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March 11, 1983 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-03-11

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THE JEWISH NEWS

(USPS 275-520)

Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with the issue of July 20, 1951

-

Copyright

The Jewish News Publishing Co.

Member of American Association of English-Jewish Newspapers, National Editorial Association and
National Newspaper Association and its Capital Club.
Published every Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co., 17515 W. Nine Mile, Suite 865, Southfield, Mich. 48075
Postmaster: Send address changes to The Jewish News, 17515 W. Nine Mile, Suite 865, Southfield, Mich. 48075
Second-Class Postage Paid at Southfield, Michigan and Additional Mailing Offices. Subscription $15 a year.

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ
Editor and Publisher

ALAN HITSKY
News Editor

CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ
Business Manager

HEIDI PRESS
Associate News Editor

DREW LIEBERWITZ
Advertising Manager

Yi I li-REMA5.5 -2 :5

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Sabbath Scriptural Selections

This Sabbath, the 27th day of Adar, 5743, the following scriptural selections will be read in our synagogues:

Pentateuchal portion, Exodus 35:1-40:38, 12:1-20. Prophetical portion, Ezekiel 45:16-46:18, Isaiah 66:1, 24.

Tuesday, Rosh Hodesh Nisan, Numbers 28:1-15.
Candlelighting, Friday, March 11, 6:17 p.m.

VOL. LXXXIII, No. 2

Page Four

Friday, March 11, 1983

THE MORAL SCALPEL

The past few weeks have been filled with
painful agonies for Israel and the Jewish people.
While in the course of a period of time there
was some surcease from the pain created by the
avalanche of condemnations, after the Commis-
sion of Inquiry headed by Israel Supreme Court
Justice Yitzhak Kahan had issued its
thoroughly annotated report, Israel and the Jew
were often displayed as villains, as the aban-
doners of the ethical codes of their people.
While the accusatory forces were in action,
and many Jews were guilty of misjudging and of
condemning their kinfolk, the scalpels were
used brutally, without anesthesia. It was as if
the Jew himself had committed the crimes, as if
Jews were resorting to pogroms. The very use of
that term, which was the description of the hor-
ror of the ages imposed upon Jews, was a
tragedy partially engineered by the media,
mostly resultant from the panic into which
many were driven and the accompanying fail-
ure to seek the facts while glorifying ignorance
in human relations.
The Kahan Commission brought a measure
of relief for an agonized generation. Yet, the
scalpel wounds keep festering. They need correc-
tion which almost borders on defiance. A meas-
ure of it has just been provided in a scholarly
essay definitive of the realism that marks the
moral codes and the ethical values of the Jewish
people.
The anesthetic for the sharp scalpels is pro-
vided by Dr. David Hartman, director of the
Shalom Hartman Institute of Advanced Judaic
Studies in Jerusalem and senior lecturer in phi-
losophy at the Hebrew University and a per-
sonal adviser to the Israel minister of education.
His evaluation, "The Covenant in Israel," is an
essay that appeared on the New York Times
Op-Ed Page.
Dr. Hartman declares, "In a world that has
learned to accept violence and atrocities with
indifference, the Kahan Report is a significant
sign of hope. If the King can listen to the Pro-
phet, then God can live in history." Thereupon
Dr. Hartman pursued his definition by turning
to a vital element in the issues under considera-
tion — the obligations equally to be shared by
Israel's neighbors. He states on this score:
"I hope that our Arab neighbors have come
to appreciate the spirit of the Kahan commis-
sion's report. Modern Israel will give expression
to the fullness of its moral potential when a new
way will be found in which both Palestinians
and Israelis will learn to live with each other in
mutual trust and dignity."
This is based on the moral aspects, and Dr.
Hartman deals with them on the positive note
that was missing in so many of the accusatory
declarations that were accompanied by the
pains of impatient judges. This portion of Dr.
Hartman's explanatory essay needs emphasis:
"The command to become a holy nation is
given a firm basis in reality when a society does
not evaluate its political and military options
solely by the law of national self-interest.
"From a biblical perspective, the Jewish
people developed their self-understanding as a
nation and the norms of their communal and

