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December 08, 1978 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1978-12-08

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

THE JEWISH NEWS

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

Member American Association of English - Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press Association, National Editorial Association.

Published every Friday by The Jewish NeWs Publishing Co., 17515 W. Nine Mile, Suite 865, Southfield, Mich. 48075
Postmaster: Send address changes to The Jewish News, 17515 W. 9 Mile Rd., Suite 865, Southfield, Mich. 48075
Second-Class Postage Paid at Southfield, Michigan and Additional.Mailing Offices. Subscription $12 a year.

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ
Editor and Publisher

ALAN HITSKY -
News Editor

CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ
Business Manager

HEIDI PRESS
Assistant News Editor

DREW LIEBERWITZ
Advertising Manager

Sabbath Scriptural Selections

This Sabbath, the ninth day of Kislev, 5739, the following scriptural selections will .be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Genesis 28:10-32:3. Prophetical portion, Hosed12:13-14:10.

Candle lighting, Friday, Dec. 8, 4:43 p.m.

VOL. LXXIV, No. 14

Page Four

Friday, December 8, 1978

Observing Human Rights Day

Marking the 30th anniversary of the adoption
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
by the United Nations, at San Francisco, three
of the major religious organizations have issued
an appeal for observance of Human Rights Day
on Dec. 10 and of Human Rights Week, Dec.
10-17.
United Synagogue of America appended its
name to this appeal, together with the National
Council of the Churches of Christ, USA, and
United States Catholic Conference. Their ap-
peal declares:
"Whereas Dec. 10, 1978, marks the 30th an-
niversary of the adoption of the Universal Dec-
laration of Human Rights by the United Na-
tions; and
"Whereas the United Nations International
Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights and on Civil and Political Rights strive
ta_guarantee'the rights enumerated in the Uni-
versal Declaration; and
"Whereas more than 50 nations have ratified
these Covenants, and President Carter has
asked the U.S. Senate to approve them; and
"Whereas we are daily reminded that people
suffer because their human rights are unfulfil-
led or violated throughout the world as well as
in the United States; and
"Whereas our religious faith calls us to affirm
the dignity and worth of every human being and
to struggle for justice for oppressed people
everywhere;
"Therefore now we call upon all members of
the religious community, our nation, and our
leaders to observe Human Rights Week, Dec.
10-17, 1978, as an occasion to renew our na-
tional commitment to the advancement of
human rights; and

"Urge the President of the United States to
declare Dec. 10, 1978, as Human Rights Day
and Dec. 10-17, 1978, as Human Rights Week
throughout the United States; and
– "Commend the President for submitting the
Covenants to the U.S. Senate on Feb. 23, 1978;
and
"Urge our churches,---s-ynagogues and reli-
gious and other organizations to initiate a coor-
dinated effort to inform the American public

about and acquire favorable public support for
these human rights covenants."
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
remains a basis for pursuing the task of
eliminating hatreds and of establishing accord
between peoples for justice attained with dig-
nity and without warfare.
When the historic document was phrased and
adopted by what was then referred to as the
UNO — United Nations Organization — there
was dedication to the basic human principles in
support of which the international UN was
formed.
Sadly, there have developed deviations which
have caused much agony for mankind from- the
presently dominating UN ranks. The Soviet
bloc, the negations stemming from the Third
World nations, the Arab combine, all of them
devoting more time to efforts to destroy Israel
than to elevating the standards--of their own-
peoples, have in many respects repudiated the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It is this unfortunate reversion to me-
ievalism that caused one Protestant body, in
its appeal for strict adherence to the basic prin-
ciples assigned to Human Rights Day, to allude
to Isaiah, suggesting emphasis on religious ap-
peals 'for tolerance and humanism with em-
phasis on Isaiah 61:1-4:
And they shall build the ancient ruins,
Raise up the desolations of old,
And renew the ruined cities,
The desolations of many ages.
What is needed is respect for neighbors and
cooperation with them to end the miseries that
have divided peoples. The Human Rights prin-
ciples are continually abused. Perhaps obser-
vance of a special day for their elevation will
remove the blight and will restore the aims and
aspiiettions that predominated in the early
years of the founding of the United Nations.
Therefore, Human Rights Day retains •a jus-
tification for universal adherence. If the peoples
of the world could be induced to have the docu-
ment read broadly there would emerge the
hope for its being honored in all respects. This is
the hope to be appended to the call for Human
Rights Day and Human Rights Week obser-
vances.

