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July 01, 1977 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-07-01

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2 Friday, July 1, 1977

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Purely Commentary

Changing Neighborhoods, Flight from Realities, the
Orthodox Influence That Keeps Home Close to
the Synagogue...Likud's Victory and World Zionism

By Philip
Slomovitz

Oak Park and Southfield: Shaker Heights, Williamsburg, Skokie

A measure of panic has been inflamed over the threat of drastic neighborhood
changes in Southfield. Fear that this wonderful community, with all its blessings for a
population exceeding 80,000, may be facing the fate of Detroit, has resulted in report-
orial studies made in the Shaker Heights community bordering on Cleveland, and it is
being described as the panacea, as setting an example for workable integration, as rep-
resenting a paradise amidst gehennas.
Why only Southfield as a threatened community, why not also Oak Park?
Why only Shaker Heights as a panacea, why not Williamsburg?
The problem is more complicated, more difficult of solution than is suggested by a
dream uncovered in Ohio. There is a need for realism and for admission of basic truths
that may be kept in hiding.
Why isn't the Jewish aspect of Shaker Heights taken into account in the search for
proper integration? Why haven't the investigating reporters considered the Jewish Ortho-
doxy as a factor in integration?
By the same token, why isn't Oak Park as much an object for discussion in the mount-
ing problem as the city of Southfield?
Oak Park may be as problematic as Southfield and only in the most concerned quar-
ters is its future vis-a-vis integration being considered. Are the others taking it for grant-
ed that Oak Park is safe from disruption? And if so, what's the reason?
There is a basic fact that makes Oak Park akin to Shaker Heights. It may well be
that Shaker Heights, with its large proportion of Jewish homeowners, has acquired a
great measure of normalcy that has avoided flight from the established residences be-
cause there are numerous synagogues there, because they are Orthodox and the worship-
pers need homes close to the houses of worship to which they are able to walk without
breaking the Sabbath by riding.
Is this why Oak Park is more secure now, because all of the Orthodox synagogues are
located there and the congregants are able to walk on the Sabbath, their synagogues
being in close proximity to their homes?
This speculative reason may or may not be the realistic background of workability in

Israel's Election Also Affected
the Status of World Zionism

Whatever the shock that resulted from the May 17 elec-
tion in Israel, the effects of it may be even more revolu-
tionary in world Zionist ranks. Hitherto, because of the do-
mination of the Labor Party in Israel, Labor enjoyed do-
minance at World Zionist Congresses. Now that priority
has shifted to the Likud. Menahem Begin not only serves
as his country's prime minister: he has the ruling role in
world Zionism.
This may mean that Joseph Almogi soon will be out both
as chairman of the World Zionist Organization and of the
Jewish Agency. Leon Dulzin may gain the post he aspired
to but could not attain, in spite of the leadership he had
given in both.
Will this also mean a change in lay leadership in the
Jewish Agency, now held by Max M. Fisher and Charlotte
Jacobson? And if so, who will be their successors?
Since change—shinuii—has become a popular term in Is-
rael where change, as that term means, is the order of the
day, it need not be speculative or worrisome: why can't it
bear good fruits?

