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January 12, 1979 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-01-12

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IUSPS 275-5201

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.


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Sabbath Scriptural Selections

This Sabbath, the 14th day of Tevet, 5739, the following scriptural selections will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Genesis 47:28-50:26. Prophetical portion, I Kings 2:1-12.

Candle lighting, Friday, Jan. 12, 5:04 p.m.

VOL. LXXIV, No. 19

Page Four

Friday, January 12, 1979

Prophecies of Doom

A new assimilatory trend in Jewish ranks,
the increase in mixed marriages, a threatened
decline in educational processes — these and
the factors affecting a minority in the American
society have resulted in prophecies of doom.
Acceptance of the figure of one intermarriage
in every three in American Jewry has added to
the pragmatic judging of Jewish attitudes as
being affected by a lack of concern over the
spiritual-cultural status of Jewry.
"The Prophets of Doom" is the title of one of
the portions of the • impending difficulties in
Jewish ranks, in an article in the Jewish Quar-
terly of London by the prominent author, Chaim
Bermant, given prominence in the American
Jewish Digest. Bermant emphasizes the diffi-
culties confronted by the Jewish schools in
securing qualified teachers, and the urgency of
this major problem may also be attributed to an
indifference in school management.
Too many concessions have already been
made in planning school curricula. Even if it is
to be admitted that the afternoon Hebrew school
had its shortcomings, at the time when it was a
five-day a week school, it functioned with some
efficiency. Now these schools have been reduced
to two or three afternoons a week and there is
the threat that Jewish education may once
again be reduced to the Sunday schools.
That is how declining standards take root.
There is the consolation that the day school
substitutes for the previous means of providing
Jewish educational fulfillment. Is there an

encouraging result from day schools' training?
Have their graduates exercised sufficient influ-
ence upon a succeding generation, in their own
socio-economic-cultural circles to indicate that
the maximum tasks are producing effective re-
If the latter is not as successful as anticipated
then the search for causes and effects must re-
vert again to the home. If the Jewish home is not
solidly devoted to respect for Jewish legacies
then the schools' efforts are weakened.
Perhaps concerns about Jewish educational
needs should be altered to give as much em-
phasis on the adult as are sought for the youth.
All-too-often a parent is found so uninformed
about Jewish matters, about history and tradi-
tion as well as current issues, that it is less
surprising when the youth become indifferent
to what may be imposed upon them in the
Jewish school.
The community's congregations have insti-
tuted study courses which should be encouraged
as the most vital needs for Jewish living. Every
inducement should be given these study courses
and the synagogues which include these study
sessions in their yearly programs must be urged
not to reduce them and to make them year-
round obligations.
The prophecy of doom is not unreal. It can be
dissolved by making the school more effective
and by restoring to the home its role as a place of
love and contentment as well as the inspirer of
knowledge and rejector of ignorance.

The New Far East Dilemma

Menahem Begin was in a relaxed mood when States, yet there wasn't the slightest evidence of
he 'said that "Israel is not Taiwan," in a com- , anything approaching the hatred for Israel that
ment on the new Chinese-American diplomatic was manifested in the earlier American-
Chinese enmity.
The new era in American-Chinese relations
The new developments, nevertheless, raise a
poses the question whether there is a possibility
serious question with regard to the future.
Red China is on record, pursuing a policy of of an altered Chinese attitude toward Israel.
antagonism toward Israel. Regardless of the is- Jews have already begun to tour China. Jews
sues that were involved, no matter how persua- undoubtedly will be among business magnates
sive the appeal to reason, China was always in who will encourage trade with the new friend of
the ranks of the extreme Arabism. There was no the United States. Will Israel be excluded?
Israel's traditional aspirations for amity with
compromising with China when resolutions
the nations of the world should indicate that
condemning the Jewish state were debated.
Israel's trade relations with Taiwan may every effort will be made to invite friendly ges-
have had nothing to do with the Chinese atti- tures from the Chinese who were in enemy
tude. There was more business with the United ranks until now.

Middle East: Global Crisis?

