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January 18, 1980 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-01-18

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t 'SI'S 275-520.

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. Nine Mile, Suite 865. Southfield, Mich. 48075
Second - Class Postage Paid at Southfield, Michigan and Additional Mailing Offices. Subscription $15 a year.

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Sabbath Scriptural Selections

This Sabbath is Rosh Hodesh Shetot, 5740, and the following scriptural selections will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Exodus 6:2-9:35, Numbers 28:1-15. Prophetical portion, Isaiah 66:1-24.

Candle lighting. Friday. Jan. 18. 5:11 p.m.

VOL. LXXVI, No. 20

Page Four

Friday, January 18, 1980


Jewish stature is the primary strength in the
Without adherence to the basic traditions,
to the faith that sustained the people through
trials and tribulations, there would have been a
lessening of power to resist the agonies imposed
by a hostile world.
On the way to the synagogue, the Jew held his
head erect, took pride in a nobility of spirit, had
confidence in the invincibility of a glorious heri-
Now, on the way to the synagogue, that spirit
of the ages retains virility. Yet, there is a de-
cline, and it is the youth that is being searched
in the ranks.
A Gallup poll conducted annually shows, for
the current period, that Catholics and Protes-
tants retained 52 and 40 percentages, respec-
tively of weekly church-goers. For synagogue
attendees, the poll shows a decline in a single
year from 27 percent to 20 percent in Jewish
ranks of devotees.
To ignore the results of such a study would be


How are the results of such a poll to be judged
and how are the people to account for it?
It is common knowledge that Orthodox ranks

have not been depleted, that the Young Israel,
the Kollel, the Lubavitch-Chabad ranks con-
tinue to elicit responses from the younger ele-
ments. They crave for more, but they have an
encouragingly cooperative element in their
What is the situation in Conservative and
Reform ranks? Studies have been introduced by
these two groups to determine the reasons for a
reduction in youth participation. It is in the
interest of a Jewry concerned with responsive-
ness and identification that where there are
shortcomings they should be removed, if there

are obstructions they should be banished; that
the interests needed should be inspired and that
the way to the synagogue should be with pride
and confidence in the people's ability as well as
their will to live and to carry proudly and nobly
the banners of faith and inspiration.
The problem is the entire people and all ranks
must be strengthened. Let it be done with the
opening sentence of the Haftorah for Yom Kip-
pur as the motto:

And God will say, make a path, clear the way,
remove the stumbling-block out of the way of My
people." — Isaiah 57:14.


Increasing responsibilities to retain Israel's
image accompany the peace pact with Egypt. In
spite of the controversies that emerge whenever
there is mention of settlements, new ones will
be established and some will be vitally needed.
Those who will be evacuated from the oases
created in the Sinai by the Israelis will need to
be settled elsewhere and their new homes will
be in new settlements.
Conscious of the accumulating commitments
and aware of the urgency that arose with the
new era of partial peace in the Middle East, the
Jewish National Fund, the agency that pursues
the task of redeeming the soil, now is faced with
two tasks: the settlement of Jews from abroad as
well as Israelis participating in such pioneering
not only on the borders of Israel but especially in
the Negev and the Galil.
Moshe Rivlin, the world chairman of the
Keren Kayemet le Yisrael, the Jewish National
Fund, proposing new programs on behalf of the
land redemption movement, brought to Ameri-

can Jewry the message from the Negev and its
call for settlers and for builders. It was like the
echo of the voice of David Ben-Gurion who al-
ways emphasized the importance of the Negev,
southern Israel, for the state. Of equal impor-
tance is the call for speedy action in settling the
unpopulated area of the Galil. Mr. Rivlin placed
emphasis on the sparsity of Jewish settlers in
northern Israel, where more than 200,000
Arabs, residents and nomads, could overpopu-
late the area and create a serious problem for
Jews turned into a minority. Tens of millions of
dollars will be required to solve the problem of
the Galil and to fulfill the duties in the Negev,
and the message from the world JNF chairman
is therefore of the utmost urgency.
Thus, the JNF, already a vital medium for
action in Israel's behalf, has new duties in an
era of peace with the major Arab power in the
Middle East. The call to action, issued by the
Keren Kayemet, must not be ignored, and ac-
tion must not be delayed.


