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October 09, 1981 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-10-09

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Scholar: American Jews Feel Holocaust Is Trivialized

By BEN GALLOB

(Copyright 1981, JTA, Inc.)

A Judaic studies scholar
has reported she is con-
vinced there is a growing
feeling within the Ameri-
can Jewish community that
the Holocaust has been and
continues to be trivialized
and commercialized.
According to Deborah
Lipstadt, professor of
Jewish studies at the Uni-
versity of California at Los

Angeles, there are Jews
who contend there is "too
much Holocaust," that too
much money, time and
energy are being devoted to
its commemoration and
that the attention given to it
is "unhealthy."
Other Jews, she reported,
contend that the Holocaust
has been "commercialized"
by various groups and in-
stitutions for their own pur-
poses and that institutions

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troiter Ronna Fogel) of
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• • •
Sept. 30 — To Dr. Gary
Davidoff and Karen Maltzer
Davidoff of Huntington
Woods, a daughter, Shira
Rivka.

Sept. 29 — To Mr. and
„Mrs. Andrew Silver (Sylvia
Rochlen) of West Bloom-
field, a daughter, Lauren
Nicole.
• • •
Sept. 24 — To Mr. and
Mrs. David Marton (Mau-
reen Amhowitz) of South-
field, a daughter, Dana
Michelle.
• • •

Sept. 24 — To Mr. and
Mrs. Jeff Freedman ( Kaylee
Levine) of West Bloomfield,
a daughter, Marni
Elizabeth.
• • •
Sept. 18 — To Mr. and
Mrs. Dennis Redick (Jac-
queline Zukin) of Far-
mington Hills, a daughter,
Rachel Lynn.
• • •
Sept. 10 — To Dr. and
Mrs. Stuart Stoller (Elisa
Conway) of Birmingham, a
son, Ryan Scott.

Match 15 — To former
Detroiter Dr. Mark Maltzer
and Dr. Bonnie Saks, of
New Haven, Conn., a son,
Eric Justin Maltzer.

and individual careers
"have been built on gross
exploitation of the surge of
Holocaust interest."
She declared it was
"ironical" that such criti-
cisms were emerging "at
a time when the estab-
lishment of legitimate
centers for Holocaust
studies have been held up
by the minute pool of
properly trained candi-
dates?'
Asserting that "chairs in
Holocaust studies at pre-
stigious universities have
remained empty because

srhnl,ars aro no+

oo.t.11:.)..It.

occupy them," Lipstadt de-
clared that "in this regard,
there has been anything but
a surfeit of concern with the
Holocaust."
Writing in the current
issue of "Judaism," the
scholarsly publication of the
American Jewish Congress,
Lipstadt then gave her
evaluations of four areas
"within which the
Holocaust has been either
misused, overused or
abused," identifying the
areas as educational, com-
munal, religious and politi-
cal.
She reported that "many
of the reservations about
the seemingly Holocaust-
centered nature of contem-
porary Jewish activities"
have been voiced. by scho-
lars and students who are
disturbed by the fact that it
is often taught in isolation
from the remainder of
Jewish history.
She warned that such
isolation of the Holocaust
from the Jewish "histori-
cal continuum" was
dangerous but, she said,
it was not as "insidious as
is the tendency among
Jewish lay and religious
leaders to use the
Holocaust as a means of
arousing feelings of la-
tent Jewish identity."
She charged that Jewish
leaders "draw on the articu-
lated sense of guilt that
afflicts many of those who
survived," and, in many
cases, the Jewish leaders
"are not even drawing on
this sense of guilt but trying
to create it" and make their
listeners "more pliable and
responsive."
Lipstadt noted that
among those who have
reacted negatively to the in-

creasing emphasis on the
Holocaust are Orthodox
Jews "who believe that the
Holocaust is being used as a
means of fostering seg-
ments of lapsed tribalism"
among previously indiffe-
rent Jews, described by the
Orthodox as Jews who be-
come adherents of a "civil
religion" based on shared
history and tradition but
not dependent on any "be-
lief in an all-powerful
Deity."
The Holocaust also is
used "as a rationale for, and
a means of, furthering trad-
-1,m."‘i .u0001 v-cialCe. one
said Emil Fackenheim cor-
rectly argued that if Jews
disappeared as a result of
their own post-Holocaust
actions — negative popula-
tion growth, mixed mar-
riage and neglect of tradi-
tion — "they would be com-
pleting Hitler's 'Final Solu-
tion'."

In recent years, Lipstadt
said, this idea has been ex-
panded into an equation
that refusing to grant Hitler
such a posthumous victory
"becomes the rationale for
observing the command-
ments." She cited the ritual
statement that "in every
generation there arise those
who wish to destroy us" as
an axiom long recognized in
Jewish tradition. But, she
said, Judaism "has never
posited this as a reason why
Judaism should survive."

Friday, October 9, 19131

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Briefing German jour-
nalists, officials close to the
chancellor said that such a
visit would not be opportune
in view of the differences of
opinion between Bonn and
Jerusalem, notably on the
issue of establishing and
maintaining Israeli settle-
ments on the West Bank.

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