political existence when they received the cove-
nant with God at Sinai before entering the
Promised Land. The land is an essential notion
in Judaism because it is there that a living
community can fulfill the covenantal aspira-
tions of Sinai. Statehood is not an absolute
value. From a Judaic perspective, to think
otherwise is idolatrous.
"The national renaissance of Israel con-
stantly raises the question of whether the con-
venantal perception of politics can coexist with
the practical realities of a modern state. The
historical memory of Israel is permeated by the
notion of life as the creation of God. 'Beloved is
man created in the image of God' is the control-
ing ethical category that must shape the na-
tional development of the community.
"What was noteworthy in the Kahan
Commission's report was the modern applica-
tion of the biblical and rabinic teaching regard-
ing the responsibility of a community for the
unintended consequences resulting from moral
neglect.
"Israel is in the midst of a difficult war
against an ideology that views the Jewish
people as aliens and strangers to this land. The
lack of recognition of Israel on the part of the
Arab world results from its refusal to appreciate
the Jewish people's historic and organic connec-
tion to this land. It is a denial of the history and
memory of the Jewish people.
"Israel does not see itself as a post-
Holocaust phenomenon that grew from the-soil
of anti-Semitism. Israel has returned to history
to build a secure home for its people and to
demonstrate how the Judaic tradition can
influence the moral and spiritual quality of a
total society. Judaism is not an other-wordly
faith that lives on the fringes of history but a
way of life that must be tested within the social,
economic and political frameworks of a society."
There is a note of impartiality in Dr.
Hartman's assertion that the Kahan report
"contended that individuals were morally
guilty for not being fully awake to the pos-
sibilities of undeserved suffering of the families
of the enemy. Even when one is engaged in a
bloody war of survival one must deeply inscribe
into one's consciousness the sacredness of
human life. This is a difficult demand in the
midst of war." Therefore the commission "spoke
out of the ethical roots of the Judaic tradition."
Therefore the government's acceptance of
that report "bears witness to the moral vitality
present within Israeli society."
This is a social-theological-philosophic
analysis of an historic ruling. It is also an em-
phasis on the human as well as political ele-
ments in what had emerged as a tragedy but
which must be viewed as a logical interpreta-
tion of the Covenant. It is as such that it must
assuage the agonized. It is the voice of Israel and
the affirmation of the ethical code. In such
realism a basic issue is defined in a process of
healing that will hopefully soon unite all the
elements in the Middle East society toward the
fulfillment of the aspiration for peace in the
Arab-Jewish sphere as well as that of all man-
kind.

Children's Photo Album:
Indictment of Inhumanities

More than a million Jewish children were among the brutalized
Six Million. Their memories continued to cry out as an indictment of
the Nazi crime and of humanity's silence when these horrors were
committed.
A Chinese guideline to the influence of the photographic art
states that "One photo is worth a thousand words." This is especially
applicable to "The Children We Remember," an album with photo-
graphs, each speaking thousands of words as reminders of what had
occurred, how the memory should be treated.
In "The Children We Remember" (Kar-Ben Copy Publishers),
Chana Byers Abells has collected photographs, incorporated in the
files of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, depicting the youth who were
slaughtered, their lives before the Holocaust and during it, all having
led to the most moving of all tragedies.
The 41 photographs in this picture book also indicate the resis-
tance, showing there was courage in the lives of the condemned.
How moving the portrayal, in the pictorial testament, when
children, themselves hungry, are shown sharing their food with the
equally unfortunate.
These oppressed children helped their friends. They risked their
lives under challenge from the brutes in Nazi attire.
As director of the photo and film division of Yad Vashem, Chana
Byers Abells is the editor of "Archives of Destruction — A Photo-
graphic Record of the Holocaust." It indexes 15,000 photographs of the
pre-war and post-war world Jewries. Now on leave at Yale Univer-
sity, she is the video archivist of Video Archives for Holocaust Tes-
timony.
Acknowledgements included -by authors in their books are sel-
dom if ever given too much attention, since it is mostly personal in
reference. It is different here. The acknowledgements are:
"To my husband, Zvi, for his help;
"To photographer Giora Drachsler for his cooperation;
"To Dr. Shmuel Krakowski, director of archives at Yad Vashem,
who gave me the opportunity to learn about my people's heroism and
martyrdom; and
"To my children, Sharona, Gila and Deena, who, but for time and
space, might have shared the fate of The Children We Remember."
These provide a record of great significance, emphasizing the
value of a most notable work.
"The Children We Remember" is a reminder for the generations.
Young and old will be movedbythis record. "Never Forget" slogan
gains reality here.

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