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October 07, 1977 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-10-07

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

THE JEWISH NEWS

Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with the issue cif July 20, 1951

Member American Association of English-Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press Association, National Editorial Associatidn.
Published every Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co., 17515 W. Nine Mile, Suite 865, Southfield, Mich. 48075.
Second-Class Postage Paid at Southfield, Michigan and Additional Mailing Offices. Subscription $12 a year.

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ

DREW LIEBERWITZ

Editor and Publisher

Business Manager

Advertising Manager-

ALAN HITSKY, News Editor...HEIDI PRESS, Assistant News Editor

Sabbath Scriptural Selections

This Sabbath, the 26th day of Tishri, 5738, the following scriptural selections will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Genesis 1:1-6:8 Prophetical portion, Isaiah 42:5-43:10.

Rosh Hodesh Heshvan

Tuesday and Wednesday, Numbers 28:1 15

-

Candle lighting, Friday, Oct. 7, 6:46 p.m.

VOL. LXXII, No. 5

Page Four

Friday, October 7, 1977

Community Council at 40

Forty years of service as the civic-protective
community agency provides a platform for a re-
counting of experiences that have been filled
with many stirring events, with experiences
that were tragic in many ways, happy ones
being interspersed to some degree.
It is unforgetable that the Jewish Community
Council came into being during the early years
of Hitlerism, in an era when a Father Coughlin
spouted anti-Semitism over the airways and
scores of haters of his ilk appeared on the
scene to threaten the very existence of the Jew-
ish people.
Many duties were thus imposed upon the
movement that was charged with confornting
the threats to Jewry that were in many re-
spects also dangers for the entire country and
for many lands in addition to the United States.
It was necessary during those trying years to
mobilize sentiment not only within-the Jewish
ranks but also in the non-Jewish community, in
government circles, among all peoples who
make up the conglomerate of this nation.
The occurrences of the past required courage
in speaking out defensively. Often there was
need for offensive approaches. A review of
what had occurred, of the failure, even by the
spokesmen for this nation to come forth justly
with assistance to those who were either threat-
ened or were being condemned to destruction
by the beasts who arose on the world scene,
are now the recollections with regret that re-

Reason Challenged

The poison that keeps emanating from the
United Nations General Assembly doesn't sur-
prise anyone who has watched the devel-
opments on the banks of the East River in the
last two decades. What is surprising is that only
Israel speaks in refutation of the distortions that
have united the Arabs when Israel is the target.
Even more surprising is the vacillation in
American ranks. One would imagine from some
of the occurrences that Arab diplomats have a
mandate to speak for the United States. When a
Syrian delegate interpreted a White House
meeting on the Middle East as denoting an
approach to recognition of the PLO there was
no denial by anyone in authority to speak for
this country.
Then there is the at random selection of
Israeli statements for emphasis by news com-
mentators. Israel Foreign Minister Moshe
Dayan was asked on the NBC Today broadcast
regarding the Egyptian delegate's assertion
that Israel is fomenting war. Dayan explained
that there is a desire and a need for peace by all
parties but that if the Arab states were to start
a war Israel was ready. to • confront the atta-
ckers. The resume next analyzed by the pro-
gram monitor was that "Dayan said Israel was
ready for war." Even such minor, undoubtedly
unintentional slips of the tongue can cause
trouble, let alone ambarrassment.
It's unfortunate that many of the diplomatic
declarations vacillate between sessions with for-
eign emissaries.

sistance was not thorough, that there was si-
lence when it was imperative for people bent
upon justice to demand action against tyranny
and to ask for aid in relieving the sufferings of
the victims of Nazism abroad and of those sub-
jected to anti-Semitism at home.
There were periods when genuine courage
was in evidence. The years of the late Boris
Joffe's directorial skills of the Jewish Commu-
nity Council are not forgotten.
There came a need afterward to assure a
partnership with the state of Israel which
emerged out of the determination of the buil-
ders of Zion to end the homelessness of Jews,
whether they were Hitler's victims, the re-
jected by the British Mandatory Power in Pa-
lestine or by the Moslem world. Let it be re-
corded to the credit of the responsible lead-
ership that it cooperated fully with the Zionist
forces in assuring support for mass immigra-
tion into Israel, the protectors of the state, the
creators of a new society which to this very
day is confronted by many obstacles and suf-
fers from the Arab-Communist bloc, the pre-
judices of the Third World and the bias of a
United Naitons under domination of anti-Israel
forces.

