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March 04, 1983 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-03-04

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2 Friday, March 4, 1983


Purely Commentary

Recalling a Nobel Winner's
Reversal on Zionist Movement

A brief human interest news item revives recollections
about a Nobel Peace Prize-winner of half-a-century ago
who began in prominence as an advocate of Zionism and
later became a bitter antagonist of the Jewish libertarian
It was made known last week that the Nobel Peace
Prize Medal awarded to the late Sir Norman Angell was
sold for $12,000. The prize-winner gave the medal to his
secretary and she has now disposed of it.
An excerpt from Purely Commentary (Oct. 13, 1967)
serves as the best introduction to the reminder of Sir Nor-
man's "flip-flop" on Zionism and the Jewish people. (He
died in London, Oct. 8, 1967, at the age of 94.) This Com-
mentator's reference to him in this column five days later
Sir Norman Angell, the 1933 winner of the
Nobel Peace Prize, in the early 1930s, was socially
minded. He was a friend of Jewry and appeared
numerous times on Zionist platforms. He was
considered among the leading Christian Zionists
in the world.
In October of 1938 Sir Norman was a speaker,
together with Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the Labor
leader Herbert Morrison, Prof. S. Brodetsky,
Chief Rabbi Dr. Joseph H. Hertz, Lord
Rothschild, R. D. Denman and Commander 0.
Locker-Lampson, at a public meeting at Friends'
House in London, in protest against restrictions
by the British government on immigration of
Jews in Palestine. In that speech Sir Norman
called restrictions on Jewish immigration "mor-
ally unjustified" and said in part:
"For something over a thousand years we
Christians, including we English, persecuted, tor-
tured, kicked and insulted an unarmed and de-
fenseless people, for the single crime of belonging
to the race that gave us Jesus Christ, His Mother,
His Apostles and about the only religious litera-
ture that has given to the West its religion and its
moral law. Today, that people suffer, perhaps
worse than ever before.
"Over much of Christendom they are robbed,
tortured, imprisoned, starved, driven out. Yet
everywhere the doors close against them, one
after another, inexorably. And now we, too, pro-
pose to close doors that we had solemnly prom-
ised should be kept open as a shelter and a
sanctuary for persecuted people whom Chris-
t,endom has so deeply injured; close them at the
time that shelter is most needed."
In 1939 this Commentator interviewed this in-
teresting and brilliant man who was as great in
spirit as he was short in stature. He gave views
that were as thoroughly pro-Zionist, he was so
dedicated to the Jewish liberation movement,
that he was counted among the truly great
. friends.
Then something happened and soon he be-
came an enemy. He began to propagate against
Zionism. He joined ranks akin to the Council for
Judaism. From friend he turned to foe. It was as
unexplainable _as the about-face of Dorothy
Thompson and a few others like her. Let's re-
member Sir Norman Angell for the good years
during which his hope for a better world did not
exclude Jews.
The Norman Angell change-of-heart raises puzzling
Why do such good friends turn against Zionism? Why
did Vincent Sheehan, who went to Palestine as an
emisssary of the Zionist Organization of America, under
tutelage of Meyer Weisgal, become an "enemy" of the
In the years of the British Mandatory rule in Palestine
it was common knowledge that Jews were resented while
Arabs were coddled. The explanation was that Jews were
adamant in their demands that the Balfour Declaration be
adhered to and never learned "courtesy."
The "heart changes" are deplorable. There is comfort
in the knowledge that friends remained friends, that Josiah
Wedgwood and Orde Wingate were firm and immovable
and were the accusers — as Sir Norman Angell was in
Friends' House, London, in October 1938, and in the inter-
view with this reporter in 1939. The friends at this time
also remain adamant, as evidenced by Dr. Carl Hermann
Voss, the eminent Christian theologian Dr. Franklin Lit-
tell, whose columns in this newspaper and other periodicals
are an inspiration to Christians as well as Jews; Sister
Carol Rittner of Mercy College, Rev. James R. Lyons of the
Ecumenical Institute for Jewish-Christian Studies in
Southfield, Alice and Roy Eckardt and many more like
Nevertheless, when a friend is lost, it is cause for
mourning. In Norman Angell's case, 'the Nobel Peace Prize
Medal became symbol of a cause abandoned.

When Friendships Are Abandoned: A Reminiscence About
a Nobel Peace Prize-Winner's 'Flip-Flop' and Comfort
of Many Friends in the Ranks of Christian Pro-Zionists

Conforming to Modern Needs

An editorial in the Feb. 21 New York Times (A Law to
Curb Blindness), in addition to its expression of concern
regarding an important human need, has a, reference to a
condition which has affected interpretations of Jewish tra-
ditional regulations involving autopsies. The editorial
A quirk in state law keeps some New Yorkers
blind when they could be cured by the implanta-
tion of corneal tissue from a dead donor. There's
no easier way to cure some people's blindness
than to amend the law.
Many persons sign cards dedicating their
eyes to help others, and their wish is duly hon-
ored. But where an autopsy is otherwise required,
state law forbids medical examiners to act on the
pledge until they also obtain permission from the
next of kin. All too often, these kin can't be found
during the few hours in which the tissue remains
The amendment sought by agencies for the
blind and hospital associations — and approved
by leaders of the three major faiths — would per-
init medical examiners to honor donor cards. It
would also allow them to remove the small tissue
unless there is objection from next of kin or evi-
dence of the dead person's unwillingness to do-
Some religious groups, particularly among
Orthodox Jews, object to autopsies. Their objec-
tions, however, should be irrelevant to amending
the law, which affects only situations where au-
topsies must be performed for other reasons. The
removal of tiny fragments of eye tissue to restore
the sight of living people hardly infringes on the
sanctity of a body already subjected to a post-
mortem examination.

