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August 13, 1982 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-08-13

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2 Friday, August 13, 1982



Purely Commentary

Multiplying Doom Prophecies:
Synagogues as the Ramparts,
Communal Unity at Stake

The Synagogue as the Rampart for Jewish Survivalism and
the Duty to Make It the Center for Service and Action .. .
Elements Who Obstruct Jewish Unity in the Current Crisis

First, _a platform for Rabbi Elmer Berger.
He will be remembered as the rabbi of the Pontiac,
Mich. Reform congregation who had his associates there as
organizers of the American Council for Judaism. Then he
Jewry has rallied in Israel's defense. Whatever con- went to Flint, where he served the Reform congregation
tinues as an admonition that Jews are split in the current there. While in Michigan he was a teacher in the Temple
crisis is definitely exaggerated. There are many voices Beth El school of adult studies. Then he moved to Philadel-
which have been interpreted as undermining the solidarity phia to direct the office of the American Council for
of the Jewish people The protesting elements are not si- Judaism, which was then delimited as neither American
nor an organized council nor Jewish.
lenced. They are taken seriously. Even a remnant enrolled
But then the Council for Judaism - became too moderate
antagonistically is considered seriously. As within Israel,
for Elmer Berger and he organized a more extreme anti-
the opposition to the government in power has listeners.
The overwhelming Jewish voice nevertheless asserts that Israel group and had the encouragement of Israel's ex-
tremest enemies in Arab ranks in his continuing labors to
Israel is not submissive, will not commit suicide, will strive
for wholesome, eventually peaceful existence with undermine Israel.
Here is how he fits into the current picture:
neighbors who are asked for an accord that will assure
Last month, Rabbi Berger made a reappearance. He
amity in the war-threatened Middle East.
spoke at the Syrian Lebanese American Club in Orlando,
There are other battles to be fought, in the Diaspora,
Fla. On the platform with him was former South Dakota
wherever there are Jewish communities.
A minority everywhere, except in Israel, world Jewry U.S. Senator James Abourezk. Berger was quoted telling
is confronted by difficulties which must be tackled with the more than 200 at that meeting that Israel's Ariel Sha-
ron was "Israel's Fascist Minister of Defense."
courage and with realistic acknowledgement that the
As U.S. Senator, Abourezk was the mild legislator, the
spiritual strength that made the People Israel impregnable
rational Lebanese. Now he is the lobbyist for Arab groups
always needs reinforcement.
Therefore Israel is not the only challenge to world battling Israel. At his worst, he is perhaps less unreason-
able on the Israel-Zionist issues than Rabbi Berger. Their
Jewry for serious identification.
comradeship is understandable.
There are prophets of doom who foresee a decline in
Then there is the Jewish Labor Bund.
Jewish ranks, a diminishing population, a less-informed
Licked in Russia where it aimed at recognition as
Some predictions go so far as to anticipate Jewry's spokesmovement representing Jews, adamantly anti-
worldwide ranks being reduced to less than half the present Zionist and therefore attaining the image of the opponent of
every Jewish traditional and nationalistic task among
constituencies in a matter of two to three decades.
Russian Jews, it was a minority with a record of bitterness
Therefore the obligation to think seriously about the
status that calls for solidarity and involvements on all towards anything having an aspiration for Jewish national
rebirth. More recently its leaders and members sought
Therefore the importance of communal calls to action paths that might lead them to being given a positiveness in
that necessitate organized efforts to strengthen the the treatment of Israel.
The Bund has re-emerged! In an eight-inch paid adver-
synagogue, to make the house of worship the center of
tisement in the New York Times it joined the ranks of
Jewish life.
Such calls to action are much more than merely organ- Israel's critics in the present tragic Lebanese situation. Its
izational, as solicitations for memberships. They are more main target is the Begin-Sharon government.
It is on that score that antagonists to Israel find a way
For several decades deep concern was expressed over out of being branded venomous by resorting to personality
the growing percentage of mixed marriages. The evidence hatred. Under such guise there is the effort to pose as
is that it is now vastly agonizing in its seriousness. It is to approving of Israel's existence while giving comfort to the
the credit of the concerned rabbinate that every available enemies who seek Israel's destruction.
