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May 07, 1982 - Image 80

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-05-07

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80 Friday, May 1, 1982


Dan Pagis Volume Is Latest in JPS Poetry Series

"Points. of Departure" by
Dan Pagis, the fourth vol-
ume in the Jewish Publica-
tion Society's Jewish poetry
series, offers a representa-
tive selection — over 50
poems — of one of the lead-
ing Hebrew poets of this
generation. The book is
translated by Stephen
Pagis, born in Romania in
1930, spent three years in a
Nazi concentration camp. In
1946 he arrived in Israel
and subsequently settled in
Jerusalem, where he is now
professor of medieval He-
brew literature at the He-
brew University. His imag-
inative landscape extends
from the grim vistas of
genocide to the luminous
horizon of medieval Hebrew
poetry and includes a series
of "science-fiction" poems
where time is accelerated,
distorted, even reversed.
"As a poet," Robert Alter
observes in his introduc-
tion, "Pagis generally pre-
fers contemporary vehicles
and a contemporary sound,
but it is also worth keeping
in mind that the 16-year-old
immigrant ignorant of He-
brew so thoroughly assimi-
lated the rich classical tra-
dition of the language

that in his scholarly work
he has become the foremost
living authority on the poe-
tics of Hebrew literature in
the High Middle Ages and
the Renaissance."
Although Pagis' own
poetry is necessarily
more understated than
the medieval texts he has
studied, in its distinctive
modern idiom it, too, as
Robert Alter notes, !‘is a
self-conscious demon-
stration and affirmation
of what the poetic imagi-
nation can do."
Through its Jewish
Poetry Series, the Jewish
Publication Society of
America seeks to foster per-
ceptive, precise, poetic
translations from the vast
and various range of the
works of Jewish poets —
medieval, Renaissance, and
modern — in Hebrew, Yid-
dish, and the many other
languages in which Jews
have created.
The series will also give
long life to significant con-
temporary work by Jewish
poets in America, Israel and
throughout the world. The
Jewish poetry series will
normally devote a separate
volume to the work of each

poet — with facing texts in (1970) and "Change and the many poems appearing by this one excerpted to
the case of translations — Tradition: Hebrew Poetry
in parallel columns, in He- indicate the forcefulness of
but place will also be made in Spain and Italy" (1976).
brew with the English the JPS series popularizing
for anthologies.
In "Points of Departure," translation, are exemplified Hebrew poetry:
The general editors of the
poetry series are Yehuda Point of Departure
7,2 41711 11771
Amichai and Allen Man-
The previous volumes
in the Jewish poetry Hidden in the study at dusk,
triovn -1-m3 ,13ri
= ••••. 1vnin5

series are "In Light of I wait, not yet lonely.
, 1'r1 ???3
Genesis" by Pamela A heavy walnut bureau opens up the night.
Tian 1i ~r~
White Hadas, "Hebrew
Ballads and Other The clock is a tired sentry,
MI? ITT il'#71itc")
Poems" by Else Lasker its steps growing faint.
Schuler, and • "The
Syrian-African Rift and
Other Poems" by Avoth From where? In Grandfather's typewriter,
ruiDr3; ?11. 1773
an Underwood from ancient times,
tr?in-rp. ?..3 , 7p7? - 1117171. /i Mr
Pagis has been publish- thousands of alphabets are ready.
.1,371;- r.49`7r4 '35K ni ~ 71
ing poems since 1949, trans-
lations (mainly from the What tidings?
German), a story book for
children, and scholarly
.ppt?; 17ri H vj avin 1??:4,
studies. His books of poems I think that not everything is - in doubt.
-1nm apiv
.'inn pinn, N•5y
are "The Shadow Dial" I follow the moment, not to let it slip away.
(1959), "Late Leisure" My arms are rather thin.
n4p, nivi1T ,`? ti!
(1964), "Transformation"
-P.t 1; Tz,
(1970), "Brain" (1975, 1977) I am nine years old.
and- "Twelve Faces" (1981).
Among his scholarly Beyond the door begins
5 711"in 1-07r.5 -PPP
works are "The Poetry of the interstellar space which I'm ready for.
14; )?r.3y.
David Vogel" (1966), "The
Poetry of Levi Ibn Altabban Gravity drains from me like colors at dusk.
1 '74
,-Tkr)_17??D 1:71.? Ipzz
of Saragossa" (1968), "Secu- I fly so fast that I'm motionless
lar Poetry and Poetic
Theory — Moses Ibn Ezra and leave behind me
.14V 17Y 1117V 5;ti
and His Contemporaries" the transparent wake of the past.




Jerusalem: An Old City With New Solutions


Mayor of Jerusalem
World Zionist Press Service

Jerusalem have all the
problems your cities have —
and then some. The addi-
tional problems include an
annual growth in our popu-
lation of four percent, which
means 2,500 more children
attend school every year;
the political problems of the
Middle East that concen-
trate to some considerable
extent on Jerusalem; and
historical and holy places
which have to be preserved.
Amid the urban unrest
that troubles so many of the
world's cities in general,
and the turmoil that con-
tinues to dominate the Mid-
dle East in particular,
Jerusalem stands as an is-
land of relative tranquility,
economic progress, urban
renewal and religious revi-
val. That does not mean
that we have solved all our
local problems. Far from it.
Nor have we found a magic
formula to resolve the polit-
ical conflict that rages
around us.
What we have created in
14 years of painstaking
work since the artificial di-
visions of concrete and
barbed wire were taken
down and minefields were
cleared, is indeed a united
city. And Jerusalem Day
will be celebrated May 20.

