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May 11, 1979 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-05-11

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2 Friday, May 11, 1919 •


Purely Commentary

The American Red Cross
and Israel's Magen David Adorn

American Red Corss leaders have proven that the
principle of fair play is not dead in this country.
The invitation extended by the American Red Cross to
Israel's Magen David Adorn, the equivalent of the Red
Cross, contributes towards righting a wrong that has irri-
tated relations between Israel and the International Red
While recognizing the Red Crescent, the Moslem Red
Cross, and other similar movements, Israel's Red Cross
movement undoubtedly was discriminated against by the
lack of recognition from the world Red Cross ranks.
There is cooperation between the two and the Interna-
tional Red Cross operates in Israel. But it seems as if the
American Red Cross is the only branch of the great move-
ment to have extended a hand of friendship to the Israeli
This is not the first gesture of friendship and coopera-
tion to have been proferred to Magen David Adorn by the
American Red Cross. In Michigan, a leading executive in
the American movement, Duane E. Johnson, has appeared
on platforms of the MDA. He has propagated and pleaded
for MDA's inclusion in the world Red Cross ranks. He has
befriended the greater Detroit Jewish community and has
cheered its support of the Magen David Adorn.
It is from such efforts that the eventual acceptance of
Israel's Magen David Adorn in world Red Cross ranks is
certain to be achieved eventually.

The Death Penalty: The Jewish
Rejection of the New Trends

An angry world is reacting to the crimes that have
dragged mankind into the jungle. Therefore the apparent
endorsement of the death penalty as punishment for the
many cruelties that have turned humans into beasts.
Horrified by the bestialities perpetrated by Arab ter-
rorists, Israel's Prime Minister approved the adoption of
capital punishment and the idea was approved by the Israel
Cabinet. It was not a unanimous vote. It recalled similar
proposals to the Israel Knesset in the early 1950s. Pro-
posals for resort to the death penalty were made and with-
drawn several times. Only in the instance of Adolf
Eichmann's guilt as the Nazi who put into effect the mass
murder of Jews under Hitlerism was the death penalty put
into effect in July of 1962.
Britain's Premier-elect Mrs. Margaret Thatcher made
capital punishment one of her campaign slogans. It will be
recalled that a campaign to abandon the death penalty was
instituted in England by Arthur Koestler. He wrote a book
on the subject, pleaded against the penalty of death and
Will the British action of some 20 years ago be re-
versed? Will the Knesset endorse the decision of Begin's
The debates will be interesting, public opinion will be
divided, the ultimate actions may again be against legislat-
ing to take life for life.
It is true that the Israeli proposal is to impose the death
penalty upon those responsible for cruelties, for the ex-
tremest acts of terrorism. Nevertheless, there are basic
Jewish principles not to be ignored or forgotten.
While there were indeed, four ascribed methods of
punishments by death, in ancient times --stoning, burn-
ing, slaying_and_strangling — basic Jewish idealism rejects
resort to the death penalty.
There is a basic principle, and it affects all our actions.
It is affirmed in Mishna Makkot (1:10), which is quoted
below by Prof. George Foote Moore.
It is related in the traditions set forth in the Talmud
that the death penalty had not been imposed in ancient
Israel since the year 30 of the present era — some 40 years
before the destruction of the Temple.
Even according to the strictest interpretation of ancient
Jewish law which prescribed death for various offenses,
such a verdict could be rendered only by a court of 23 judges
and if one of them dissented the sentence could not be
imposed. The law also required that two witnesses had to be
produced who actually saw the criminal commit his crime.
Discussing codes of justice in Jewish traditions, Prof.
Moore, in his classic three-volume "Judaism," reviewed
ancient procedures followed by Jews, and he also referred to
the mishnaic comments we have quoted. He made these
interesting analyses of the penalties, convictions and the
imposition of the death penalty:
"In the deliberations of the judges considera-
tions tending to acquittal were given precedence.
The decision was by a majority; a majority of one
acquitted, but for conviction there must be a -
majority of at least two. Even when the con-
demned man was on the way to the place of execu-
tion, if he or anyone else had anything to offer in
defense, he was recalled and the new evidence
taken. Once acquitted, however, he could not a
second time be put in jeopardy, whatever new

