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November 24, 1978 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1978-11-24

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2 Friday, November 24, 1918


Purely Commentary

Synagogues Less Crowded,
Loyaltlet Nevertheless Sustained

Packed synagogues are now a memory of a temporary
responsiveness. It is always that way. The crowds come for
the Holy Days, they dwindle on Sukkot, and the shrinkage
lasts for another year, until another season of Days of Awe.
That is why a young rabbi, in his sermon on Sukkot,
began by_saying, "Sukkat_has no _mazel-----Sukk-ot-has-no
luck. He was referring, of course, to his audience at that
point of sea_ie 400, contrasted by the 3,000 he addressed on
Rosh Hashana.
Nevertheless, it is not all tragedy. Loyalties do not van-
ish with absenteeism from the synagogue. There is a bond
that is strong and unbreakable and it becomes evident in
many ways.
There is evidence' in a very impressive essay in the New
Republic by its editor-publisher Martin Peretz. He wrote as
a "Cambridge Dirarist" and he affirmed a faith that is
surely embraced by thousands of his fellow acedemicians,
even if they do not possess the power of editorial access.
On many occasions, Dr. Peretz challenged Israel's and
Jewry's enemies. He does so again in. "Cambridge Diarist."
He does more: he tells how he adheres to his Jewish
heritage, how he observes and how he glories in his iden-
tification with his people. Let "Cambridge Diarist" speak
for itself. It is because of its importance and impressiveness
that it is reprinted on this page.
Even belatedly, the Peretz affirmation retains a timeli-
ness. It is a message that lends emphasis to the basics in
vigilance, never to be silent when a people's fate is
endangered and never to hide one's identity.

The Remarkable Bill Haber
Who Teaches Freshmen at Age 80

Prof. William Haber is so active, even as he approaches
80, that he has become a household word in world Jewry.
In the more that 30 years of his leadership in American
and World ORT, he has been a factor in strenghtening a
great movement which soon will mark its 100th anniver-
He plays a leading role as one of America's leading aca-
demicians, as an adviser to universities in Israel and as a
leading member of the board of the Hebrew University.
It's been some years since
he had taught college be-
ginners. He served as dean
of the College-of Literature,
Arts and Science at the
University of Michigan.
As he nears age 80 he
must have acquired a desire
to begin life anew. He has
undertaken the task of
teaching a freshman class
at the U of M in economics.
Remarkable — that after
decades of deanship and
administrative leadership
in the university he be-
comes a teacher of youth, a
guide anew to freshmen.
That's the genius of the
great teacher, the storyteller who loves a good joke so much
th1-4 he doesn't mind retelling it and laughing with his
auaience at his own stories.
Any wonder that he and his darling wife Fanny make
friends so easily? Both are loved and the message of greet-
ings on his 80th birthday will surely embrace a global

Margaret Mead: An Episode
That Occurred in Israel

Dr. Margaret Mead, the world famous anthropoligist,
whose death occurred on Nov. 15, was eminent in many
ways. She also was a sociologist of note. She traveled
widely. She visited Israel and was deeply interested in the
agricultural progress of the
Jewish state.
An interesting episode
about her and her daughter
is related in "No Time for
History" by Israel's promi-
nent diplomat, Arie Eliav,
who is affectionately known
as "Lyova" and who is a
leader in the ranks of Israeli
In his book (it was re-
viewed by this commentator
in The Jewish News, Jan. 8,
1971), Eliav told of Dr.
Mead's concern during a
visit in Israel, about Israel's
farming and settlement
problems. Then he reported
ent involvinE her daughter's desire

The New Republic Editor's Re-Affirmation of Faith
with the Vigilant and His Identification with the
Many Defenders of Justice Who Refuse to Be Silent

to stay in Israel. Eliav's report of the incident stated:
"My daughter wants to see your border settle-
ments," the mother sighed, "and, of course the
wonderful Nahal soldiers."
We went out to the Lakhish outposts, Nehosha
and Amatziyah.
At the end of the tour, at Amatziyah, I was wit-
ness to a fairly stormy argument.
Approaching me-then with-her daughter, the
mother said: "Isn't it true that it's very dangerous
here, and that there are exchanges of fire here
practically every night with infiltrators and ter-
rorists coming from across the border?"
"You see," said the mother to the daughter,
"you can't stay here. "It's absurd."
"But mother," said the girl, "there are also girl
soldiers here. Why shouldn't I stay?"
The daughter started getting annoyed.
"I'm staying here, and that's that!" she told her

