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May 25, 1979 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-05-25

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

34r Friday, May 25, 1919

HIAS Gets Plaque Citing
Efforts at Ellis Island

Assembly Prints Commentary on Conservative Judaism

ey ALLEN A. WARSEN

"Conservative Judaism
and Jewish Law," edited by
Seymour Siegel and pub-
lished by the Rabbinical As-
sembly, is the first in a
series of readers on Conser-
vative Judaism.
It consists of selections
from the works of such
thinkers as Louis Ginzberg,
Mordecai M. Kaplan, Ab-
raham Joshua Heschel,
Louis Finkelstein and
others.
The reader is divided into
two parts: "Theories of
Jewish Laws" and
"Responsa and Analyses:

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"BLAZING SADDLES"

Law Guidance." It.includes
an introduction, a glossary
of Hebrew terms, notes on
the contributors, and an
exhaustive index for easy
reference.
In the introduction,
Seymour Siegel, profes-
sor of theology and ethics
at the Jewish Theological
Seminary, notes, "The
observance of Jewish
law has been the main
aim of the Conservative
movement since its very
beginnings." He states
that Zechariah Franlel,
the ideologist of
"Positive-Historical
Judaism," and Solomon
Schechter, who intro-
duced the term "Catholic
Israel" that designates
"All Israel acting as a
spiritual unit," defended
Halakha "against the at-
tacks of the reformers."
Prof. Siegel adds, how-
ever, that certain practices
of the United Synagogue
were modified as a result of
changed times, circum-
stances and conditions. For
instance, segregating
women in the synagogue
was abandoned, prayers in
the vernacular were intro-
duced and the prayer book
was "shortened to remove
redundant and un-
understandable poems and
piyyutim.
Louis Ginzberg, the late
professor of Talmud and
ethics at the Jewish
Theological Seminary and
author of "Legends of the
Jews," in the essay
"Zechariah Frankel:
Positive-Historical
Judaism," examines
Frankel's religious philos-
ophy.
He notes that Frankel de-
fined Judaism as the reli-

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gion of the Jews; stressed
that the law "in the course
of Jewish history became
the specifically Jewish ex-
pression of religiousness;"
considered Hebrew as a holy
language in which the Re-
velation was given and "in
which the Prophets ex-
pressed their high ideals;"
and believed in the restora-
tion of the Jewish people in
their ancestral homeland.

Mordecai M.Kaplan,
founder of the Recon-
structionist movement
and author of the classic
work "Judaism as a
Civilization," proposes in
his essay, "The Problem
of Jewish Law," the re-
construction of the
American Jewish com-
munity into a
voluntarily-organized
body based on a Jewish
constitution to be framed
by a constitutional con-
vention.

Kaplan suggests a king of
a blueprint for a constitu-
tion that would include re-
quirements for admission to
communal membership,
"agreement to marry within
the faith, or to proselytize
the non-Jewish parties to a
marriage," agreement to
provide for such Jewish in-
struction as the community
may deem necessary,
willingness to support fi-
nancially the "Jewish com-
munal functionaries and
provisions for the estab-
lishment of courts of arbi-
tration.

Abraham Joshua Hes-
chel, the late professor of
theology and ethics at the
Jewish Theological Semi-
nary and author of "God in
Search" and "The Theology
of Ancient Israel," inter-
prets in his essay "Toward
an Understanding of
Halakha" the meaning of
observance. He writes:
"Frequently where con-
cepts fail, where rational
understanding ends, the
meaning of observance be-
gins. Its purpose is not es-
sentially to serve hygiene,
happiness, ar vitality of
man; its purpose is to add
holiness to hygiene, gran-

deur to happiness, spirit to
vitality."
He maintained that God
"gives man not only 'life,'
but also a 'law;' that His will
is to be served, not only
adored; 'obeyed' not only
`worshipped.' "
Herschel differentiates
between mitzvot and
ceremonies: "Cere-
monies are like the moon,
they have no light of their
own. Mitzvot on the other
hand, are expressions of
the will of God."
Louis Finkelstein, chan-
cellor emeritus of the
Jewish Theological Semi-
nary and author of "The
Pharisses" and "Akiba:
Scholar, Saint and Martyr,"
commences his essay
"Judaism as a System of
Symbols" by relating the
talmudic story of the pagan
who asked Hillel to teach
him "the whole of the Torah
in as short a time as I can
stand on my leg and I will
become a proselyte."
Hillel replied, "The whole
of the Torah consists of the
commandment, 'Do to no
one what is distasteful to
thee.' All the rest is com-
mentary. Proceed to study
it."
Finkelstein comments,
"Hillel's concept of the
Torah as commentary to the
commandment to love one's
neighbor implied, I believe,'
the belief that all of
Judaism is either a sym-
bolic way of expressing that
commandment, or a valida-
tion of it."
Equally profound is Fin-
kelstein's interpretation of
the concepts "fear of God"
and "love of God." The
former he interprets as
man's awareness of the
Lord, the latter as man's
unbounded "emotional at-
tachment" to Him.