American Red Cross in Ranks of Justice-Seeking
in Behalf of Magen David Adorn ... Death Penalty
Again an Issue for Decisions in Britain, Israel,.

evidence against him might come to light.
"It is clear that with such a procedure convic-
tion in capital cases was next to impossible, and
that this was the intention of the framers of the
rules is equally plain. The Mishna itself brands a
court which executes one man in seven years as
ruinous. R. Eleizer B. Azariah said 'one in 70
years.' R. Tarfon and R. Akiba said, 'If we had
been in the Sanhedrin, no man would ever have
been put to death,' on which R. Simeon ben
Gamaliel makes the obvious reflection, 'They
would multiply murderers in Israel.' It should be
observed, however, that when the court was con-
vinced of the guilt of the accused, though the evi-
dence did not warrant his conviction and execu-
tion, they might imprison him on bread and water.
There are the phrases "obvious reflection" and "the
intention of the framers" in the explanatory notes by
the eminent Christian which indicate the firm intent of the
rabbinic procedures against the death penalty. Prof.
Moore's interpretive comments add weight to our conten-
tion that capital punishment had no place in Jewish tradi-
tions, and the intentions of Jewish courts of law were to rule
against it.
How will humankind react to the pressures for
reinstitution of the death penalty?
Would the people of Michigan, for example, who have
reason to be proud of the fact that this state pioneered more
than a century ago, in outlawing capital punishment, re-
vert to it because there are more crimes on the police blot-
Hopefully, the extreme in punishment will not be re-
sorted to in efforts to curb crimes. There are many other
compelling ways of dealing with terror and terrorists.
These are interesting times, and the debate over the
death penalty will add to the human factors that control the
minds of human beings.

By Philip

During the ensuing years, Berry shared in respon-
sibilities to his synagogue, to the educational agencies, to
the Jewish National Fund, to Israel Bonds.
Now the Hebrew University honors him for many de-
cades of devotion to Israel and Jewry. The Scopus Award is
well earned by this year's Hebrew University honoree.

Louis Berry's Creditable Record
as a Leader in Philanthropy

On the occasion of the presentation of the Scopus
Award of the Hebrew University to Louis Berry, the hon-
oree's record as a leader in philanthropic activities can be
interestingly recorded.
This marks the 30th anniversary of Berry's chairman-
ship of an Allied Jewish Campaign. When he was chosen to
head the 1949- Campaign, in that cruciaLsecond year of
Israel's sovereignty as a national entity, Berry was the
bearer of messages from the displaced persons who had
survived the Nazi terror.
He had visited the DP camps with the late Joe
Holtzman, and the two emerged among the most inspired
leaders in the Greater Detroit Jewish community. Their
inspiration stemmed from their experiences in witnessing
the death camps, in meeting with the survivors and then
from their visit in Israel during the trying years of the new
state's welcome to hundreds of thousands of immigrants,
the obligations to house and feed them and to integrate
them into an-economy that could only flourish with the aid
of American Jewry.

Charles Angoff, the Jewish
Patriot in Literary Ranks

Charles Angoff was so deeply devoted to his people that
he could be described as a leading patric4 in Jewish literary' —
His seven novels were mostly autobiographical and his
self-analyses were as a Zionist, as one totally fascinated by
Jewish teachings, by the ethical codes in Jewish life.
He did everything that could be expected from a
loyalist: he opposed intermarriage, he urged aliya to Israel,
he pleaded for Jewish education.
He was popular on the platform and Jewish audiences
loved him.
He was often in the company of Meyer Levin and both
shared a Jewish idealism.
Having worked closely with H.L. Mencken, as a co-editor
of American Mercury, he knew his boss well. In his descrip-
tion of him he sensed the anti-Jewishness of his boss who
judged him as a great editor.
About Charles Angoff it can be said "olov ha-sholom" —
peace unto his memory, with a Jewish connotation: because
he was the most Jewish among American writers who are
Jewish. And he was, at the same time, a good American.
Olov ha-sholom!

