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September 22, 1978 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1978-09-22

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

f

22 Friday, September 22, 1918

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Silent Students

PARIS — World-famous
mime Marcel Marceau says
he would like to see Arab
and Israeli students study-
ing together at his mime
center; which will open
shortly in France.
Marceau's father, a
kosher butcher, died at Au-
schwitz. Marceau himself is
a concentration camp sur-.
vivor.

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Essays on Traditions of the American Jew

By ALLEN A. WARSEN

"Traditions of the Ameri-
can Jew," published by the
Center for Judaic Studies,
University of Denver and
Ktav, is a collection of arti-
cles edited by Stanley M.
Wagner.
The authors include,
inter alia, Trude Weiss-
Rogmarin, David Mirsky
and David Sidorsky.
Trude Weiss-Rosmarin's
article, "The Cultural Tra-
dition of the American
Jew," traces American
Jewish culture to its histor-
ical sources, namely "Pales-
tinian and Babylonian
Talmuds;" Saadia's and
Maimonides' philosophical
books written in Babylonia
and Egypt, respectively;
Rashi's commentaries,
created in Troys, France;
Hebrew poetry composed in
Spain; and other Jewish
classics.
Weiss-Rosmarin re-
gards education and
"conscience" as the
foundations of the
Jewish cultural tradi-
tion. She defines con-
science as "concern
about our fellowmen —
concern suffused with
respect." According to
her, Social Security and
unionism started in
America by Jewish labor
leaders have their roots
in the "Hebrew prophetic
tradition."
Conversely, she denig-
rates the significance of
belles-lettres and art and
disputes Alfred Kazin's
statement that "Jewish cul-
ture is what takes place
when religion vanishes."
She insists that the opposite
is true, and asserts that "art
is life arrested" and is "not
conducive to the develop-
ment of conscience and
ethics."

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By way of proof she cites
the mass-murderer
Mengele "who was an avid
concert=goer and a collector
of classical music records.
While consigning masses of
Jews, and also non-Jewish
undesirables as defined by
the Nazi code, to the Final
Solution, he whistled and
hummed Mozart and
Beethoven."
Interestingly, Weiss-
Rosmarin regards Chaim
Potok as the only American
''newish, author who con-
tinues the Jewish literary
cultural tradition.
Weiss-ROsmarin is editor
of the Jewish Spectator and
author of "Judaism and
Christianity: The Dif-
ferences."
In his article titled "The
Jewish Tradition in
American Literature,"
David Mirsky surveys the
evolution of the Ameri-
can Jewish novel and
examines the forces that
influenced its subject
matter and shaped it
thematically.
He begins his study with
an evaluation of Abraham
Cahan's "The Rise of David
Levinsky," a novel that por-
trays a Jewish immigrant's
struggles to find roots and
meaning in the United
States.
He then examines the
novels whose theme is what
we would call "the genera-
tion gap." They describe the
experiences, conflicts, aches
and pains, and challanges of
the second generation
Jewish Americans,
The best known novels of
this literary genre are
Daniel Fuchs' trilogy:
"Summer in
Williamsburg," "Homage in
Blenholt," and "Low Corn.:
pany;" Meyer Levin's "The
Old Bunch;" and- Michael
Gold's "Jews Without
Money."
Mirsky next explores
the urban novels and the
ones whose subject-
matter is what he calls
the "American conflict."
The novels of Isaac
Rosenfeld, Norman
Mailer, Philip Roth, J.D.
Salinger, and Bernard
Malamud are concerned
with conflicts between
opposing forces and
ideas, and also with the
U.S. Teachers

Learn to Teach
About Mideast

JERUSALEM — High
school teachers from the
United States took a six-
week course at the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem
this summer, to enable
them to prepare teaching
materials on the Middle
East Tor use in secondary
schools throughout the
United States.
Funded by the U.S. De-
partment of Health, Educa-
tion and Welfare under its
Group Projects Abroad pro-
gram, the course is aimed at
filling a need for new cur-
riculum material on the
Middle East, Israeli society,
and the Arab-Israeli con-
flict, subjects about which
American teachers have lit-
tle training.

problems arising from
them: loneliness, frustra-
tion and alienation.
Conversely, the books of
Cynthia Ozick, Hugh Nis-
senson, Charles Angoff, and
Chaim Potok reflect a posit-
ive response to alienation.
They "reflect not only
Jewish belief or loyalty, but
also an American attitude
which calls for a re-
affirmation of the ideals
upon which America was
built."
Regrettably, Mirsky
failed to include in his study
Ludwig-Lewishon's novels
that contributed to the in-
tellectual enrichment and
enjoyment of their numer-
ous readers.
David Mirsky is professor
of English literature at
Yeshiva University and
dean of Stern College.
David Sidorsky's arti-
cle, "The Future of the
Jewish Community in
America: A Perspective
and Agenda," despite its
title is concerned only
with the present condi-
tions of the Anierican
Jewish community. It is a
solid study of an impor-
tant subject and adds
significantly to the litera-
ture of the American
Jewish current scene.
The author commences
his study with an analysis of
the ideology of emancipa-
tion. He points out that it
involved a political, social
and religious transforma-
tion of 19th Century West
European Jewry.
Sidorsky, furthermore,
explores the American
Jewish community vis-a-vis
Soviet Jewry and Israel. He
assesses the responses of

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American Jewry to the
Soviet Union's suppression
of Jewish cultural ext)res-
sion.
Sidorsky similarly exam-
ines the effects of the found-
ing of the state of Israel on
American Jewry. He con-
cludes, "After the rise of the
state of Israel, it is not only
true that the American
Jewish community became
overwhelmingly pro-Israel,
but involvement with Israel
became a major portion of
the Jewish communal
agenda."
Sidorsky is professor
philosophy at Columbillf
University and consultant
to the American Jewish
Committee.

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