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October 08, 1982 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-10-08

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Friday, October 8, 1982 11

Jewish Leaders Praise Senate
Action Against School Prayer

The Washington represen-
tatives of two Jewish organ-
izations in the forefront of
the fight against bringing
back prayers in the public
schools have hailed the de-
feat of the effort in the Se-
nate last month as a victory
over "the greatest attack on
our constitutional system of
government in this cen-
guarantees of the church-
state separation •of powers
have been preserved," de-
clared David Saperstein
and Marc Pearl, Washing-
ton representatives of the
Union of American Hebrew
Congregations (UAHC) and
American Jewish Congress,

The effort by Sen. Jesse
Helms (R-N.C.) to attach a

rider permitting officially
sanctioned prayer in public
schools to a bill raising the
national debt ceiling ended
Sept. 23, when the Senate
by a 51-48 vote rejected a
move to end a week-long
filibuster by opponents of
school prayer. Sen. Edward
Zorinsky (D-Neb.) was the
only one of the Senate's six
Jews, who voted with the
minority in an attempt to
break the filibuster.
Saperstein and Pearl,
in a thank you letter to
the Senators who led the
filibuster, expressed the
hope that the vote would
end attempts of the reli-
gious and new right
groups to curtail con-
stitutional freedonis and
limit the jurisdiction of
the Supreme Court and
other federal courts in
cases involving school

The two Washington
representatives noted that
no domestic issue in which
they had worked on had re-
ceived more broad-based
support among Jews
throughout the country.,
Jews wrote more letters,
made more phone calls to
their Senators and spoke
out more effectively on this
issue than any other domes- .
tic issue in recent years,
they said. _
The UAHC and the AJ-
Congress worked on Capitol
Hill to defeat the legislation
in cooperation with the
American Jewish Commit-
tee, National Council of
Jewish Women, Bnai Brith,
Bnai Brith Women, Anti-
Defamation League of Bnai
Brith, and a broad coalition
of educational, civil liber-
ties and "mainline" Chris-
tian organizations.


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Emeritus, JTA

(Copyright 1982, JTA, Inc.)
SUKKA IN THE SKY: On 42 Street in New York
City — in the very heart of the Times Square area — there
is a sukka which is unique worldwide for its height and
luxury. Located atop- the 50-story Grace Building, it is
dubbed by Jewish leaders as "Shaar Hashomayim" — "A
Gate to Heaven." In this elegant sukka one feels literally
nearer to God.
The sukka is built by Jack Weiler, the prominent
Jewish leader and philanthropist. The skyscraper on which
it stands belongs jointly to Weiler, his son-in-law Robert
Arnow who is himself very active in Jewish philanthropy
as well as in promoting Jewish education, and the Swig
family of San Francisco which is related to the Weilers and
is also known for its generosity in philanthropy. During the
week of sukkot more than 100 prominent Jews active in
Jewish communal life are invited each day to a lavish
kosher luncheon in the sukka. Each day there is a different
At the entrance to the sukka, Weiler happily welcomes
each guest with a lulav and Etrog in hand and with a
printed text of sukkot blessings. Each gueSt is presented
with an embroidered skullcap and recites the traditional
sukkot prayer over the lulav and etrog.
A RARE ATMOSPHERE: The Weiler sukka has
become an annual institution since the building was
erected several years ago. It is dedicated not only to the
strengthening of the tradition of Sukkot but also to stimu-
late stronger interest in Israel and in the fate of Jewish
communities the world over.
At the head table one can see Israeli diplomats —
including the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations —
prominent New York rabbis of the three branches of
Judaism, and leading municipal officials. During the meal
you hear Dvar . Torah and Jewish singing directed by a
prominent cantor. There is also a light entertainment pro-
gram ofJewish humor given by a professional artist. There
are bottles of Israeli wine on each table and baskets of fresh
fruit, in the spirit of Sukkot.
The sukka is guarded by a special police unit and by
private guards. Each guest must identify himself upon
entering the special elevator which takes him non-stop
from the ground floor up to the sukka. His name is checked
against a list of the guests of the day. This is a sign of our
times when special precaution is practiced by every major
Jewish organization and institution against possible ter-
rorism by Arabs.
A MOTHER'S INFLUENCE: Jack Weiler is known
and highly esteemed in this country and in Israel not only
as one of the great philanthropists but also as a person who
is himself a generous giver and makes others give gener-
The tradition of Zedaka, of giving for Jewish needs, has
been implanted in him by his parents when he was a child
in the "old country" of Czarist Russia. He still remembers
— and talks about it — how he observed with fascination
his mother throwing coins every Friday evening, before the
blessing of Sabbath candles into various "pushkes" — char-
ity boxes — in the house.




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