Orthodox Vaad's 50th Anniversary:
Its Pioneering Personalities

Greater Detroit's community history is interestingly
annotated in the recollections of the growth of the Vaad
Harabonim, the Council of Orthodox Rabbis.
Reconstructing the half-century of activities, at the
50th anniversary dinner next week, the role of a number of
noted personalities will be recalled. The Vaad's organizers
included the then nationally prominent Rabbi E. Ashinsky,
who was a national Mizrachi leader and a spokesman for
American Jewry. Ezekiel Aishishkin, another organizer,
was popular as an orator of brevity. Rabbis Moses Fischer
and Joseph Eisenman were scholars and activists and their
participation in the founding of the Vaad was significant.
Only one of the pioneers who were among the founding
rabbis is still among the living.
He is Rabbi Isaac Stollman who now resides in
Jerusalem. With his brothers, Phillip and Max Stollman,
he was a co-founder of Bar-Ilan University. He served as
national president of Mizrachi, the Orthodox Zionist
movement. Scholar and orator, he is one of the most revered
leaders in American Orthodoxy who continues his devo-
tional labors in Israel.
The Vaad has many programs in behalf of traditional
Judaism which will receive their earned acclaim at the
anniversary banquet.

Fresh Air Boosting Israel Tourist Industry


(Copyright 1979, JTA, Inc.) •

Oxygen may breathe new
life in to the tourism indus-
try of Israel. It should be
said that tourism in Israel
at present is vital even
without it, but any increase
is valuable. Tourism in the
past year is reported to have
netted Israel some $600 mil-
Recently the New York
Times ran a story about
psoriasis. It reported that
many Europeans with that
disease are experiencing
miraculous cures in the
Dead Sea area. The cures
there are attributed to the
high oxygen content of the
Dead Sea air, and the
treatment has no side af-
Oxygen, of course, has
been around a long time,
but no one seemed to take
much notice of it until about
the time of the American
Revolution, when La Voi-
sier in France and an
Englishman, Dr. Priestly,

who later immigrated to
America, discovered it. The
discovery of oxygen really
started the science of
Israel seems to have
some affinity for that sci-
ence. Dr. Chaim Weiz- -
mann, the first President
of Israel, was a world re-
nowned chemist and Ep-
hraim Katzir, a more re-
cent President, is also a
distinguished chemist.
Oxygen, of course, is
available for other things
than skin disease. Heart
conditions are aided by oxy-
gen. It is valuable for our
lungs. It is the prime essen-
tial of the body — an all-
around health requisite.
It is good to see Israel be-
coming something of a
health resort. Many people
are visiting the Dead Sea
area. After all, the prophets
of Israel not only looked to
the ideals of social justice
and peace, but also to medi-
cal improvement. Isaish
spoke of the time when if a

person died at 100, people you don't need an overcoat.
Sometimes some single
would say "an infant has
thing may spur great de-
passed away."
When the first Jewish velopment. Cotton changed
settlements in Eretz Israel the whold picture of the
were made — in the pre- southern states in America.
Herzl days, there was much Cotton was unknown in the
talk of finding some article South in the days of Georg(
which would bring some Washington, but a genera-
foreign exchange to the tion later it dominated the
country. At the time, the South.
general opinion seemed to
In 1849, some gold was
be that the solution to the found in California and
problem might be the de-
there was the Gold Rush
velopment of the wine in- from all parts of the coun-
dustry. At least it was hoped try. Most of those coming
that good Jews throughout found no gold, but coming,
the world would prize the they liked California and it
Israeli wine.
grew rapidly.
Later, the settlers
The development of
turned to the cultivation tourism will also help the
of the citrus fruits. Israel general cause of peace.
began to supply many na-
Many going to Israel will
tions with Vitamin C.
also go to Egypt. In fact,
After that came 'Vitamin today we hear of many
See' — the development Israelis anxious to visit
of tourism.
Egypt. Egypt needs the
Israel has many assets for spur of tourism as much
the development of tourism
as Israel.
— there are the religious,
A little oxygen might do
the historical associations,
the climate attractions — wondrous things.

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