That's the weapon: hate Begin. Little else has mat-
step is being encouraged to retain the children of such
marriages in Jewish ranks. Hopefully these efforts will tered for many in the media and for some in politics. By
hating Begin and Sharon there is no hiding from another
prove successful.
There are other causes for concern. While priority is factor: the harm aimed at Israel.
So, they are acting in the limelight again, Elmer Be-
given to Jewish education, to the cultural programming, it
is doubtful whether knowledgeability, devotion to the rger and the Bund. The old battlelines affecting Zionism
cultural-spiritual legacies, is widespread. The evidence of a and Israel are thus re-drawn.
* * *
spreading ignorance about the history and culture and
spiritual legacies are dominant. They must be retained if AFL-CIO Lesson for Bundists;
the future generations are to remain the carriers of the They Aren't All Vitriolic
banners of the treasures inherited from the historical
Will they ever learn?
wealth of the Jewish people.
Russian-backgrounded Jewish Labor Bund was pro-
Therefore the merit of the call to the ramparts, to the
most valued means of enriching the generations to come vided with many lessons as guidelines for attitude changes
toward Zionism and Israel. AFL-CIO President Lane Kirk-
with the inerasable that is legated in the process of a dig-
land also had advance for them even if indirectly, when,
nified Jewish life.
Many means continue to be provided for retention of expressing the unanimous views of his associates in the
strength in a thriving Judaism. Israel is an inspiration. executive committee of his movement. Endorsement was
The Jewish Center has its many values, and they can be given to Israel's operation to end terrorism hitherto
recounted convincingly. The synagogue combines all the originating in Lebanon.
Every endorsement of Israel's
powers that spell honorable continuity.
current position is inseparable
It is in the synagogue that one finds the spiritual
from the anguish which results
power. It is in the repetitive, in the traditionally prayerful
from warfare. Nevertheless ter-
expressions, that comfort is rooted. It is in the synagogue
rorism and threats to Israel's
that the Hebrew language found retention and became the
existence must not be given cre-
vehicle for creating a national language for Jewry com-
dibility. This is what the AFL-
plementary with the statehood that provided Jews with the
CIO action means.
means of becoming masters of their own destiny.
No, not all Bundists are anti-
Therefore what is now a call to membership in
Israel or haters of Begin and
synagogues is actually an appeal to rally to the ramparts.
Sharon. Allen Warsen, the re-
The response must be positive for the honor and self-respect
spected Detroit scholar, this
of the people that never abandons hope and strives toward
week received a message from a
the highest standards.
* * *
relative in Israel who -was a
lifelong Bund associate. That
The Old Prejudices Emerge
message gave unqualified
During the Tragic M.E. War
endorsement to the Begin-
All the elements of candor as well as tongue-in-cheek Sharon policies and to warring against terrorism. Still, the
utterances acquire public platforms in time of crisis. Much Bundists do not learn.
that is hidden either in reticence or in planned secrecy
attain attention. This is especially true while a crisis marks Tributes to the Resistance:
the tragedy simply described as Lebanon.
There is another aspect to such exposure to the light of Remembering the Warsaw Ghetto
elements often hidden or about to be forgotten.
Thousands reportedly demonstrated in Warsaw last
Two such factors are among those emerging from week in remembrance of the resistance to Nazism. Repor-
obscurity: the Jewish Labor Bund and Rabbi Elmer Berger.
tedly, it was a tribute to the 200,000 who would not yield to
Perhaps it was to be expected that such elements and the Nazi terror nearly half a century ago.
characters would appear from what was believed to be a
The demonstration would have had greater signifi-
forgotten cast. They do not vanish and they seek the same cance if the Poles had also paid honor to the Resistance
roles they had when they were sniping at Zionism, ag- Movement in the Warsaw Ghetto for that fateful Passover
gravating Israel and Israelis,with all the irksome nega- in the year 1943.
tions in Jewish life.
The Warsaw Ghetto heroes proved there was a resis-

By Philip

tance, that it had not been a total yielding to the barbarities
of the Hitlerites.
Also: in the Warsaw Ghetto it was a fight to a finish by
a few Jews, poorly armed, in their defiance of the powerful
German army.
Few incidents in all of World War II matched in cour-
age the heroic resistance of the Warsaw Ghetto inhabi-
tants. Yet that chapter in Polish Jewish history is too often
ignored. Such ignoring is not to the credit of the embattled
Poles, their leaders and historians.

