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February 16, 1979 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-02-16

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

A Convert. With Deep Convictions

By RABBI SAMUEL
M. SILVER

(A Seven Arts Feature)

NEW YORK — Is there
such a thing as a bona fide
convert to Judaism? Are
there people who have
joined the Jewish faith out
of genuine conviction?
One such is written up
vividly in the Yiddisher
Kempfer, the weekly organ
of the American Labor
Zionist movement. His
-name is now Yochanan Ar-
non.
He was born Willie Ar-
nold in Basel, Switzerland,
grandson of a Lutheran
minister, son of a Swiss ar-
tist.
Willie observed that in
Switzerland, supposedly
a liberal country,

Threat of Islamic
Militancy Focus
of M.E. Experts

TEL AVIV (JTA) — The
emergence of Islamic mili-
tancy as a political force in
Iran and possibly other
Moslem countries poses a
threat not only to Israel and
the Middle East but ulti-_
mately to American inter-
ests and the entire Western
world, according to a group
of Israeli social scientists
and experts on Middle East-
ern affairs at Tel Aviv Uni-
versity.
The current_moves to es-
tablish an Islamic republic
in Iran and its repercus-
sions were the subjects of
discussion at a symposium
on current events at the
university.
Prof. Shimon Shamir,
head of the department of
Middle Eastern and African
history, warned that the
winds of Islamic fanaticism
may blow all the way from
Iran to MoroCco.
Islam is not inherently
in conflict with Israel or
Judaism and, in fact, they
have much in common
culturally. But the brand
of Islamic militancy that
has emerged in Iran has
taken a decidedly anti-
Jewish, anti-Israel turn,
he said.
The discussants attrib-
uted these developments in
Iran and other countries of
the region to the shock of
exposure to Western culture
by societies that had re-
mained static for many cen-
turies and the attendant
shattering of traditional
structures without any new,
strong framework to replace
them.

Catholics harrassed Pro-
testants and Protestants
often ridiculed Jews. He
was upset by this, but his
curiosity about Judaism
was whetted.
He began to study the
faith, became infatuated
with it and with Zionism,
and was delighted to learn
that he and political
Zionism were both born in
Basel.
Eventually he persuaded
a rabbi to convert him, and
he went off to Israel, where
he worked on a kibutz and
soaked up Hebrew. In Tel
Aviv he fell in love with the
daughter of a rabbi who
originally hailed from
Alexandria. He married her
and she and his new father-
in-law inspired him to be-
come a student of Hebrew
literature.
Now, in his 30s, he is so
knowledgeable and eru-
dite that he has been ap-
pointed librarian of the
huge Ahad Ha-am Li-
brary in Tel Aviv.

Cypriot Visit

JERUSALEM (JTA) —
George Pelaghias, director
general of the Cypriot
Foreign Ministry, has com-
pleted a two-day official
visit to Israel.
Although Pelaghias is not
considered a policy-maker,
political observers in
Jerusalem noted the impor-
tance of the visit, the first by
a senior Cypriot official.
The two countries have -full
diplomatic relations, but
the relations are cool. Cyp-
rus does not have a resident
mission in Israel.

He wears a knitted yar-
mulke at work.
His Lutheran parents
were irked by his decisions.
But gradually they have be-
come reconciled to their
son's Jewishness and even
have learned Hebrew in
order to be able to com-
municate with their four Is-
raeli grandchildren (a fifth
is en route) when they visit
Israel.

Paper Reveals Reverse Aliya

TEL AVIV (ZINS) —
Haaretz correspondent
Shlomo Shamir believes
that American Jews are in-
different to aliya - because
Israeli leaders visiting the
U.S. refuse to raise the
question.
He reported that in 1976,
some 2,545 Americans set-
tled in Israel, but 2,334
American olim returned to
the U.S.

In 1977, 2,451 Americans
went to Israel and 3,028 re-
turned to America. In the
first 10 months of 1978, the
figures were 2,555 and
2,822.

Friday, February 16, 1919 19
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Best-selling authors continue to visit
and talk with the public at iBrowse.

Jews, God and History was a best-
seller several years ago. Now author
Max Dimont returns with his contro-
versial and highly praised perspective
in The Jews.in America (Simon &
Schuster).
Friday evening, February 23rd,
Max Dimont will be at iBrowse Book-
store from 7 to 9 p.m. to meet the
public and discuss his views.
His new book begins with the ar-
rival of the Sephardic Jews in 1654
and builds to a sweeping look at Jews
in modern America. Dimont believes
that Jewish history has been power-
fully shaped and changed by the
American experience, and that the
future holds promises both wonderful

and terrible.
While you're at iBrowse you should
also see the Doubleday series, Art for
Children, a beautiful and clear pre-
sentation of the world's great artists
and their masterpieces for young
readers. These and 4,000 other chil-
dren's books are an important part of
the 40,000 titles at iBrowse.
Come. February 23rd. Meet Max
Dimont, another interesting author
coming to iBrowse.

.

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NY Hotel to Be
Elderly Housing

NEW YORK (JTA) — A
loan of about $6 million to
convert the Manhattan
Beach Hotel in Brooklyn to
a housing complex for the
elderly has been approved
for the Jewish Association
for Services for the Aged
(JASA) by the federal De-
partment of Housing and
Urban Development.
Some 370 rooms will be
turned into 150 efficiency
and one-bedroom apart-
' ‘ments.
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