Interesting bedfellows are on the scene in the
debated issue over the Olympics and the
sportsmanship of participating in them under
Russian domination.

Saudi Arabia has withdrawn from them and
President Jimmy Carter did not rule out the
possibility of American rejection of granting the
Kremlin the right to be host of so important an
event under current tragic conditions created
by the Soviet Union.

The major question is addressed to the 500
American athletes who have been girding for
roles in the world sports activities. They had
trained for them and many refuse to abandon

the anticipated limelight. Their cry is against
mingling.sports with politics.
What about the conscience of man? Is it
troubling many athletes? Are they aware of the
consequences of 1972 in Munich when the
beasts stemming under PLO influence mur-
dered 11 Israelis and are they forgetting the
Hitler role in the 1935 Olympics?
Does an Olympics medal count for more than
a warning to the Soviets that they cannot treat
the human rights of individuals and nations
with contempt? This is a time of testing. A pro-
per word to the Kremlin on the humane issues
may serve well to prevent increased abuse of
international laws.

Agada as Language of Faith
Defined in Relation to Halakha

Agada as the language of faith is interestingly defined by Rabbi

Samuel E. Karff of Houston, Texas, in a volume that gives equal

treatment to Halakha.
Having made Agada a major subject of study in his rabbinic
career, Dr. Karffs current analysis, in "Agada, the Language of
Jewish Faith," is distributed by Ktav for Hebrew Union College
The volume takes into account the indifference that may have
enveloped Jewish ranks, with the resultant drop in Jewish synagogue
attendance, but it doeS not view the emerging conditions as lacking in

devotional attitudes.
There is special interest in Dr. Karffs contrasting comment on
Agada and Halakha in which he states:
"The ancient rabbinic sage used two kinds of speech: Halakha

and Agada. Halakha is the language of Jewish law. It asks and
answers the question: What must a Jew do to fulfill the covenant?

Agada was the language of Jewish faith. It tells the story of God's

relation to man through his relation to the people Israel.
"Halakha defines the proper conduct of a Jew. Agada proclaims

the transcendent meaning and significance of living as a Jew. Its
common form is not legal but narrative.
"The terms Halakha and Agada are talmudic, but they may be

applied to the text of the Hebrew Bible as well. The Ten Command-

ments are Halakha, but the encompassing story of an invisible, com-
manding presence who summoned Moses to Mount Sinai and gave
him the Torah is Agada. The biblical commandment to eat un-
leavened bread is Halakha. The story of God redeeming Hebrew
slaves from Egyptian bondage is Agada. We call the prayerbook used
at the Passover Seder the Hagada (same root as agada) because it tel
the story of a God active in nature and history to make men free.
"Most laments on the decline of rabbinic authority in the modern
world focus on the rabbi's loss of legal (halakhic) authority. Although
the traditional ordination certificate defines him as one authorized to
make judgments on questions of Jewish law, the contemporary rabbi
is not extensively consulted to establish whether or not a chicken or a
business deal is kosher. The lapse of his authority in defining mitzvot
(commandments) has much to do, however, with the lapse of Jewish
faith in a divine commander — a God who communicates His will or
'speaks' to man. Thus the validity of Halakha and Agada are interre-
lated. As agadist the rabbi seeks to affirm the reality of a covenant

between God and Israel."
Emphasizing the inter-relationship of Agada with Halakha,
Rabbi Karff declares: "Liturgical Agada is the language through
which the children of Israel in each generation reaffirm the covenant
of their fathers."
Agada is treated as a language of worship, preaching and conso-


Interlinked with Dr. Karffs study is his proferred answer to the
question of Who Is a Jew, and his commentary on this subject.
lengthily tackled, is thus summarized:
Who is a Jew? The answer of biblical agada is clear: we are a
people whom God called into being and singled out as special wit-
nesses to
His reality, power, and purpose. We are a people to whom
God revealed
Himself as Creator of the World, Teacher of the Way.
and Sovereign of History. We are a people who has experienced the
power of God's judgment and love. We continue to bear witness that
the Source of Life
has ordained a goal for history. By living within the
covenant we make known and may help to advance God's goal for His


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