A serious question may well be posed whether
the uncertainties in Iran, the continuing frat-
ricidal events in Lebanon and the effects of the
attitudes of the oil-producing nations may have
a more serious effect on the free world than on
Israel has an assurance that she will be pro-
vided with her oil needs by the United States
and that necessary quantities also will come
from Mexico. But the Iranian civil war directly
affects the free nations and the United States is
confronted with challenges.
There is hardly any doubt that the Soviet

influences may have much to do with the pow-
der kegs that have been set up in that entire
area,. even if they are invisible. The fact is that
Russian intrusions are in evidence in Syria,
where leadership has developed in opposition to
Anwar Sadat's quest for peace, that in Lybia
and Iraq the USSR hope for power in the Per-
sian Gulf is accepted as fact, that Russian
weapons, in use by the PLO against Israel, have
also had their role in the countries now suffer-
ing from fratricidal wars.
The Middle East is in turmoil with dangerous
and damaging effects on the entire world.

Jewish Self-Portrait: 'Letters
of Jews Through the Ages

In his nineties, Dr. Franz Kobler is one of the most active Jewish
archivists and a most brilliant historian whose achievements are in
the gathering of historic letters.
His previous works attested to these skills. Now comes a verita-
ble classic: "Letters of Jews Through the Ages," subtitled "A Self-
Portrait of the Jewish People," (Sanhedrin Press of Hebrew Publish-
ing Co.).
Published in two volumes, totalling 700 pages, two eras are under
consideration: from biblical times to the Renaissance and from the
Renaissance to Emancipation.
Dr. Kobler provides a remarkable account of letter-writing in
history. His lengthy introduction commences with these explanatory
"The land from where Abraham came, ancient Mesopotamia, has
to be regarded as the cradle of letter-writing. Thousands of preserved
clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform writing provide an overwhelm-
ing evidence that long before the beginning of recorded Jewish his-
tory, in the first half of the second millennium BCE, at the time of
Hammurabi, and earlier, royal, private and business letters were
forwarded on the roads of the vast Babylonian empire.
"Also in Egypt, the other powerful neighbor of Palestine, with its
predilection for written records, letter-writing flourished prior to the
entry of Israel on the stage of history. Actually the earliest documents
of Hebrew history are letters written by Egyptian vassals, some petty
kings and governors of Syria, to the Pharaohs Amenophis III and his
successor, Amenophis IV, the famous Akhnaton. -
"These letters, composed in the Babylonian language, the dip-
lomatic idiom of those days, and inscribed in 'cuneiform writing on
hundreds of clay tablets, were discovered in 1888 in Egypt on the site
of Akhnaton's residence, Tell el-Amarna.
"They confirm in an astonishing way the correctness of the bibli-
cal account. For the letters teem with references to the invasion of
Canaan from across the Jordan by the Habiru and Sagaz, and there is
now little doubt that these invaders have to be identified with the
Letters of the times of the Kings, Prophets and makers of the
Talmud, of the Gaonic and Spanish period, of mystics and humanists,
and scores of other eras will fascinate the readers.
An example of the significance of the gathered material is th
letter about "The Prophet Jeremiah: Opens a New Epic in
History by His Epistle to the Exiles in Babylon." This is indicative o
the authoritative scope of a volume replete with such documentaries,
through the ages and the periods under review.
A letter, "Jerusalem Invites Alexandria to Celebrate Hanuka,"
adds another aspect to these letters — the contacts that were retained
by ancient Israel with the Diaspora of that time.
Interestingly, concerned with the period of emancipation, the
second volume commences with the letter, "The Community of
Frankfort's Call for Help in Defending the Hebrew Books Against
Johann Pfefferkorn." Thus the Kobler letters also deal with the perse-
cutions and the Jewish defensive methods against religious prejudice.
There are letters of all descriptions, including exchanges 'be-
tween parents and children, and love letters. "Salamone Candia of
Verona Writes One of the Earliest Extant Jewish Love Letters" is
For completeness in the study of Jewish history a knowledge of
these letters and their contents becomes mandatory. For personal
reading as well as for their use as textbooks, the Kobler letters mark a
very notable contribution to Jewish literature.

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