* * *

David Frankfurter Obituary:
Historic Incident Related

Was the obituary of David Frankfurter, who died in
Israel last month, overlooked and ignored historically?
He was perhaps the first to exact justice by assassinat-
ing a Nazi officer in the early stages of the Hitler era.
Much was written about him, there was a book pr.'',
lished about the occurrence and it is no longer availa
The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia has this reference -
to him:
Frankfurter's act of revenge against Nazi mal-
treatment of the Jews was the killing of Wilhelm
Gustloff, Nazi leader, at Davos, Switzerland, on
Feb. 4, 1936.
Frankfurter suffered from a form of tuberculosis
of the bone, and was subjected to many opera-
In 1929, after graduating from the gymnasium
in Vinkovici, Frankfurter entered medical school
in Leipzig, but his physical weakness prevented
him from becoming a successful student. After
three semesters he moved to Frankfort, remain-
ing there until six months after the establishment
of the Hitler regime (1933).
At that time he went to Bern, Switzerland, al-
ready distressed by the anti-Semitic outrages he
had witnessed. During the next three years, the
misery in Germany, supplemented by the prop-
aganda carried on among the Germans in Swit-
zerland, provoked Frankfurter to seek revenge.
On Tuesday, Feb. 4, he went to Gustloffs home,
asked to see him, and shot five times as the Nazi
leader came through the door.
The Nazi press immediately began to vent its
rage against the Jews, and Hitler used Gustloff's
funeral as the chance for characteristic fuming.
On Dec. 9, 1936, Frankfurter's trial opened in
Chur, in the canton of Graubunden. Eugen Curti,
a famous liberal lawyer of Zurich, was the attor-
ney for the defendant, assisted by J. De Vries of
Amsterdam. The prosecution asked only for the
minimum sentence of 18 years which the law of
the canton allowed for premeditated murder- the
defense asked for acquittal. On Dec. 14, after a
tense trial, a sentence of 18 years was imposed on
Historic events should not be ignored and a deserved
place was reserved for David Frankfurter in the history of
the resistance to Nazism.

JWB's Jewish Book Council
Makes Notable Contribution
to the Visually Handicapped

JWB is a three-lettered title of the movement credited
with many impressive services.
It began as the Jewish agency serving the enrolled in
the armed forces. It carried on its labors by providing most
valuably-researched literary material to advance the cul-
tural programming of the nationwide Jewish center
movement. It is the supervisor of the Jewish Book Council
through which Jewish book fairs, such as the one conducted
in the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit,
are supervised.
The latest of JWB's contributions is for the visually
handicapped, published undenthe title "Large Type Books
of Jewish Interest." Compiled for the Jewish Book Council
by Helene L. Tuchman, the informative guide is in itself
adaptable for its purpose as a large type printed product. It
lists the available books of Jewish interest as large type
printed material geared for the visually handicapped, and
the importance of the available works is in itself revealing.
Included in the movements and publishers listed as
producers of such helpful literary works are the Jewish
Braille Institute of America, Hebrew Publishing C
Jewish Guild for the Blind, American Bible Society ana--
score of others.
To the Jewish Braille Institute and Jewish Guild for
the Blind goes special credit for the many gifts to this cause
of aiding the blinded. Prayer books, Hagadot, lessons in
Hebrew accompanied by recordings, Yiddish and Hebrew
literary gems — these are made available and are helpful
in makina life easier for those with reading difficulties.
this special tribute to JWB for compiling the
providers of the helpful products and for listing those who
share in providing comfort to the visually handicapped.


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