THE JEWISH NEWS
Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with the issue of July 20, 1951
The Jewish News Publishing Co.
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CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ
Editor and Publisher
Associate News Editor
Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the ninth day of Kislev. 5742, the following scriptural selections will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Genesis 28:10-32:3.
Prophetical portion, Hosea 12:13-14:10.
Candlelighting, Friday, Dec. 4, 4:43 p.m.
VOL. LXXX, No. 14
Friday, December 4, 1981
THE END OF A CHAPTER
THE LANDSM ANSCHAFTEN
the Joint Distribution Committee, Hadassah,
An important chapter in Jewish social - reli-
and other_ organizations, and to oppose anti-
gious - tzedaka experiences is coming to an end.
The landsmanschaften are disappearing; the Semitism and discrimination in its varied
landsleit of a long era of solidarity among im- forms.
"Despite the decline in the membership and
migrant Jews is nearing an end.
It is a chapter clothed in glory and will there- activities of the landsmanschaften after 1930,
fore be remembered nostalgically, with admira- due in part to the dying off of the immigrant
tion. generation, hundreds of thousands of
There must have been more than 100 such European-born Jews still belonged to land-
groups in the Detroit area alone some 50 years smarischaft societies in the period immediately
ago. Now their remnants, their survivors, can prior to World War II. European anti-Semitism
be counted on the fingers of one hand. stimulated the formation of many central land-
Demise of the Turover draws attention to this smanschaften which attempted both to assist
occurrence in American Jewish history. The their harassed landsleit overseas and to bring
Landsmanschaft was not limited to the United groups of immigrants into the United States
States. It existed in Canada and,South Africa. It and Palestine by the use of 'corporation visas.'
became symbol of familial loyalties among During this period, the landsmanschaften in-
settlers in Israel. In this country it was predo- creasingly participated in such local Jewish
minant, and the Landsman was a figure sought communal activities as community councils and
the charity federations.
The landsmanschaften experienced a minor
With the end of the Turover — organized 70 revival after World War II, brought about by the
years ago by a handful of newcomers from the need to aid both the survivors of the Holocaust
city of Turov in Russia, who grew to a member- (many of whom joined these landsmanschaften
ship of 1,500 and developed in many facets of after their arrival in the United States) and
society and community, including the forma- Israel in the form of clothing, medical supplies,
tion of a synagogue — only four or five such food, and war material where and when it could
groups remain in this community.
be procured. However, this revival was rela-
What has occurred here is an equation of tively short-lived . . ."
occurrences everywhere. The memory of the
Let it be recorded that the Landsmanschaft
Landsmanschaften is not forgotten, however. It had a vital role in the glorification of the Yid-
is treated with respect as an historic experience.
dish language. As long as there were Land-
Encyclopedia Judaica has an interesting ex-
smanschaften there were Yiddish conversants
planation of the Landsmanschaften role in
and literary and cultural programs were con-
Jewish history. Its special article on the subject ducted in Yiddish. As long as the Land-
smanschaften functioned, the Yiddish press had
"Landsmanschaften (are) immigrant benevo- a basis for support. The demise of the Land-
lent organizations formed and named after the smanschaften ends many of the devotional roles
members' birthplace or East European resi- in the American Jewish community.
dence, for mutual aid, hometown aid, and social
The newer chapter in the history of American
- purposes. In North America landsmanschaften
were, at first, immigrant synagogues. This Jewry is vastly different. There remain the
began to change after 1880 as secular land- Zionist groups, Hadassah, Pioneer Women, Na-
smanschafen tended to replace the synagogue tional Council of Jewish Women, Bnai Brith
societies. and affiliates, Jewish War Veterans and many
The benefits which the landsmanschaften more.
In the social sphere it is the country club, with
attempted to provide included: sick benefits;
interest-free loans; and burial rights and aid to its limitations.
In the totality of activities, dedications and
families during the period of mourning. They
also aided their overseas landsleit and helped to identifications, Landsmanschaft could be
judged as incomparable. Yet there must be a
bring many to the United States.