But never
Jerusalem an integrated
city nor is it so now. Of
course - there is interac-
tion, particularly in the
marketplace. Without it,
the Arabs would not be
able to gain from the dual
benefits of tourism and of
trading with Israel and
Jewish Jerusalem on the
one hand and with Jor-
dan and the remaining
Arab states on the other.
Yet our policy is aimed at
enabling each community
to live within its own social,
cultural and religious
framework. That goes not
only for Jerusalem's
100,000 Moslems, whose
schools teach by the Arab
curriculum and whose four
Arabic daily newspapers,
notwithstanding the prob-


lems, comprise the only free
Arabic press in the entire
Middle East.
It also applies to every
one of the over 30 different
Christian denominations
represented in the city.
Armenians want to live as
Armenians and see
Jerusalem as their spiritual
center. Greeks want to re-
main Greeks — their Or-
thodox and Uniate Greek
Catholic churches are the
dominant Christian ele-
ments in Jerusalem — the
Assyrians remain Assy-
rians, the Abyssians remain
Abyssians while the Maro-
nites, with a new church
and community center pro-
vided by the city, retain, as
everybody else, an identity
of their own.
I do not want to use ter-
minology of "separate but
equal." In our case, it is pre-
cisely the ability of each
group to follow its own tra-
ditional pattern of life,
which is the basic reason for
their presence in Jerusalem
for centuries. .
Our aim, - largely
achieved, is to create a
free and open city based
on harmonious co-
existence of different
communities; raise the
level of the infrastructure
and of city services in the
Arab quarters to that
which the city's Jewish

majority has enjoyed for
over 30 years; and assure
complete freedom of ac-
cess to the holy places of
all three great religions.
The task of urban re-
newal is staggering, from
increasing the water supply
tenfold, providing drainage
where there was none, and
laying out parks and new
roads, to caring for the aged
and moving classes from re-
nted rooms to newly built
schools at a cost out of all
proportion to the Arab resi-
dents' share in the city's
meager income.
Of course the walled Old
City has received first prior-
ity in our efforts at excavat-
ing, restoring and rebuild-
ing the glory that is
Jerusalem. The city wall
has, been cleared, repaired
and surrounded by a green
belt. Damascus Gate, one of
the finest examples of Is-
lamic architecture, -is the
first gate to have been given
a major facelift, and a safe
and picturesque promenade
is gradually being con-
structed atop the city ram-
parts, where visitors can
walk in the footsteps of the
guards of King David.
The ancient Jewish quar-
ter, where Jews have lived
in close proximity to the
Temple Mount for 2,500
years, and which was de-
stroyed by the Jordanians
after our War of Indepen-
dence, is almost completely
rebuilt and alive with resi-
dents once again, although
only five of the 56
synagogues destroyed have
so far been restored.
The alleys criss-
crossing the Moslem and
Christian quarters have
all been properly paved,
the Via Dolorosa re-

stored and the Stations of
the Cross properly
marked, the rickety old
houses throughout the
Old City shored up and
supported by stone
While Jewish worship- •
pers can now freely visit the
famed and sacred Western
Wall, the only remnant of
the ancient Temple area,
the two Moslem mosques
atop the Temple Mount ap-
pear in greater splendor
than ever before, their up-
keep supported by the
entrance fees of over 3,500
foreign visitOrs a day, com-
pared with an average of
less than 100 visitors a day
in Jordanian times.
We have two major
"headaches" in the day-to-
day life of the city's Jewish
majority of 300,000, a
majority that, in various
_ numbers but similar prop-
ortions, has predominated
in modern Jerusalem for the
last 140 years.
- The first major problem
arises out of the fact that
about 30 percent of the
Jewish residents follow an
Orthodox lifestyle, while
other Jews follow a more
secular lifestyle. A few of
the more fanatic Orthodox
sects try to interfere with
Sabbath traffic on roads
near their homes.
Since religious Jews
are obviously attracted
to Jerusalem because of
its very sanctity, one
cannot stop at imposing
the letter of the law. Our
efforts are directed at
persuading both Or-
thodox and secular Jews
to show greater tolerance
of each other's sen-
sitivities. There has been
some improvement in

this respect but it is a
problem that will not go
away and for which there
is no easy solution.
The second major prob-
lem is slum clearance. We
are working hard to close
the gap between the poorer
and better established
groups within the Jewish
Above all, we are working
on legislation giving
Jerusalem authority over
many of the functions now
in government hands;many
of which we would then pass
on to neighborhood commit-
tees. These would include
rights of taxation and allow
them to cooperate within a
smaller area with the citi-
zens directly concerned over
local problems.
Primarily we see the
delegation of authority to
the city and its sub-
sequent decentralization
as a means of granting
our Arab citizens, even if
they remain Jordanian
nationals, a greater de-
gree of participation in
and responsibility for the
daily conduct of their af-
We envisage a population
of 650,000 by the year 2000,
with more or less the cur-
rent ration of Jewish to
non-Jewish residents, no
expansion of the city boun-
dary and a green belt
around the outer city.
Jerusalem in the year
2000 will celebrate two his-
toric anniversaries: 3,000
years since King David
made Jerusalem his capital
and 2,000 years of Chris-
tianity. The watchword for
our work in Jerusalem can
be summed up as "planning
for the future while preserv-
ing the past."

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