Iranian Jewry's Dilemmas

The crisis in Iran brings to mind the repeti-
tiveness of history. Jews are in greater danger
than the other elements in the Persia of old. In
view of the religious conflict in that oil-rich
country, it is not surprising that Jews should
become the targets in a struggle for power as
well as conflict in ideologies.
As in other experiences, whenever a crisis
arises posing the problem of a possible emigra-
tion, there are those who hand out the olive
branch, assuring Jews of safety, while the revo-
lutionary outbursts create fears, causing many
Jews to seek shelter elsewhere.
That's the dilemma of Iran. It is the historic
tragedy for the Jew.

The Iranian problem is not being swept under
a hiding place. National Jewish organizations,
Israeli agencies and leaders in the Joint Distri-
bution. Committee are showing concern.
As a matter of fact, the annual meeting of
JDC held in New York this week gave priority
to the Iranian item on an important agenda,
thus alerting the fund's supporters that a need
may arise to formulate action to assist a com-
munity in turmoil.
There is no doubt that the coming weeks,
possibly days, will offer clarifications of what
is to be expected, and it is good to know that the
Jewish community will not be found unpre-
pared for action.

DeBreffny's 'Synagogue'
Covers Subject Historically

"The Synagogue" by Brian deBreffny (Macmillan) is a classic in
every sense of the word. It traces synagogal history from its begin-
nings, it takes the reader on a world tour to see how Jews worship and
how synagogual art has developed, and in the process the author
narrates history.

Traveling widely, searching for every available source of informa-
tion about synagogues, seeing the new and tracing the background of
the old, the author provides so much information in his impressive
book that it serves as a veritable encyclopedia about the Jewish house
of worship.

This volume is an architectural history of synagogues. But it is
much more. It is a social study of Jewish life as it found its roots in the
synagogue. It gives an account of anti-Semitism, of Vatican prej-
udices and obstructions, of the many ritual murder accusations that
resulted in desecrations and threats to synagogues and to the com-
munities they served.

The historian deBreffny takes into account the affects of the
Holocaust. He describes the contrasts in rich synagogues with those
built as popular gathering places and he calls the trend
"meshugothic."

There is a summation in the final pages of his book that is especially
impressive. He comments- inter alia:

-

"While rich congregations continue to build glamorous and impres-
sive synagogues there are still in urban America small congregations
who are happy to meet in an upper room or a converted shop or house
that recalls the shtibl of the Hasidim of the Eastern European shtetl.
In these unpretentious synagogues minyanim of friends and
neighbors meet for the services. They feel no need of a 'particular
religious building to convert them into worshippers; they regard the
luxurious synagogues without jealousy but are apt to describe their
style wryly as `meshugothic.'

"The post-war German state assisted communities to rebuild their
synagogues but the Jewish population of the country in the late 1950s
had dwindled to about 27,000 — a dramatic drop from the pre-war
half-million. So the need for these new synagogues was sometimes
more symbolic than real .. .

"Important synagogues are not a feature of modern Isra_
priorities in building are houses, factories, hospitals, roads_ an - e-
fense installations. Little can be spared for luxurious synagogue-
building, although precious funds have been spent on the beautiful
restoration of the old synagogues in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem
which were wrecked during the period of Jordanian rule. In many
places, a simple spare room or an unpretentious building has been
adapted as a place of worship. The need for a community center in
connection with the religious place of assembly has not, as yet, been
felt in Israel, where the land itself is the place of assembly of the
people. In time to come this may change if the religious authorities
find a need to attract the young to study Toiah and worship, through
the provision of social amenities in the same place."

DeBreffny began his travels for the compilation of his book in
Cordova with his photographer George Mott. The scores of photo-
graphs include Greater Detroit's Shaarey Zedek and there is refer-
ence to Temple Beth El.
So much is covered- in this volume that the most practical sugges-
tion for this work is that it be used as text for study courses and as a
guide for students in high schools and colleges and seminars for
higher learning.

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