The idea of community councils, a chain of
which now operates, all often cooperatively pur-
suing civic-protective duties in this country,
stems from the traditional kehillah, the organ-
ized community that was representative of
Jewry. The inheritance of the idea is in itself a
unique contribution to the organized life of the
JevIries in many American cities.
While the new differ radically from the old,
they carry with them a serious obligation to -
meet the many challenges that call for defense
of Jewish rights everywhere, and that includes
the protective duty for Israel.

On the 40th anniversary of the Jewish Com-
munity Council there is cause for con-
gratulations for recorded achievements. For
practical purposes, stock-taking is a necessity.
How does a community's civic-protective
agency react to the dangers thatstem from the
vicious _anti-Zionism which should necessitate
the strengthening of the great Jewish liber-
tarian cause? How effective are the efforts to
assure unity in Jewish ranks in the best inter-
ests of the self-respect of the American Jewish
community and in defense of Israel and of just
rights for Jews everywhere? Are the best
minds being mobilized whenever problems
arise, such as questions regarding American
legislative processes, ethnicity, the racial and
other issues?

An agency like the Jewish Community Coun-
cil is never without challenges. They will contin-
ue long after the 40th anniversary. On this occa-
sion, with the congratulatory spirit, goes the
hope that sound judgment will prevail, that
there will never arise the seriousness of divi-
siveness, that the protective functions of an im-
portant agency will not be marred by fears and
hesitancies. In this spirit the movement's objec-
tives can be elevated to a new level of dignity.

A Zionist's Polemic

Halkin's letters to An
American Jewish Friend'

Hillel Halkin is an American Jew who has immigrated to Israel. He
would like us to do the same, and to that end presents some pow-
erfully moving arguments in his first book, "Letters to an American
Jewish Friend," subtitled "A Zionist's Polemic" (Jewish Publication
Society).
Halkin was born in New York in 1939, and moved to Israel in 1970.
His "Letters to an American Jewish Friend" is a series of letters
between himself and an imaginary American Jew, covering the board
range of Jewishness, Jewish history and culture, Israel and Zionism.
The "correspondence" is bound to make -the reader think, to re-
examine his personal Judaism, his ties and commitment to the people
and land of Israel and the People Israel. It would seem impossible to
put down this well-written volume and not be affected personally.
Israel is not just a "land of milk and honey" and Halkin does not try
to hide her ills and problems. The beauty of his polemic is the realistic
picture he paints, while at the same time examining the goals of the
country and the role of Diaspora Jewry.
He is, to say the least, opinionated. The reader may not always
agree with his view or analysis of history, but through Halkin's eyes a
realistic view of Israel, and American Jewry emerges. For example,
in speakinig of two friends Halkin writes:
As far as Jewishness is concerned they
are about as "assimilated" as educated
Israelis can be, which is to say, I'm
afraid, that this correspondence between
us would seem to them academic and
abstruse. They do many of the things that
most secular Israelis regularly or occa-
sionally do—light candles and drink wine
on Friday nights, take part in a family
seder, light the menora on Hanuka
before frying jelly doughnuts and latkes
and giving out presents to the children,
even build a little sukka on their back ter-
race for Sukkot—but these things have no m,
HILLEL HALKIN
religious significance to them and I doubt \
whether either of them has ever attended a synagogue service.
Needless to say, assimilated Jews in America do not do any of these
things, since if they did they would by definition not be considered
assimilated. When making comparisons between assimilated Jews in
the Diaspora and "assimilated" Israelis, therefore, it is important to
remember that one is talking about two totally different magnitudes
of assimilation and that the most "assimilated" Jew in Israel remains
in touch with numerous Jewish forms and customs whose observance
in the-Diaspora would type him as a fairly tradition-minded Jew.
When you ask then how many of the Israelis you see on the street are
still Jews, the answer is, using your own Diaspora criteria, nearly all.
Neatly, perhaps over-simply, but persuasively, Halkin has wrapped
up Israelis and American Jews in his book. If his "Letters to An
American Jewish Friend" is nothing less than a catalyst for self-
examination then his polemic will have served a very useful purpose.
Halkin lives in the village of Zichron Ya'akov with his wife and two
daughters and has translated a number of works of modern Hebrew
fiction into English. He has also contributed essays to Commentary
magazine.

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