By Philip

The amendment would go . a long way to re-
lieve the chronic shortage of such tissue. It would
restore the blessing of sight to hundreds of New
_ Yorkers, as it does in other states that have ad-
justed their legislation.
On numerous occasions, the autopsies problems was
cause for dispute and bitterness. In the Hadassah and
Shaare Zedek hospitals in Israel serious efforts are always
made to resolve that issue. The NYTimes editorial, in its
commendable brevity, suggests that whatever the con-
troversy, it can be resolved.
Differing views may be anticipated, yet the obligation
to assure the application of the best efforts to assure health
protection must be adhered to.

The Legacy Left by Sam Rich
for Devotion to Technion and Israel

Sam Rich left a rich heritage rooted in devotion to the
cause of a fully-protected Israel and the advancement of the
Jewish state's technologically-creative accomplishments.
He gained a place of merit in American Jewish leader-
ship with his many years' activities for causes related to
Israel and his chairmanship of the Israel Bonds movement
in Michigan.
Primarily, he earned deep appreciation for having in-
stituted interest in and support for the Technion; the Israel
Institute of Technology in Haifa. It was due to the labors
like his that the great engineering and aeronautical school
in Israel became a vital factor in Israel's technological
skills. Contributions and leadership like his was part of the
process that televated Technion into the leading technol-
ogy center in the Middle East and among the most impor-
tant in the world. It was due to such devotions that Techn-'
ion of Haifa became known as the MIT of the Middle East.
Indeed, the legacies for which Sam Rich labored earned
his name an indelible memory.

Rashi Described in Club's Bulletin Medal

PARIS — The Club Fran-
cais de la Medaille in Paris
publishes an annual bulle-
tin describing the history
and background of scenes
and individuals onmedals it
offers to the public.
The September 1978
bulletin gives an interest-
ing article on the famous
French Jewish Biblical and
Talmudic scholar and
philosopher, Rashi:
* * *
Rashi occupies a place
apart in rabbinic literature.
He is neither an original
thinker, nor a philosopher,
nor the founder of a particu-
lar school, but an incompar-
able yulgarisateur (one who
has talent to diffuse scien-
tific knowledge among the
people). He is the author of
two commentaries, one on
the Torah and the other on
the Talmud. Both became
Rashi (abbreviation of
Rabbi Solomon beh
Isaac) was born in Troyes
in Champagne about

1040. He had for a
teacher, among others,
his father. Next he
attended the famous tal-
mudic schools bordering
the Rhine, Mayence and
Worms in particular.
His studies terminated,
Rashi returned to Troyes.
Regardless of his young age,
he was 25 years old, he was
recognized as the religious
chief of the community:- He
founded a school there that
many disciples attended.
His knowledge was only
equaled by his modesty. In
accordance with the custom
of the time, a rabbi did not
receive any fee. Rashi lived
from the revenue of a vine-
yard he had inherited from
his parents.
His teaching was dis-
tinguished by clarity and
distinctness, plainness,
neatness, cleanness. He
finished by writing the
explications which he
had customarily given to
his students. It is in this
clear Hebrew which

The Christian leaders,
Rashi drafted both of
notably Nicholas of Lyre,
To compose the first he were inspired by the
was inspired by all the past work of Rashi. They had
rabbinic literature. He immense success in in-
made a synthesis of them by terpreting the Bible
choosing the most appropri- thanks to his clear com-
ate texts which were either mentaries.
Rashi's commentary on
in a rational-literal sense
(Pschat) or more allegorical the Talmud is indispensi-
mystical. Conscious of the ble. Without Rashi it would
fundamental difference have become too esoteric.
which separates these two The Talmud in effect has
styles, he wanted to be more never been really reworded.
of an interpreter than a It is a compilation of notes
preacher. He rejected the taken by disciples of mas-
Therefore, there aren't
literal or grammatical
sense for certain allegorical any editions of the Talmud
which aren't accompanied
Rashi often referred to with the commentary of
the Targum, the Aramean Rashi. The reputation of the
translation of the Pen- master was so great that
people from all over used to
The difficult or rare terms consult him.
of the Bible, he translated
During the Crusades
into the French of his time people would consult him to
(Latin), but in Hebrew know if a Jew who was bap-
characters. More than 3,000 tized in order to save him-
words of the Romanesque self could, after all the per-
language, for the most part secutions, come back to
technical, were thus saved Judaism. Rashi responded
from being forgotten.

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