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March 25, 1983 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-03-25

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2 Friday, March 25, 1983

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Purely Commentary

Passover for Rejoicing While Reminiscing as a
Note of Jubilation for a Continuing Creativity

By Philip
Slomovitz

When Scholarship and Research Add to the Pride of a Peoplehood Motivated by Learning

Passover is for reminiscing — about the great events that led to the birth of the
Jewish peoplehood. It is also a time for rejoicing.
It is also a time for self-judgment, for taking into account responsibilities of indi-
viduals who cannot, even if they wished, isolate themselves from their people. The Seder
always beckons to them.
Heinrich Heine had been converted. He really never left the Jewish fold. How could
he? His very being was rooted in the legacies and the Seder made it unbreakable.
Therefore Heine asserted, in "Rabbi von Nacharach," written in 1840:
"Jews who long have drifted from the faith of their father . . . are stirred in their
inmost hearts when the old, familiar Passover sounds chance to fall upon their ears."
It is inerasable, and those who are now readying for that powerful magnet, the Seder,
may well take added pride in a dedication to the roots of their peoplehood.
There are many causes for pride in the Jewish spirit and creativity. Even in an age
when fears redound over the spreading assimilation, the losses sustained by intermar-
riage and indifference, there still are the productive, those who lend the comforting
strength that makes Jewish life worth living.
The cultural values are not being abandoned. The creative is in evidence. Learning is
respected, because teaching still abounds.
The evidence is often provided in a special essay, in a brochure, in a full-length book.
When the molders of public opinion are positive in their approaches, they will have an
audience. When research abounds, those for whom it is intended can not perish.
As the Passover approaches, two important volumes have made their appearance to
give emphasis to this expressed idea. Replete with information, based on thorough
research, fortified by facts necessary for an understanding and appreciation of the Jewish
values, they elevate the culture of the people to the highest standards. These two, among
many other important works, come as inspirations on the eve of a great festival.
For the archivist, for teacher as well as student, the facts are not hidden. They are
available, and the responsibility that rests with the American Jewish Historical Society
and the American Jewish Archives, with the major Jewish academies of learning and the
world Jewish organizations, with the publishing houses that are devoted to the Jewish
themes, are basicly fulfilled.

The contributing forces toward elevating the research and publishing processes are
not limited to the strictly Jewish sources. Many in the general sphere assist in these
efforts. Wayne State University Press is exemplary, with its Judaica publications that
add to the literary and historical treasures.
It is from the latter that the scholar now welcomes another immensely scholarly
work. Much enrichment has been provided by WSU Press' Judaica series. Now comes
another gem under the title "The Jerusalem Cathedra." The cathedra, as a professorial
chair in a university, assumes great significance in the ingathering of treasured accom-
plishments in a volume that counts among the most distinguished of the generation in
the vastness of creative writers. These will be fully accredited in a more thorough
analysis of this work. The point to be made at this time is that this creative effort deals
with Jerusalem in the ancient, medieval and modern periods.
This is a time to be fully acquainted with these eras, especially since they lead to an
understanding of the historic importance of the Holy City in Jewish tradition and in
modern determination that the City of Peace remain in the capital of the Jewish state. As
a cathedra, this volume is vital in Jewish studies and for an understanding of the links of
Jewry with Israel.
A second volume of immediate significance, "Guide to America-Holy Land Studies,
1620-1948," is the second volume in a series published by Praeger but inspired by the
American Jewish Historical Society and by Hebrew University's Center for Jewish
Studies. The archival collection in this volume is of immense value and it retains for the
record historic data that must not be hidden.
These are works that provide the links between Israel and world Jewry, and very
significantly the roots that make the American-Israel relations inseparable and con-
tributory to the values of nation-building and the noblest in international relations.
Such are the creative in Jewish planning. They speak well for a determined will by
scholars in Jewish ranks to assure the highest goals in elevating the spiritual-cultural
for the People Israel and for mankind.
On Passover it is well to think of such values as a legacy that makes the festival a
time for jubilation. It is in this fashion that the creative role of an indomitable people
reigns supreme.

In the Season of the Ten Plagues, Count the Blessings of Israel

By CARL ALPERT

HAIFA — The Passover
season is occasion for telling
and retelling the story of the
Exodus from Egypt, and the
terrible Ten Plagues which
helped put the pressure on
Pharaoh to let our people go.
In our own times some
critics of Israel, both over-
seas and domestic, have so
much fault to find with our
government that they never
cease to tell and retell all
the faults, flaws and fail-
ings, real or imaginary
which they find in the
Jerusalem administration.
The trouble is that constant
repetition may give some
people the impression that
Israel is indeed today un-
dergoing a modern version
of the Ten Plagues.
There is no doubt that we
do have problems, but when
I began to take stock, and to
balance our difficulties
against our blessings, I
found that the latter by far
outweighed the "plagues."
Why should we not take
note of all the things that
are right with Israel - all the
things that give us cause for
pride and rejoicing - all the
elements that make life in
Israel a matter of utter joy
and satisfaction.
So here we go with our
1983 list of the Ten