By Philip

mother. "You didn't ask anyone's permission
when you went to live among the head-hunters of
Borneo, and I won't ask anyone for permission
now. I like the place. The boys are cute, and I'm
Margaret Mead left Israel a day or two later.
The daughter, however, stayed at Amatziyah not
one night, nor two, but many weeks.
It would- now be interestirfg-tuyet- the-daughter's reac-
tions to the recorded experiences. The fact is that interest in
Israel became universal and Margaret Mead was as in-
trigued as many of her contemporaries in a reborn nation's
heroic efforts to reconstruct life after many centur'. of
exile and persecution.
Margaret Mead's impressions were summarized when
she said to Eliav about Israel: "This is a great human
adventure, and may God bless you." To have gained such
compliments from the most notable among the world's so-
cial scientists is something for Israel to be appreciative and
proud of.

Cambridge Diarist: On Jewish Loyalties


Editor, The New Republic

These are, for Jews, the
Days of Awe, the brief
period each year that begins
with what tradition teaches
is the birthday of creation,
Rosh Hashana, and ends on
the Day of Atonement, Yom
I went with my children
to the Rosh Hashana serv-
ices conducted by Hillel, the
Jewish student society, at
Harvard's Memorial
Church. Our youngest,
Bobo, observed that each
year, at least in her short
memory, attendance is
greater, and she is right.
When I first came here in
the late 1950s, Jews would
cluster on the high holidays
either as self-conscious (and
noticed) participants or as
hardly less self-conscious
bystanders pretending to
insouciance just like the
other Harvards. These days,
still, some people go and
others don't. But the wonder
of the broader university
community is directed now
at those who do not share
that which is theirs.
The situation started to
change slowly after 1967.
But it changed most
dramatically at one identi-
fiable moment, the closing
service of Yom Kippur in
1973. •
The news had spread
quickly of the surprise
Arab attack against Is-
rael and of the disastrous
routings of the kibutzim
in the north and the
troops at Suez. I had not
in my entire life seen such
collective anxiety on
people's faces. It was as if
the vast historic uncon-
scious of Jewry had reas-
serted itself and brought
individual Jews — at just
about every level of belief
and non-belief, concern
and indifference, even
cynicism — together, and
simply to be together.
"Why are you here?" I
asked a very bright and
really quite engaging stu-
dent, for whom JeWish iden-
tity, however, had become
at best a target of ridicule.
"How could I not be here?"
he responded with a solem-
nity that made me under-
stand a good deal more than
his answer.
The wound in the heart
was not altogether absent

this year, but it certainly
did not suffuse the spirit of
the congregation as it had in
1973. Prayers were not of-
fered with that rapt devo-
tion exacted by immediate
fears, as they had been five
years ago and have contin-
ued to be more or less since
The very pious, certainly,
do not recognize these vari-
ables; they may even view
them as alien. For the wor-
ship knows no greater tem-
poral imperative than the
ancient commands to do
mitzvot (deeds and pe-
nance), to pray and to study.
But for others the world in-
trudes in sorrow or in joy.
This year there was a
special joy, even exhil-
aration, most notably felt
during the sonorous He-
brew alliteratives of the
Shehekhiyanyu, neither
so sonorous nor at all al-
literative in English
translation: "Thanks be
to God who has kept us in
life, maintained us and
enabled us to reach this
This blessing is pro-
nounced at the beginning of
every holiday. But it was
not simply the days of re-
membrances and penitence
which were being welcomed
on this occasion. So many of
us had feared, thought, been
convinced that the perils of
Israel would be forever. At
last to have reached this
moment, the dawn of peace
— for that, gratitude could
not be merely ritual or
routine. Electric energy
moved through the assem-
bly: communion over-
In these very days, it is
said, God judges. And
smugness is among those of-
fenses for which one repents
in anticipation of His judg-
ment. I am taking my risks.
I cannot restrain my
smugness that we at TNR
were right — have been
proven right by events — in
our views on the Middle
First of all we were right
in the amount of attention
we paid it. "Peretz's obses-
sion," clucked those by
Watergate possessed, or by
Chile or Rhodesia. But it
was — and may still be —
the most important story of
the 1970s.
Almost certainly it has

