THE- JEWISH NEWS
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Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the Seventh day of Sivan, 5742, is the second day of Shavuot and the following scriptural selections will be read in our
Pentateuchal portion, Deuteronomy 15:19-16:17, Numbers 28:26-31. Prophetical portion, Habbakuk 3:1-19.
Candlelighting, Friday, May 28, 8:40 p.m.
VOL. LXXXI, No. 13
May 28, 1982
Shavuot has many inspirations. The festival
is filled with lessons to be learned and experi-
ences to be applied. It is one of the major pilgrim
festivals which link the Jewish people with Is-
rael and Jerusalem and challenge its observers
to fulfill the tenets of the traditions imbedded in
It is the festival of the Giving of the Law, and
therefore the Law becomes uppermost. The tra-
ditions stemming from the Law call for their
adherence and therefore strengthening.
In that sense it becomes a challenge to this
generation and to the generations to come.
Adherence to the Law also calls for retention of
the basic obligations to identification with the
people observing the festival. Primarily, it
teaches the importance of learning. It is the
occasion to emphasize the values inherent in
Jewish legacies. Vital in that process is the duty
of parent to teach child, of community to provide
means for learning and therefore of assuring
In the matter of identification there are many
factors to be considered in an age that is affected
by assimilation, in a trying pe;iod in Jewish
history when mixed marriages, definitely pros-
cribed in spite of so-called humanistic approval,
are plaguing Jewish ranks.
There is much to be fought in the process of
learning Jewish values. Intermarriage cannot
be condoned, and indifference which is intrud-
ing Jewish ranks must be given serious concern.
The factors affecting the learning processes
and therefore the identification with Torah and
Judaism emerge as matters of concern. The ob-
ligations spelled out by the Shavuot lessons are
obvious. The obstacles must be overcome. The
spirit of the festival calls for knowledge and
identification and for rejection of the obstruc-
tions. The collective duty is adherence to tradi-
tions in the assurance of identifications. These
make -the legacies cherished by the Jewish
people uppermost in upholding the highest
standards of the people nourished by the Law.
The road to peace is difficult. The search for
facts is never easy. Attainment of understand-
ing between warring parties often calls for com-
pulsive action. That's the tragedy in human re-
lations — that reaching an accord may call for
forceful action. This is what is happening be-
tween Britain and Argentina. This is a case in
the Middle East.
In the latter area, solutions have been de-
layed so long, interference with amicable
agreements has assumed such aggravating
proportions that many have , come to believe
peace is an impossibility. This would be tragic
for the entire world, so many global involve-
ments having entered into the fray. There are
many pitfalls on this road strewn with enmities
and dangers. How to avoid them is the issue that
has grown into a multiplicity of problems.
No matter how encouraging some symptoms
may appear as indications that the road to peace
could be paved, even if partially, when new obs-
tacles appear. A Latin American country re-
sumes ambassadorial exchanges with Israel in
the Jerusalem setting, and new enmities are
uttered at both befriending countries. An Afri-
can state embraces Israel in a renewed friend-
ship, and the ,Saudis display their hatred with
threats over a handshake with Israel. Agoniz-
ing efforts are made in responsible quarters in
search of a ceasefire in one area, one of amity in
another, and from Beirut there are warnings
that only Israel's demise will suit the enemies of
the Jewish state.
It is under such developing situations that
many Jews become puzzled, that among Israelis
there also is disillusionment, that unity in the
face of mortal danger is impossible to attain.
This is where the responsible public relations
services must step in with firmness and cour-
age, and also with an understanding of facts to
be shared, in order- that truth not be polluted.
There is much to be explained and many facts
to be emphasized. The Jewish communities are
especially committed to a knowledge of the
realities of painful situations.
It is becoming apparent that the party di-
visions in Israel relate less to the foreign
policies than to any other aspects of parliamen-
tary functions. If public opinion could be fully
educated to the truism that areas in Judea and
Samaria, referred to as the West Bank treated
as "illegal settlements," really is land to which
there are no private claims, then the issue that
has escalated into a settlements problem might
be avoided. Then there could be an understand-
ing that people who desire to settle even amidst
an entire Arab sector could be humanely ac-
The charges of brutalities against Israelis
also call for clarification. It may well be true
that much that has happened is faulty Is-
raelism. Can it be avoided with an assurance
that Israeli lives also will be respected?
_ Perhaps the pitfalls are unavoidable, perhaps
they are not correctible. The only way these
problems can be solved is if Arab leaders can be
induced to sit with the Israelis and Jews at a
conference table to adjust the ills. But so far this
has been unattainable. That's where the prob-
lem becomes unsolvable. That's where the pit-
falls sink deeper into animosity. When and how
will a Daniel come to judgment to eliminate the
Another storm is brewing in the Middle East.
Iran seems to be walloping Iraq, and that dis-
tresses the U.S. State Department. The threat
from an Iranian victory to Kuwait and Saudi
Arabia distresses Caspar Weinberger and Ale-
Israel has been dragged into the develop-
ing situation with claims that Iran, gets
The issue seems to be angled toward a pro-
Saudi American policy. This could spell another
threat to peace. Will crises escalate, or will the
U.S. Senate step in to avert an impending
t. ‹. t
Dr. Heschel's Maimonides
Biography in English Text
As publishers of many of the notable classics bearing the name of
Abraham Joshua Heschel, Farrar, Straus and Giroux now serves as a
publishing house with a vision in its publication of Heschel's impor-
tant work, his biography of Maimonides.
"Maimonides" by Prof. Heschel was written in German in 1935.
In its-present translation by Joachim Neugroschel, this great work
makes its first appearance in English.
This is a landmark in publishing
ventures devoted to Jewish schol-
arship. In this biography the late Prof.
Heschel did more than recall the life of
the 13th Century Jewish scholar and
physician, commentator on Bible and
Talmud, interpreter of Jewish laws
and traditions. The resultant effort is
one which describes the time and
events in the life of Maimonides, as
well as the controversial issues that
influenced Jewish life, dividing some,
inspiring most. For scholars, the Hes-
chel work is a textbook. For the gen-
eral public it is an enlightening and
most creative work.
Drawing upon the most important
historical records, Dr. Heschel por-
trayed the genius in all the aspects of
leadership, as the deeply-revered who
guided the perplexed, as the man who
advised the Jews of Yemen during the
trying days of their struggles.
Thus, while the evaluative in this
work related in "Guide to the
Perplexed" receives major attention,
there are the relationships with the
Jewish communities that make the
Heschel account vital in absorbing the
gifts of Maimonides to Jewry and to
the ethical and social values
enunciated by one of the greatest
Jewish scholars of all time.
Thus, the chapter "Epistle
Yemen" reconstructs an historical
cord and has the value of the scholai
commentary by Dr. Heschel.
In relation to the Yemenites, Hes-
chel makes this special reference:
"Maimonides performed his immense labor of codification be-
tween 1170 and 1180. Questions about the Law were addressed to him
from many Egyptian towns and also from other countries. His opin-
ions gained extraordinary prestige, and his renown grew. Because his
joint appeal with other rabbis against the Karaite customs of cleanli-
ness had little effect, he announced a new decree in 1176: Any unob-
servant wife is threatened with the loss of all claims to her husband's
property in case of divorce or widowhood.
"The new decree was apparently formulated by Maimonides,
signed by the same group of scholars, and read aloud in all Egyptian
congregations. In the Codex, he likewise continues to reject the