Prospective Non-Jewish
Travelers to Israel

In recent years, tourists to Israel often numbered a ma-
jority of non-Jews. Of course, it is the Holy Land's attrac-
tion, and it is also unquestionably the progress that was
achieved by Israel in less than 30 years of statehood.
In many instances, the concern shown for ISrael's secu-
rity by Christians has been most heartening. It has served
as a contributing factor towards the U.S.-Israel friendship.
No matter what the problems, or the pressures, or the ob-
structions, the constant emphasis remains: that there is an
American obligation to assure Israel's security.
President Carter's views, which have sounded vacil-
lating in recent declarations, are always followed by the
traditional assurance. This also was the routine followed
by Secretary of State Cyrus Vance.
Especially interesting also are the views of men like
Michigan's Governor William Milliken. Two years ago,
speaking at an Israel Bond dinner, the Governor spoke
with deep conviction about his interest in Israel. Two
weeks ago he delivered a moving address expressing sim-
ilar views, at the dinner of the American Friends of the
Hebrew University. At that time he said in part:
When I was asked to serve as honorary chairman of
the reactivated Michigan branch of the American
Friends of the Hebrew University, I was proud to ac-
cept that post for several reasons.
The first stems from a deep admiration I have for
the nation and the people of Israel. No people on earth
have had to fight harder or remain more vigilant to
achieve and keep their freedom than the people of Is-
rael. Their battle is not just for themselves. It is for
us all. They are on the front line of the struggle for
freedom in this world. Theirs is a noble cause and one
I firmly believe in...
Milliken also announced his desire to visit Israel before
his present term of office expires. That view means very
much to Israel and to American Jewry. Therefore, the
hope that his intention to visit Israel this year will be real-
ized. That is how Christians become more intimately ac-
quainted with Israel in the process of retention of the his-
toric American-Jewish and U.S.-Israel friendship that has
deep roots in history and contributes immensely to the as-
piration for peace in the Middle East.

establishing proper integration, but it should not be ruled out of consideration in judging
the painful issue of neighborhood collapse.
True: the cost of acquiring new homes in remoter areas is basic to the issue. True:
good schools can retain residents' loyalties to their present home districts. But the Or-
thodox influence could be more vital than any other juggling of reasons in situations
that become more aggravated with time.
Had Jewish Orthodoxy been considered seriously, students of integration problems
and changing neighborhoods might have gone to Williamsburg in Brooklyn rather than
to Shaker Heights in Ohio. What is the cause of the Lubavitch community in William-
sburg retaining its identity?
Rabbi Berel Shemtov has been more concerned with the threatening neighborhood
issues than the local newspapers and the community leaders. For several years he has
asked for emulation of the Rebbe's appeal that residents refuse to abandon their homes.
There are dangers to Jews from gangdom in Williamsburg, yet the Jews there-have
tained a solid community. There is no Rebbe here, but the spirit of Orthodoxy probai.
has been more influential in keeping areas intact than any other factor.
Rabbi Shemtov attempted some months ago to inspire consideration of the issue in
Oak Park. The Jewish Community Council, he believes, remains frightened by its fail-
ures to encourage retention of areas by Jews, in Detroit, in the past quarter century.
The Chabad Lubavitcher Oak Park headquarters of Rabbi Shemtov apparently could not
get the proper support for his appeals from the Orthodox Rabbinate. Is it possible that
there is no vision left in Jewish ranks.to deal with so vital an issue and that there is so
, little cooperation?
Whatever the cause of lethargy, this is certain: Every effort must be made to ele-
vate the standards of the school systems, and this applies also to the Jewish schools.
That's a major aspiration to keep existing neighborhoods intact.
Most essential to the issue is the need for people to stop running away from neighbor-
hoods and themselves. Why the flight? Where are you running, ladie.s and gentlemen?
Stay put for a long while!

Leonard Simons as an Able,
Far-Reaching Observer

Leonard N. Simons is known for many attributes. He is
a tested and highly qualified advertising executive. He
tells good stories which he has stored up. for his role as
raconteur at public functions. He is unmatched as a fund-
raiser. And he is a perfect observer when on his 'travels.
no matter where he may be.
Leonard can be depended upo'i to give a travelogile
that's superb. He proved it on hiS return, with wife Harriet
and a group of Wayne State University people, from a less
than two weeks' visit in Red China. His description of the
visit is both thorough and hilarious. He saw the serious
and the humorous.
There is a Yiddish saying: "Er kumt far a veil un seht
far a meil"—"He comes for a while and sees for a mile."
That's Leonard.
The memo he wrote about China could well fit into 'de-
scriptive material about that country. He is a genuine stu-
dent of public affairs and of people and that six-page mem-
orandum proved it.
A few of Simon's notes on his China trip indicate the
trend of his observations: \
When we landed in China, I learned for the first
time how it feels to be part of a triple minority group,
because I was (1) American ( 2 ) white and (3) Jewish.
I guess the thing that made the biggest impression
on me—about China—was the fantastically large
nuber of people I saw. Eleven million people in
Shanghai—with six million in the city alone ..I have
; never seen so many people, and so many bicycles in
my life. It didn't make any difference whether it was
6 o'clock in the morning, or late at night, there were
always crowds. Not only on the main arteries, but on
the side streets, as well. I was told they work three
shifts a day ,to accommodate all 'these people. It can
best be described like the crowds leaving the Ann
Arbor stadium after a Michigan-Ohio State game.
* *

