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December 26, 1980 - Image 56

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-12-26

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56 Friday, December 26, 1980

Rabbi RichardHertz s Roots of My Faith' Combines

Emphasis --
,-, Views of World, Jewish Issues in Spiritual


Dr. Richard C. Hertz has
a weekly platform at Tem-
ple Beth El, on the pulpit as
senior rabbi as well as in the
synagogue bulletin. He has
utilized it with distinction,
as evidenced in his 215-page
"Roots of My Faith: Reflec-
tions on. the Jewish Scene
In fact, his reflections are
also on the world scene. He
responds to the basic human
problems in his new book.
In his preface to this book,
in which he defines his
"editorial role" in the tem-
ple bulletin, he states:

"What does it mean to
be an American Jew in a
large metropolitan Re-
form congregation? How
does one take Judaism
seriously in the suburbs?

"In reviewing the col-
umns of the critical 1970s,
discovered that my edito-
rials followed a certain pat-
tern of diversity yet unity of
thought. Some were devoted
to concerns for Israel and its
welfare, others to Reform
Judaism and its meaning
for today's world. Still
others, inspired by Holy
Days, applied the message
of the Jewish tradition to
the issues of the day. Not a
few dealt with controversial
subjects on which I hold.


strong convictions. Finally,
some were personal in deal-
ing with the rabbi's role in
today's synagogue world.

"The one theme running
through them, like a thread
in a tapestry, is taking
Judaism seriously. These
sparks from the '70s are re-
minders of our Jewish iden-
tity and contain basic
Jewish thought for these
times. They are the roots of
my faith." --
This is a proper self-
analysis and a good sum-
- mary of the many scores of
brief articles which fill this
volume, underscoring is-
sues, ideas, vital problems
that have challenged world
Jewry and mankind.

"I believe it is a mistake political discussions and
Rabbi Hertz under- or whom others consider
to insist on a single defini- one of the brief essays
devotes to be a Jew.
2) A Jew is one who tion of the question, What is deals with the so-called
numerous items to the
progress made by Re- accepts the faith of a Jew? I believe a Jew is one "Jewish vote," in which
who accepts the faith of he writes: "It is time to
form Judaism and to the Judaism.
as his own. But a drop the appeal to the
special achievements at
be one who re- Jewish vote. Stop the
Temple Beth El. He deals lows the Jewish way of
gards the traditions and competing protestations
extensively with the is- life.
4) A Jew may be a Jew teachings of the Jewish over Israel. Stop maki"
sues affecting Israel and
his advocacy of justice by virtue of birth or by people as his own — its Israel a political food
ethics, its folkways, its lit- Enough already abt,..,c
for the embattled state conversion.
erature. That is a cultural the Jewish vote. Let's get
lends priority of interest
-on with the debate over
to many of the articles by his own decision to definition.
"A still more practical the real issue."
dealing with the Middle identify himself with the
definition is the one in
Jewish people.
Rabbi Hertz also poses
6) A Jew may be a Jew common usage: a Jew is the question "Are the Jews
Also understandably, Dr. by birth, by religion, by one who considers him-
Hertz devotes at least three culture, by nationality or self a Jew or is so re- Tired of Being Liberals?"
and he states: "No matter
of his articles to the oft- by peoplehood.
garded by others."
who sits in the Oval Office of
repeated questions of who is
a Jew, what is a Jew, the "The term 'Jew' obviously It should be noted in this the White House, there is no
Jew's duties to himself and means different things in connection that Rabbi Hertz reversal in the tradition
his people. In this category different places. In Israel does not ignore a single Jewish involvement on
he has one, "Who Is a Jew," the world 'Jew' involves Is- issue that has been on the eral -positions held jointiy
in whiCh he lists the specific raeli political citizenship.
calendar of Jewish con- with other groups whose
-cerns, that he deals with the interests coincide with
In the USSR it involves
nces relating to the Jews."
ethnic nationality. In the experiences
"Discussion has raged USA it involves religious
Whether it is the hunt for
over the controversial deci- identification in something presence here and in Israel.
, This is true- of matters re: Nazi criminals or the bus-
sion of Israel's High Court of the way American
concerning Benjamin Shal- Catholics are American by lating to Church and State, ing problem, affirmative
lit's challenge to the tradi- citizenship and Catholic by
Ecumenism, in a special a score of other matters of
tional definition that a Jew religion.
of the book, is . interest to a modern corn-
is one born of a Jewish
munity, Dr. Hertz deals
"However, in the USSR noteworthy.
mother or a convert to
with them. His volume is,
"I believe there can be neither political, as in Is- towards Israel is not ig- indeed, like a lexicon of
more than one definition of rael, nor is it religious, as in • nored and Dr. Hertz deals vital information that can
the word "Jew," like the fol- the USA; their identifica- effectively with the massive enlighten not only Jews but
lowing: tion is of an ethnic char- animosity towards the the non-Jewish community
as well.
1) A Jew is one who acter. They belong to the Jewish state.
He is not a stranger to .
considers himself a Jew Jewish minority group.