"By 1914, New York City alone had 534 of replacement. It exists, in the totality labeled
these organizations with membership ranging Council of Jewish Federations and Zionist fed-
from 50 to 500. Many became affiliated with erations.
Perhaps the constituents have a similarity of
national fraternal organizations such as the
Workmen's Circle, Jewish National Workmen's identifications, linking the generations. Surely
,. Alliance (Farband), and Sons of Zion. In addi- there is a kinship in the people's indestructabil-
tion, there existed such federations as the it y.
United Galician Jews of America. The number
The Landsmanschaften are not ending their
of landsmanschaften grew rapidly during many years of existence in vain. The record of
World War I, and these organizations, repre- their notable contributions is a lengthy and im-
senting most of the cities and towns of Eastern perishable one.
Europe, dispatched millions of dollars in relief
It is with respect that this record is being
supplies and cash. After the war, the land-
smanschaften utilized their money and mem- accounted for and their existence will always
bership to finance the relief work carried on by 9ccupy a page of glory in Jewish history.
Paperback by Bantam Books
`Avenue of the Righteous'
Honors Rescuers of Jews
Righteous Gentiles will not be forgotten by Israel and the Jewish
As complete a record as possible is being assembled as an endur-
ing tribute to those who have rescued Jews and other victims of
Nazism. They are recorded in the Yad Vashem compilations in
Approaching Yad Vashem is the Avenue of the Righteous, each
tree on this street symbolizing the heroism of a non-Jew whose name
is in the List of the Righteous.
The list is growing. There are two in Michigan who have been
honored, a Polish woman and a Dutch rescuer of 20 who were saved
from the Nazi ovens.
A deeply moving account of several of the Righteous is told in
"Avenue of the Righteous," which first was published in hard cover by
Atheneum in 1980. It is reprinted as a paperback by Bantam Books.
Peter Hellman, author of "Avenue of the Righteous," selected
four important names from the 700 trees planted in honor of the
heroes thus honored.
His selectees are:
Raoul Laporterie, dapper, courtly passeur, who slipped hundreds
across the border from occupied to free France; Leokadia Jaromirska,
who rescued a nameless child from the bushes, nurtured her with
body and soul, knowing that someday she would lose this child she
had grown to love moire than life itself . . .; Sietske Postma and her
family, who spent most of the war protecting their newfound "cousin"
at overwhelming risk to themselves . . .; and Mme. Henriette Regina
Chaumat, who gladly sacrificed her honor to keep her borrowed "love
Hellman's introductory essay gives a graphic description of the
Yad Vashem. He also explains the Hebrew term for Righteous Chris-
tians who are honored in the avenue dedicated to them:
"The formal Hebrew title given to these heroes is Hasidei Ummot
Ha-Olam — literally, 'the Righteous Ones of the Nations of th-
World.' Rabbis and sages used the term at least as early as the it
Century to designate those Christians who, by their merit, are as
eligible as any member of the House of Israel to share in the Hereafter
— a dispensation which their priestly opposite numbers in other
religions did not usually reciprocate. -
"In English the Hasidei Ummot Ha-Olam are simply called, most
often, 'Righteous Christians,' 'Righteous Gentiles,' or — simpler and
more accurate — 'the Righteous.' The title does not fall right on every
contemporary American ear. Some hear the whisper of selfrighteous-
ness. But long ago the writer of Ecclesiastes was already wary of that
taint: 'Be not Righteous overmuch, neither make thyself overwise.'
"The ground rules for the Righteous person are that he or she
fulfill all legal and moral obligations and live not as a theoretician but
as an activist. It is not enough to abstain from evil. One must do
positive deeds: 'Execute justice in the morning and deliver from the
hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed' (Jeremiah 21:12)."
Each of the personalities selected for his account of righteousness
represents dedication to justice as well as heroism. The totality of the
theme lends immense significance to the book and inspires reverence
for the "Avenue of the Righteous."