Holiday Films

NEW YORK — The
Board of Jewish Education
of Greater New York is of-
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more than 45 different print
and media materials to
enhance the celebration of
Jerusalem Day and study
about the Jewish state.

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15 MILE RD.

NEW YORK — A plaque
commemorating the half-
century role played by
HIAS on Ellis Island in as-
sisting immigrant Jews to
come to the United States
was dedicated recently, in
the presence of members of
Congress, government offi-
cials and Jewish communal
leaders.
The presentation was
made by Jack D. Weiler,
chairman of the board of the
Joint Distribution Commit-
tee. It was accepted for the
government by Robert
Mendelsohn, assistant sec-
retary of the interior. Join-
ing Weiler and Mendelsohn

Labor Leader
Cited on Behalf
of Israel Bonds

WASHINGTON, D.C. —
William H. Winpisinger,
president of the Interna-
tional Association of
Machinists and Aerospace
Workers, AFL-CIO, was
honored at a national
industry-labor union dinner
on behalf of State of Israel
Bonds.
Winpisinger received the
Prime Minister's Medal.
The presentation was made
by Ephraim Evron, Israel
Ambassador to the United
States.

Window Exhibit

NEW YORt. — A stained
glass triptych, created from
a design by the Israeli ar-
tist, Shalom of Safed, will be
shown at the Jewish
Museum through Oct. 8.
The windows were commis-
sioned by Moshe Safdie for
his Porat Yoseph Yeshiva,
opposite the Western Wall
in Jerusalem.
Forty paintings in temp-
era and acrylic, concerned
with the Hebrew Bible and
hasidic tales, are on loan
from public and private col-
lections, presenting a full
spectrum of the artist's
work.

Two Bnai Brith
Appointments

WASHINGTON — Susan
Shaffer, assistant executive
director at the Jewish
Community Center at
Tidewater, Va., will join the
Bnai Brith International
staff as coordinator of pro-
grams and activities.
Dr. Howard Aytan
Stromberg of Pittsburgh
will become Bnai Brith's di-
rector of research and plan-
ning.

during the proceedings
were Edwin Shapiro, Carl
Glick, Gaynor I. Jacobson,
and Harry M. Friedman of
HIAS.
Ellis Island served not
only as a processing area for
immigrants, but also as a
detention center for those
undergoing investigation or
marked for deportation be-
cause of illness or likelihood
of becoming public charges.
HIAS maintained kosh
kitchens there to feed tal"'
Jewish immigrants.

New Programs
Recommended -
by Educators

NEW YORK — A call to
pay attention to the gifted
as well as to children with
learning disabilities, the
adoption of a program to in-
crease high school enroll-
ment in Hebrew day
schools, and an invitation to
lay leaders in the Hebrew
day school movement to
promulgate a better system
of job security for teaching
and administrative person-
nel were some of the key
recommendations accepted
by nearly 500 principals of
Hebrew day schools in
attendance at the annual
convention of the National
Conference of Yeshiva
Principals, held recently in
Fallsburg, N.Y.
In addition to plenary
sessions there were work-
shops dealing with indi-
vidualized instruction,
minimum competency
standards, the teaching of
prayer, the use of computers
in Hebrew studies, integra-
tion of secular studies, and
federation funding for He-
brew day schools.

Debate Leads
to Israel Trip



JERUSALEM (JTA) —
An argument over the es-
sence of the Israel-Arab con-
flict in a high school class in
one of Montreal's poverty-
stricken neighborhoods
brough an entire class of 34
Christian pupils to Israel in
an attempt to learn first-
hand about the country's
problems.
The idea came up during
a class debate in a lesson on
modern history. The class
members decided to spend
the next few months raising
money to finance a trip to
Israel. In addition to other
sources, the class received a
donation from Montreal's
Jewish community.

Jewish Employee
Barnard Students Service Seeks
to Receive Credit New Members
Students

NEW YORK —

at Barnard College can now
elect courses in Bible, Tal-
mud and Jewish History
which are being taught at
the neighboring Seminary
College of Jewish Studies.
Those taking the courses
will receive credit toward
their Barnard degrees.

Some .96 percent of
Mexico's 45,000-50,000
Jews live in Mexico City.

The Na-
NEW YORK
tional Jewish Civil Service
Employees, Inc., a welfare
and fraternal organization
of Jewish city, county, state
and federal employees, is
seeking new members.
Herman R. Fiarman is na-
tional president.
Interested employees
should contact Fiarman,
7075 N. Paulina, Chicago,
Ill., 60626.



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