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January 25, 1980 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-01-25

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

12 Friday, binary 25, 1980

Struggle With Jewish Identity Focus of Hobson Book

(Valdmar)

Hotel

By HEIDI PRESS

U

Internal struggle is the
dominant theme of Laura Z.
Hobson's, "Over and
Above," a new novel pub-
lished by Doubleday and Co.
The book focuses on Amy
Light, the divorced mother
of a college-age, anti-
establishment daughter.
Mrs. Light is the author and
illustrator of children's
books.
It is her struggle within
herself about her Jewish-
ness that makes this book of
interest to a Jewish
readership.

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sented with this image of
Amy:
"She told him what she
could of the family history,
of the French side and the
Russian side, of the inter-
marriages, the agnosticism,
the pervasive inner sense of
being an old American fam-
ily."
The image of the agnostic
remains with Amy for a
good portion of the book, but
events surrounding her
daughter Julie and inci-
dents such as the "Zionism-
is-racism" resolution passed
by the UN and the Entebbe
incident bring about a
change in her attitude.
Julie's relationship with
a wealthy young anti-
Zionist, Danny Gelb, who
involves her in a pro-PLO
demonstration, also helps
strengthen Amy's positive
feelings about her Jewish-
ness.
Witness her reaction
when she learns her
daughter has joined the
pro-PLO march:
"Her head sank forward,
one hand sliding over her
eyes and forehead as if to
shield her from all vision
and all thought. No doubt
mixed into her conclusion,
no possibility that her intui-
tion was wrong. Her own
daughter had joined pub-
licly with the PLO, undoub-

tedly her right as a free citi-
zen, but also a public slap in
her mother's face, a flouting
of her mother's beliefs, a
public taunting of her own
family."
The realization of her
Jewishness grows stronger
as is seen in the following
discussion with her mother:
"I'm always so surprised
when something about Jews
gets to me, as if they were
hitting out at me, Amy,
right at me. It never used to
be so personal, but recently
it's begun to be something
happening not out there but
to me, not in the Middle
East or some far-off place
but right here with me."
As the rescue of the Is-
raeli hostages at Entebbe
is made, Amy feels pride
in being Jewish, a far cry
from the Amy that is in-
troduced at the begin-
ning of the book.
The author states:
"Whatever that new
vision was, she could not
call it by a familiar name,
not Jewishness, not Yid-
dishkeit, not even a reli-
giousness. But it had to do
with all those people called
Jews that she did not know,
would never know, had
never known. Down the cen-
turies they had come,
through inquisitions and

White House Fellows Study
Self-Help New York Hasidim

By BEN GALLOB

(Copyright 1980, JTA, Inc.)

Fifteen White House Fel-
lows, two of them Jews,
were guests of the Council of
Jewish Organizations
(CJO) of Brooklyn's Boro
Park section during a visit
which included a three-hour
tour of the area and the in-
stitutions which serve the
area's 150,000 mostly Or-
thodox and Hasidic Jews,
according to Rabbi David
Greenzweig, CJO president.
White House Fellows are
chosen each year, in a
highly competitive selec-
tion, to work as full-time
employees for one year, at
the federal government, in a
Cabinet level agency, in the
President's office, or with
the Vice President. In most
cases, the Fellows serve as
special assistants in what is
described by the President's
Commission on White
House Fellowships as "a
high-level internship in
government."
The two Jewish Fellows
for 1979-1980 are Anne
Harris Cohn, a 1978-1979
Congressional Science Fel-
low in the office of Rep. Al-
bert Gore, Jr. (D-Tenn.),
sponsored by the American
Association for the Ad-
vancement of Science; and
Rabbi Gordon Tucker,
assistant to the Chancellor
of the JewishTheological
Seminary. W. Landis Jones,
director, participated in the
visit.
The 15 Fellows and
Jones began the all-day
visit with a 45-minute
orientation session at
which Rabbi Morris
Shmidman, CJO execu-
tive director, distributed

a packet of materials and
gave the visitors an over-
view of "the leading Or-
thodox community in the
United States."
The guided tour began
with a visit to the Park
House Hotel, which Asher
Sharf, a Bobover Hasid, had
developed by gutting a
four-story walkup and
building the hotel inside the
shell. Such buildings tend to
decay rapidly, becoming a
threat to housing in adja-
cent areas, Shmidman said.
The hotel has 50 rooms,
each with a kitchenette.
The next stop of the vis-
itors was at a Home for Re-
tarded Young Adults, oper-
ated by the Nshei Ahavas
Chesed, a local volunteer
Orthodox women's organ-
ization. They were greeted
by leaders of the women's
groups and had the oppor-
tunity to watch a recreation
program in action in the
home.
On a visit to the Beth
Jacob School for Girls in
Boro Park, which has 1,400
students, the Fellows were
introduced to the entire
student body.
They were then shown
the new garage of Hat-
zolah, a volunteer organ-
ization of Orthodox Jews
which provides free am-
bulance service to the
community, and the new
Bobover Mesifta, a sec-
ondary school with 1,000
male students.
The final stop on the tour
was at the Kollel Food Cen-
ter, where Rabbi Aaron
Teitelbaum explained bow
the food cooperative helped
to ease the problems of poor
Jewish families.

pogroms and final solutions. still a Jew. At last a Jew."
They had never given in. Laura Z. Hobson's "Over
Always they had remained and Above" is a thought-
Jews. And here was she, provoking book and merits
still an agnostic, still an in- consideration for its value
ternationist, still a believer as contemporary American
in non-sectarianism, and Jewish fiction.

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