THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
12 Friday, December 1, 1918
i;u1EiNsIwpisEs Catholic Profs Seek Changes
In vaerammergau rassion riay
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NEW YORK — Two
American Catholic scholars
have recommended sweep-
ing changes in the
Play to diminish its anti-
Semitic content and move it
closer to the spirit of Vati-
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The analysis, "A Com-
mentary on The Oberam-
mergau Passionsspiel in re-
gard to its image of Jews
and Judaism," by Leonard
Swidler, profe-ssor of
Catholic thought and inter-
religious dialogue at Tem-
ple University, and Father
Gerard S. Sloyan, professor
of New Testament at Tem-
ple University, is contained
in a 110-page document
published by the Anti-
Defamation League of Bnai
Nat Kameny, chairman
of ADL's program commit-
tee, said ADL supports the
ing revisions in dialogue,
acting and casting,_ and is
sending a German transla-
tion of the document to offi-
cials in Oberammergau.
The ADL had two meetings
in the German village — in
May and in October — at
which the German village
— in May and in October —
at which the Oberammer-
gau officials assured the
American human relations
agency of their willingness
to revise the drama in ac-
cordance with current Vati-
can guidelines on Catholic
relations with the Jews.
Kameny said the
would in no way effect
the central theme and
drama of the crucifixion
story, but would "cleanse
it to the greatest extent
possible of pejorative
references to Jews.”
In the analysis, the two
professors stressed that
"nothing which in any way
approaches the notion of
Jewish collective guilt
should be found in any
Catholic medium of expres-
sion or communication."
They emphasized that
Christians need to not only
uproot "distorted and false
understandings of and atti-
tudes toward Jews, and
Judaism" but must "begin
the positive task of probing
and promoting the Jewish
heritage pervading the
foundation of Christianity."
NEW YORK (JTA) — An
increase in the number of
Hebrew day schools on a
high school level in North
America and an outreach
program for Jewish com-
munities in Central and
South America were the two
major commitments ad-
vanced by the nearly 1,000
delegates and guests who
attended the 35th annual
Torah Umesorah Awards
-Dinner at the New York
Hilton last week.
The South America corn-
ponent will include both
Ashkenazic and Sephardic
communities in Argentina,
Brazil, Panama and Ven-
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. . . and Me'
(Copyright 1978, JTA, Inc.)
EYES ON IRAN: The Joint Distribution Committee
comes to its national annual meeting this week under the
shadow of events in Iran which may spell danger for the
80,000 Jews there. Jews have lived in. Iran (Persia) for
about 2,500 years, and they constitute today the large'
Jewish community remaining in the Moslem large'
Only a year ago — when life was normal in Iran and Jews
there were sharing in the economic boom of this oil-rich
country — JDC leaders were discussing the possibility of
achieving a phase-out of the $2 million which the organiza-
tion spends annually on various programs in Iran; they
were hoping to gradually transfer the responsibility for the
operation of the community programs to local sponsorship.
No such suggestion will be heard at the JDC annual
meeting now. On the contrary, as the situation in Iran
becomes more explosive — with Moslem religious ex-
tremists, in odd alliance with radical leftists, seeking to
unseat Shah Mohamed Reza Pahievi through violence — it
becomes clear that the Jews in Iran may need even greater
JDC attention and more aid. Always on the alert in times of
emergencies for Jews, the JDC may have to rush to the
Jews in Iran with all possible assistance, to maintain the
existing Jewish institutions there, and perhaps even or-
ganize additional programs of relief.
TROUBLING SIGNS: One cannot predict the outcome
of the latest measures taken by the Shah — who has a
record of being friendly to the Jews of his country — to stem
the violent opposition against him. It is anticipated that
whatever regime ultimately replaces the current military
government will be inclined to pay considerable attention
to the views of the fundamentalist Moslem religious ele-
ments who are not inclined to living harmoniously with
Jewish neighbors and who are strongly anti-Israel.
Already there have been some troubling signs of a de-
generating popular attitude toward Jews. When in the first
riots Iranian troops fired on students, a false report quickly
spread throughout the country that the soldiers who fired
must have been part of the Israel army sent to help the
Shah, "for no Iranian would conceivably fire upon a fellow
In certain cities, like Isfahan, Jewish community leaders
have reported that some Moslems simply will not eat in
restaurants that serve Jews. Moslem officials in one
earthquake-ravaged town recently spurned relief supplies
sent by the Jewish community of Teheran. One high Mos-
lem religious leader in Qum, a holy city near Teheran, in
talking about the treatment of minorities in Iran, said that
Jews would be accepted as Jews, unless they become a "fifth
column working as defenders of Zionist aggression."
The hostile attitude among the fundamentalist Moslems
to Israel, and toward Jews who support Israel, has been
demonstrated in the latest disturbances. This, after de-
cades of peaceful relative harmony between the Jews and
the Moslem populations, encouraged by the Shah. Al-
though a Moslem country, Iran maintains unofficial rela-
tions with Israel, the Shah encouraging Israeli companies
and technical experts to come to Iran to help in the large-
scale agricultural development of the country, as well as its
construction. He also furnishes Israel with a substantial
part of Israel's oil requirements. Under his regime, Jews
were not prevented from emigrating to Israel, or to any
other country. They enjoyed full freedom of movemcnt.
Now the Jews fear that their position and freedom. may
be circumscribed by any government that will emergi from
the present crisis. Since the establishment of Israel, some
60,000 Jews emigrated from Iran to the Jewish state. But
emigration has come to a trickle in the recent years as the
general conditions in Iran improved. It seems obvious now
that whatever the outcome of the present upheaval will b"
many of the 80,000 Jews — rich, middle class and poor
will begin to think in terms of emigration.
JDC FRONTIERS: The Joint Distribution Committee
has been operating in Iran for 25 years. During that period
it offered direct material assistance to individuals; helped
organize a hospital, health clinics, supported Jewish
schools and kindergartens, and through ORT, inaugurated
a vocational educational system. It also encouraged the
development of local community structure and leadership.
Feeding, medical care, sanitation, welfare and education
has been the core of the JDC programs in Iran, ably directed
by its office in Teheran. The medical clinics are providing
services in Teheran, Isfahan and Shiraz to the poor ele-
ments of the Jewish population and a more limited medical
service to the smaller Jewish communities in the provincial
towns of Hamadan, Kerman and Yazd. Hot lunches are
served by JDC on each school day to thousands of children
in seven centers in Teheran and seven in the provinces,
while elderly people unable to meet their basic needs are
serviced by a meals-on-wheels program operated in Tehe-
ran and in provincial centers.