I must admit that I admire what I saw in China ...
and especially what they have accomplished in only 27
years, since this new regime took over from its pre-
vious feudal existence. But I believe that, fundamen-
tally, the basic American system is still the best.
It is no wonder that Leonard Simons is honored so often.
he was by having the Wayne State University Press
Building named in his honor. He earns the encomia.

Half Truths About Israel
Being a Torturer of Arabs

When a newspaper like the London Times devotes three
and a half pages to charges Of barbarism in Israel, it may
be normal for other newspapers to utilize the accusations
for editorial comment and for newspaper readers to be-
lieve the alledged careful study of conditions in Israel.
But such accusations have been repeated ad nauseam
for many years. They have been denied and the facts pre-
sented by Israel receive little attention.
Israel's ambassador to Great Britain exposed the lies in
the London Times promptly. The record will show that the
charges against Israel have been fantasies. There are
always unavoidable spates of anger bypolice when dealing
with terrorists who have just murdered Jewish children or
have thrown bombs into buses occupied by tourists from
foreign lands. But the stories compiled by the London

Times are part of the desert mentalities out of which grow
many myths.
The local morning newspaper does not gain respect by
dealing with so serious an issue on a news basis without
resort to the refutations of the outrageous charges. It is
not too late to correct the insult added to injury.

Zevulun Hammer and Norman Lamm:
The Yarmulka and the Mehitza

ZEVULUN HAMMER

NORMAN LAMM

To assuage fears that an alliance with the religious par-
ties will cause difficulties for the new Israel government,
both in Israel and in relations with American Jewry, Zevu-
lun Hammer, the minister of education in the Menahem
Begin Likud government, asked not to be judged by his
yarmulka.
At the same time, Dr. Norman Lamm, the recently elect-
ed president of Yeshiva University, addressing the conven-
tion of Orthodox rabbis in Fallsburg, N.Y., made the reli-
giously revolutionary comment, "We have overstressed
beyond all necessary proportions the issue of mixed pews.
It is the wrong issue on which to fight the battle of tradi-
tional Judaism." He said that the observance of the Sab-
bath, maintaining kosher homes and family purity were
more important than "the requirement of separate seating
in the synagogue."
Isn't this another conciliatory gesture for those who
treat the mehitza as a debatable commandment?
Whatever there is in religious differences in the various
classifications of Judaism surely could be resolved if there
were a Sanhedrin serving with the consent of all such clas-
sifications in Judaism. Perhaps the yarmulka would thr
symbolize unity in faith. But the hope for such an assen
bly presently is so remote!

For Adat Shalom aBlessing:
Commendations for Norman Allan

Adat Shalom Synagogue's return to normalcy and its
avoidance of a bankruptcy threat is cause for rejoicing for
all Jews in the Greater Detroit area.
The synagogue's determination to solve a serious finan-
cial problem is to the great credit of its rabbi and the lay
leadership.
Special encomia must go to Norman Allan who assumed
the synagogue's presidency with the aim of ending the
threatened calamity to a house of worship that has devel-
oped into one of the leading Conservative synagogues in
the land. Hearty congratulations for devotion to synagogue
and community by Adat Shalom's spiritual and lay lead-
ership.

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