'On the Banks of the Suez' Tells Story of the Yom Kippur War


"During the Yom Kippur
War, I commanded an ar-
mored division that fought
on the Egyptian front. At
the outset of this war we
were taken by surprise, and
the mistakes we made cost -
us dearly. We lost many of
our soldiers early in the
"In spite of these unfortu-
nate conditions at the start,
we managed to hold our
own, we were able to recover
quickly and launch a coun-
terattack. When we were fi-
nally stopped, 18 days later,
_ our forces were 40 kilomet-
ers (25 miles) from Damas-
cus, Syria, and 100 kilomet-
ers (62 miles) froin Cairo,
"It is understandable,
therefore, that at the end of
the fighting, I felt that our
army had excelled in this
war. I sensed that the
morale among the rank and
file was also high."
The above passage is
from the "Introduction"
of Avraham (Bren)
Adan's memoir "On the
Bank of the Suez"
(Presidio Press).
Adan commences his war
memoir by describing a
meeting of the Israeli miii-

tary commanders at Gen-
eral Headquarters on the
morning of Oct. 6, 1973 at
which the director of mili-
tary intelligence, Maj. Gen.
Eli Zei'ira, reported, "The
underlying assessment of
Israeli Intelligence was that
the armed forces of the Arab
nations were still unpre-
pared for war; hence the
probability of war seemed
very low."
The same day, the Egyp-
tians and Syrians launched
their surprise attacks.
Adan, the commander of
the Sinai Armored Division
that constructed the so-
called Bar-Lev Line in 1968,
describes graphically the
Egyptian surprise crossing
of the Suez Canal and the
enormous casualties the Is-
raelis suffered.
He also recounts the
situation on the Syrian
front that was very seri-
ous at the beginning of
the war. But, there, the
Israeli armed forces
quickly recovered, reor-
ganized, consolidated
their ranks, and coun-
terattacked. Before long,
they destroyed 1,200 out
of the 1,800 Syrian tanks,
and drove the enemy al-
most to the city limits of

It was not surprising,
therefore, that the Syrians
demanded that the Egyp-
tians intensify and widen
their offensive on their front
in order to prevent the Is-
raeli Defense Forces from
concentrating "its main ef-
forts (especially the air
force) on the Syrian front."
Similarly, the situation of
the Israelis on the Egyptian
front soon improved. There,
in a single day, the Israelis
knocked out 400 tanks and
downed ma.Ay giant helicop-
ters and planes.
Curiously, during an Is-
raeli deceptive maneuver,
Shazli, the Egyptian chief of
staff, was "one of the first to
Remarkably, despite
the minefields, heavy
shellings and Katyusha
rockets, the Israelis
crossed the Suez Canal,
causing the enemy to flee
and scatter in all direc-
tions. Within hours, re-
ports Adan, the Israeli
forces advanced "on the
road, westward, deep
into Egypt."
Notwithstanding, the
many casualties their ar-
mies suffered, the Syrian
and Egyptian presidents

declined suggestions by
Soviet Premier Kosygin and
the British ambassador for
a cease-fire, even though
they told Sadat "that the
Americans had brought
pressure to bear on Israel
until it had, unwillingly,
agreed to a cease-fire at the
t re-
present position. Sada
plied angrily: 'Egypt will
riot agree to a cease-fire
while its forces are advanc-
Nevertheless, a few days
later, Sadat "reluctantly"
consented to a cease-fire. He
justified his decision by
blaming not only the Is-
raelis but also the Ameri-
cans for the Egyptian mili-
tary reversals.
The Egyptians, however,
violated the cease-fire as
soon as it went into effect.
Adan, the military
strategist and -tactician,
who remembers and de-
scribes vividly the battles
he commanded, also re-
members and portrays
Some of the men who
fought side-by-side with
him. The following story
is about one of them: -
"The most colorful
member of the group was
my driver, Big Moussa, who
lived in a kibutz in the
Negev. He liked to hunt and
would bring his rifle to
every exercise so he could go
out and bring us some game
for our bonfires at night. He
always had everything with
him you could think of:
cooking oil, onions, salt,
plates. He could even im-
provise a field shower from
captured equipment if we
needed it.

an officer while Moussa
was just a sergeant who
knew nothing of tactical
"After the fighting ended,
while we were still in a state
of cease-fire, Moussa — who
was •already over 40 --
asked to attend a tank
commanders' course. Per-
mission was granted on
condition that he continue
to serve with the forward
command group."
While Adan commanded
an armored division, his son
Omer fought on the front
"He was a superb driver, lines; 18-year-old daughter
one of those who make you Netta served in the Gaza
feel that if the vehicle Strip; and 16-year-old
wouldn't move under its daughter Talila together
own power, he would push it with her classmates, dug
where it had tog°. However, trenches each day from
in order to preclude any early morning until noon.
It should be pointed out
such contingency he was
helped by another that the Egyptians, by vio-
kibutznik, Giora, a driver lating the cease-fire, forced
the Israelis to intensify
and a first-rate mechanic.
"There were some in Is- their attacks. In add'
rael who called the Yom they encircled the Egy i
Kippur War the war of the Third Army, causing the -`
fathers and the sons . . . enemy to ask for -a cease-
Just a couple of kilometers fire. The Israelis, at first, re-
in front of my forward com- fused to consent to one
mand group, a young officer pressured by Secreta. f
was fighting . . Moussa's State Kissinger, they
grudgingly agreed to stop
son . . .
the fighting.
Avraham Adan, born in
"Sometimes when he
had the opportunity in Israel, at age 17 joined the
the evening, Moussa Palmach. During the War of
would hop over for a Independence he com-
visit, and when he re- manded an infantry com-
turned he would relate pany and in the Yom Kip- C
the arguments he had pur War, at first, served as
had with his son. Moussa commander of an armored
would question some of division on the 'Egyptian
the orders he heard his front, and toward the end of
son issue over the radio; the war assumed command
his son would then see fit over the entire southern
to remind him that he was front.

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