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November 17, 1978 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1978-11-17

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

12 Friday, November 11, 1918

Orthodox Debate: Politicians vs. Shtadlan

Jews acting on behalf of Or-
thodoxy as unelected but re-
sponsible spokesmen.
The protagonists were Dr.
Bernard Fryshman, a
physics professor active in
Orthodox organizations and
Nathan Lewin, a Washing-
ton attorney who also is
active in such organiza-
tions. The two outlined the

By BEN GALLOB

(Copyright 1978, JTA, Inc.)

Two leading Orthodox
laymen have taken diamet-
rically opposed positions on
whether the Orthodox
community can best be re-
presented by Orthodox Jews
elected to public office or by

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represent all the citizens
of his/her district and
therefore cannot hope to
present as consistent a
position as can an inter-
nally appointed spokes-
man."
Lewin, citing his experi-
ence in battles over legisla-
tion vital to Jews, declared
that he disagreed strongly
with the proposition that
"our own political represen-
tatives" are not needed or
are less desirable than the
"tried and true shtadlan,"
even though he himself had
chosen the role of shtadlan
over public office.
Lewin asserted that "no
matter how effective and
persuasive" the shtadlan
may be, he is "Mr. Outside,"
while the elected official is
"a Member of the Club." He
added that, from that
perspective, "a voice — or
several voices — inside the
cloakroom is worth hun-
dreds, no matter how gol-
den, singing from without."
He added that no one op-
posed the view that incom-
petent or dishonest candi-
dates should not be elected,
Orthodox or not Orthodox,
"but the fact that a candi-
date is Orthodox and is,
therefore, naturally sensi-
tive to our community's
needs is a very important
plus."
Lewin asserted that "no
`trade-offs' need be made
with such a candidate. He is
not doing the Orthodox
community a favor, for
Another danger seen by which he will demand re-
Dr. Fryshman was that per- payment, if he supports or
sons who have served the originates a bill protecting
Orthodox community hon- Sabbath observers."
estly and well might still Ontario Passes
not be suitable as political
representatives. He said Anti-Boycott Law
many professionals, who
TORONTO (JTA) — The
are yeshiva graduates and Ontario legislature passed
consider themselves knowl- what observers say is the
edgeable in Jewish lore, toughest anti-boycott legis-
might not feel it necessary - lation adopted by a parlia-
"or even unwise" to consult ment anywhere in the
with Torah authorities on world.
issues of crucial importance
The measure, known as
to Orthodoxy.
an act to prohibit discrimi-
"Electing such Orthodox nation in business prac-
individuals to a meaningful tices, was adopted virtually
political office would be tan- without opposition and with
tamount to transferring the the support of all three par-
decision-making power ties in the provincial parli-
from the collective wisdom ament. It was signed into
of our Torah leadership to law by Lt. Gov. Pauline
that of one individual," he McGibbon.
The measure outlaws
declared.
He contended that compliance with any as-
whenever attempts at pass- pect of the Arab boycott
ing or stopping legislation of Israel by any firm
in the interests of the doing business in the
Jewish community suc- province of Ontario.
ceeded, it was primarily be- Penalties range from a
cause of the efforts of such $5,000 fine for individuals
groups as Agudath Israel, to $50,000 for corpora-
the National Commission tions.
on Law and Public Affairs,
A corporation found in
Hasidic groups, the Union violation of the law would
of Orthodox Jewish Con- also be prohibited from
gregations, Young Israel doing business in the prov-
and "a handful of others."
ince for five years. The bill's
He argued that since definition of discriminatory
these groups have ac- practices includes "solicita-
complished legislative tion of information as to
successes without geographical location,"
elected Orthodox repre- meaning that a firm must
sentatives, "it is not un- not comply with an Arab re-
reasonable to conclude quest as to the geographical
that the latter are not es- origin of any goods or serv-
sential to our commu- ices.
nity's welfare." He also
Diamonds represented
contended that "every
politician, no matter how more than half of Israel's
dedicated a Jew, must industrial exports in 1977.

respective cases for the
European-style "shtadlan"
and for the Orthodox Jew
whose clout derives from
the ballot box. Their views
appeared in the September
issue of "Jewish Opinion,"
the scholarly publication of
Agudath Israel of America.
Dr. Fryshman, who is
chairman of the commission
on legislation and civic ac-
tion of Agudath Israel,
argued that one of the dan-
gers of supporting a candi-
date who is Orthodox sim-
ply because he or she is Or-
thodox could mean that if
such a contest led to the de-
feat of "a friendly non-
Orthodox incumbent," the
consequences for Orthodox
interests could be seriously
adverse. He noted, in his
presentation, that more and
more Orthodox Jews were
running for public office.
Once elected, he de-
clared, an incompetent
Orthodox Jewish politi-
cian could harm the
interests of Orthodox
Jewry, as could honest
and capable ones "voting
their conscience." He
cited as an example an
Orthodox candidate who
was reported to be neut-
ral on "gay rights." He
asserted that if that can-
didate had been elected,
"he would have been far
more dangerous to our
cause than any non-
Orthodox individual un-
equivocally for gay
rights."

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