24

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

JL111141r1 IICY113

Israel Embassy, German-Israel
Society at Odds Over Politics

BONN - (JTA) — At-
tempts are being made to
resolve a dispute that has
surfaced recently bet-
ween the Israeli Embassy
and the German-Israeli
Society (Deutsch-
Israelische Gesellschaft
— DIG), a group or-
ganized to promote better
relations between West
Germany and Israel.
Israeli officials have
accused DIG of meddling
in Israeli politics instead
of furthering social and
cultural links and have
charged the Society's sec-
retary, Rainer Bernstein,
with pro-Arab bias.
DIG supporters re-
jected what they call the
"misinterpretation" of its
functions and say it was
not organized to carry out
"uncritical public rela-
tions work" for Israel.
Israeli Ambassador
Yohanan Moroz met with
DIG president Heinz
Westphal last month to try
to settle the issue. Em-
bassy sources said the
meeting was "open and ob-
jective" but inconclusive.
A second meeting between
the Embassy and DIG offi-
cials is scheduled for next

DIG, which was formed
10 years ago, claims about
2,000 members, including
100 Bundestag deputies
and several Cabinet
ministers. Israeli officials
have been unhappy with
its activities of late.
They noted that in Oc-
tober, Bernstein took a
group of West Berlin
teachers to Israel with-
out consulting the Em-
bassy as is the usual prac-
In Israel, a trade union
body known as "Experi-
ment" arranged for the
group to meet the Com-
munist Mayor of
Nazareth, Seif Luabi. As
a result, the Israeli
Foreign Ministry called
off a planned reception
for the teachers.
Later, Meroz boycotted
DIG's annual meeting al- --
legedly because one of the
invited speakers was
Prof. Emeritus Ernst
Simon of the Hebrew
University. Simon is a
member of the "Buber
Circle," a group of Israeli
intellectuals who advo-
cate that Israel reach an
accommodation with the

A New Census Counts 28,000 Falashim

A new census taken
under difficult conditions
in war-torn Ethiopia,
shows the population of
the black Ethiopian
Falasha Jews to be over
28,000. Previously, au-
thorities thought the
remnant population of
this ancient Jewish group
had dwindled to 20,000.
The new figures were
announced at a special
session of the American

Most are either land-
less sharecroppers or
poor craftsmen.
The report revealed
that over half of the popu-
lation is 18 years old or
younger. There are 6,000
families, mostly living in
488 villages and two
towns in the central high-
lands within the pro-
vinces of Begemdir,
Tigre, and Wollo.
Today in Israel there

These family reunifica-
tion efforts are part of a
new four-point program on
relief, Jewish education,
vocational retraining and
aliya recently undertaken
by the Joint Distribution
Committee, the Organiza-
tion for Rehabilitation
Through Training, which
concentrates solely on the
first thre progra ms
within Ethiopia. The As-
sociation is CO ncerned
with aliya.
For information about

The exploitation of au-
tomated diamond equip-
ment in Israeli factories
has gone far beyond the
introductory stage. It is
estimated that more than
80% of diamond factories
there are now using some
kind of new mechanized
equipment and systems,
well ahead of any other
cutting center in the
switch to automation.

vidual calls the JBS, and
the JBS makes the ar-
rangements with a fun-
eral director.
A JBS memorial service
may be held in a
synagogue sanctuary, at
graveside, in the cemet-
ery chapel or at a non-
sectarian funeral home.
When the service is con-
ducted in a synagogue,
the synagogue receives a
$150 memorial contribu-
tion from the JBS.
"One of our goals is to
encourage a return to the
familiar warmth of the
sanctuary at the end of
the life cycle," says
Many rabbis are of the
opinion that the sanctuary
should be reserved for the
memorial services of dis-
tinguished congregants
Year-end profits of the
JBS are distributed to
various Jewish educa-
tional programs.
The JBS requires no
advance membership.
Though it arranges only
traditional funerals, its
services are available to
all Jews, whether or not
they are affiliated with a
"There is a clear need to
restore the dignity that is
inherent in the tradi-
tional Jewish approach,"
says Ira -Silverman, di-
rector of the Institute for
Jewish Policy Planning
and Research of the
Synagogue Council of
America, in Washington,
The Institute recently
conducted a study of the
current state of Jewish
funeral practice nation-
wide and lauded the
Chicago Jewish Burial
Society as a "promising

the Ame/ican Ai-ssocia-
tion for Ethiopian Jews,
write to Dr."GraOurn Be-
rger, 340 CorlieS'Avenue,
Pelham, N. Y. 10803 ; or
Dr. Howard M. Lenhoff,
304 Robin Hood Lane,
Costa Mesa, Ca. 92627.

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Chicago Group Arranges
Low-Cost Jewish Funerals

Chicago-based Jewish
Burial Society (JBS), a
consumer union with
multiple religious, educa-
tional and benevolent go-
als, arranges traditional
funerals for $795, exclu-
sive of cemetery costs, as
opposed to the average
price of $2,500.
Unlike non-sectarian
memorial associations
that enable their mem-
bers to obtain funerals at
near-cost prices, the
non-profit JBS generates
a surplus which it then
funnels into the
synagogues and Jewish
educational programs.
"Our purpose is not to
save people every possi-
ble dime," says Gary
Siegel, professor of ac-
counting and manxage-
ment at Illinois Institute
of Technology, and presi-
dent and co-founder of
the JBS. "We want to be a
positive, • regenerative
wing of the community."
What distinguishes a
JBS funeral from a com-
mercial funeral is the use
of wood caskets exclu-
sively, covered with a vel-
vet pall. Embalming is not
encouraged, and there is
no open viewing. Tahara,
ritual washing of the body,
is available.
The bereaved indi-

MUClyi VeCeMIDer


A Falasha mother and her child in Ethiopia.

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Falasha wedding in Israel.

Association for Ethiopian
Jews held at the General
Assembly of the Council
of Jewish Federations
and Welfare Funds in
Philadelphia last month.
Nonetheless, disease,
poverty, discrimination
and intense conversion
efforts by Christian mis-
sionaries are still taking
their toll.
In the 16th Century the
Falashas numbered half a
million. Their census
dwindled to 250,000 in the
19th Century and 150,000
in the early 1900s.

are 400 Falashas. All are
successfully employed.
Some are attending uni-
versities and a few are
studying for the rabbi-
nate. All adults serve in
the army.
Unfortunately, many of
those in Israel have par-
ents, spouses and chil-
dren living in Ethiopia
and waiting to join their
relatives. One of the
major goals of the Ameri-
can Association for
Ethiopian Jews is to reun-
ite members of these bro-
ken families in Israel.

In reply to being called
"that Jew from
Louisiana," Judah P.
Benjamin, Secretary of
State of the Confederacy
replied: "When my ances-

tors were receiving the
Ten Commandments at
Sinai, my opponents an-
cestors were herding
swine in the forests of
Great Britain."


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