been the most poorly re-
ported. (Though there
are so many contenders
for the botch-up honors
that, aside from noting
the unique malice and
incompetence of Time,
there is no point in mak-
ing a rank list.)
Those who have been pro-
ven most wrong, of course,
are the preachy feuil-
letonists who could imagine
no scenario for a settlement
without the PLO and espe-
cially its "moderate" wing,
for which please read Yasir
Arafat, at the center.
Poor Anthony Lewis,
after all that print in the
Times, his certainty ex-
ceeded only by his ignor-
ance, the latter hidden
under a veneer of detail
provided by Cambridge's
resident PLO intellectual
Wand Shalidi. Poor Tony
Lewis, finding that the
West Bank Arabs and even
many of their brethren in
exile may come to run their
own lives on their own land
without the ministrations of
the adepts at terror.
Complete sovereignty
exists nowhere these days.
It is circumscribed
everywhere by economic
forces and should be limited
also by the reasonable ap-
prehensions of neighbors.
There probably will be
other impediments to a
final arrangement. But
that is mostly because the
local population and
much of the local leader-
ship are still intimidated
by Lewis's favorite
swashbucklers from join-
ing the peace process.
What I don't understand
is why those who, in just
about all other situations,
abominate the extremes of
nationalism, think that a
whole panoply of
nationalism is the sine qua
non of justice in this situa-
tion. Is essential freedom
not possible for these Arabs
without also their right to
wage war? We can expect, I
think, a great case of the
sulks among those whose
upstart prophecies history
has refused to vindicate.
Perhaps Egypt has taken
again to the pharaonic op-
tion of its own past, opting
out of the chimera of pan-
Arabism. But I doubt it will
be so simple as that. Once
the Egyptians live the bene-

fits of peace rather than
bearing the burdens of war,
their sway among the Arabs
is likely to grow rather than
We read in the New Year
service of the rift between
Abraham's sons, Isaac and
Ishmael, and how Ishmael
went off and founded a great
people. Volatile, impulsive
but visionary, Anwar
Sadat, one of Ishmael's sons,
is groping with another un-
likely partner — stern, de-
fiant but also visionary
Menahem Bagin, son of
Isaac — to reconcile the
most painful of differences,
that between brothers.
Each has ultras with whom
to contend, more attached to
millenial hatreds than
engaged by millenial

Both Sadat and Begin
may justly claim the
plaintive words of the
Psalmist: "I am for peace
— but when I speak they
are for war."
By the standards of chil-
dren's behavior at long reli-
gious services (particularly
services at which a foreign
language is much in use),
my children did very well.
Between trying to shinny
up the massive columns of
Memorial Church and slid-
ing down its banisters, they
did some good listening.
Someone had once told
Jesse that the name of
Jerusalem is peace
(shalom). That was a hard
concept for him to under-
stand, especially since he'd
been there with me on the
fourth of July in 1975, when
a terrorist bomb killed 17
innocents at Zion Square.
Here and there thrmigh
the devotionals rec' e
words "the peace of
Jerusalem." And somehow,
perhaps shrewdly, he linked
them in his mind with the
repeated references to the
messianic age and the corn-
ing of the messiah.
"When will that be?" he
asked. And I answered, far
from certain myself, but
with the reassuring prece-
dent of the Hassidic master,
Reb Nachman of Bratzlav,
who had also lacked full
confidence when he re-
sponded to the same ques-
tion by saying, "The age of
the messiah is of this

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