CARL ALPERT

Blessings of Israel:
• True democracy,
where no one is muzzled,
where even maverick
opinions can be ex-
pressed, where the will of
the people is supreme so
that no one, whether
Labor Party or Likud, is
beyond public scrutiny.
• The children, the ador-
able, bright-eyed, talented,
over-active little kids,
whether dark-skinned or
blonds, who bubble over
with enthusiasm and some-
times with hutzpa. (Alas,
they eventually grow up!)
• A national pride, where
Jews stand with heads
erect; where they do not
yield to terrorism, nor
knuckle under to big uncles;

where the memory of the
Six Million assures that this
generation will not cooper-
ate in any effort to endanger
its survival.
• A concern for the
minorities. Yes, we dare say
it, despite all the lies that
have been told, where we
have been responsible for
raising the standard of liv-
ing in every field for the
non-Jewish minorities
among us, far above the
levels of their brethren in
surrounding countries. We
can be proud.
• A Jewish environ-
ment. We know when our
holidays are, and we
celebrate them as a
natural part of our lives,
without having to build
defensive armor against
pervasive alien elements
which in other lands are
dominant.
• A haven for Jews in
need of a home. The refu-
gees from Nazi Europe
know full well what that
means, though not all
emigres from the Soviet
Union have grasped its full
significance.
• The kibutz, its way of
life, the spirit of its people,
its contribution to the qual-
ity of life in the country and
its establishment of
pioneering traditions which

The Front Page 'Illuminations'

Two of the Jewish festi-
vals traditionally inspired
artists to illuminate scrip-
tural texts and the prayer
books. The Megilla has been
a source of inspiration on
Purim, and the illuminated
Haggadot for Passover have
multiplied into a vast li-
brary. The reproductions on
Page One of this issue of The
Jewish News are from two
Haggodot: the Ho Lakhma
and the Ma Nishtana are
from the Koren He Ada of
the-Jeius
Jerusalem Te- Pub-

lishing
House.
The
"V'higadta le-vinha" is from
the Haggada published by
Shmuel Boneh of Shikmon
Publishing House of Haifa.

The "Ho Lakhma" is
appropriate for our time.
The Seder commences with
it and it represents an invi-
tation to all who are hun-
gry to come and to share in
the Passover meal. It is fol-
lowed by the traditional Ma
Nishtana, the youngest
member of the family pos-

ing the question why this
night of Passover is differ-
ent from all other nights.

Then there is the third
selection from the Haggada
— the one that admonished
the elders to teach their
children the meaning of the
festival under observance,
so that they may learn the
true values of the freedoms
that were introduced with
the rebellion of the enslaved
Jews against the Egyptians
who held theni in bondage.

can still serve as models for
the country as a whole.
• A Hebrew culture,
based on the great Hebraic
and prophetic epics of our
people, yet elastic in the
modern idiom and respon-
sive to the moods and spirit
of the 20th Century even in
the tongue of the prophets.
• The new idealism
which finds expression in
settlements in Judea and
Samaria, and even in the
face of criticism at home

insists on establishing
Jewish sovereignty in
every corner of Eretz Yis-
rael. Surely this is in the
same tradition as that of
the courageous halutzim
of earlier decades, who
set up their tower-and-
stockade settlements in
the midst of Arab areas.

• Jewish creative genius,
here unfettered, which has
already made itself felt in
agriculture, in modern

technology, in music and in
other fields of human
achievement. A free Jewish
people on its own soil is
again able to make its con-
tributions to humanity and
to civilization.
When the headlines get
you down, or when surly Is-
raelis . seek to befoul their
own nests, reject the
negativism like the plague
and think of the Ten
Blessings. Every Israeli can
add to the list.

JDC Aids Pesach Celebrations
in Countries Throughout World

NEW YORK — In Cairo,
Egypt, matza and kosher
wine trucked across Sinai
from factories in Israel by
the American Jewish Joint
Distribution Committee
(JDC), the overseas relief
arm of the American Jewish
community, will grace the
Passover tables of the 400
Jews still living in that an-
cient land.
In Tunisia, the Jewish
community of 4,500 baked
Passover cakes with matza
provided by JDC.
In Romania, which has a
Jewish community of
34,000, elderly and infirm
Holocaust survivors re-
ceived a specially-prepared
Passover package, part of
the program that reaches
the Jewish poor throughout
Eastern Europe.
According to JDC
President Henry Taub,
the traditional call to the
hungry to come and join
the Passover meal is an
injunction that JDC, act-
ing in behalf of the
American Jewish com-
munity, takes seriously in
its work around the
world.
JDC Executive Vice
President Ralph I. Goldman
noted that JDC distributed
more than 200 tons of matza

and more than 30,000
bottles of kosher wine as
well as matza meal, cooking
oil and even, in some coun-
tries, macaroons and other
holiday sweets.
Goldman said that in
nearly every one of the
countries where JDC is at
work it is actively involved
in Passover programs in one
form or another. "By far the
largest of these is Passover
cash grants to the needy. In
most nations around the
world," said Goldman,
"Passover supplies are
available and bringing
Passover into the homes of
needy Jews means provid-
ing them with the financial
means to obtain it."
"In other more distant
lands," he added, "there is
no sacramental wine, matza
or matza meal, and it is to
these nations that JDC
ships Passover supplies
using trucks, ships, or even
if necessary, aircraft."
Communities receiving
Passover supplies were
Italy (for Soviet emi-
grants), Greece, Melilla
and Ceuta in Spanish
Morocco, Portugal,
Spain Poland, Czechos-
lovakia, YugOslavia,
Hungary and Egypt.

In Israel, as part of a
JDC-sponsored cultural and
religious program, univer-
sity and yeshiva students
organized a demonstration
Seder for underprivileged
children and their families.
"JDC meets the challenge
of bringing Passover into all
Jewish homes with a
variety of solutions dictated
by the circumstances of the
individual Jewish com-
munities," said Goldman.
"In some cases JDC pro-
vides a subsidy to enable the
community to bake its own
matza. It is all part of its
annual attempt to bring
Passover into the home of
every Jew, no matter how
distant, no matter how
poor."

The American Jewish
Joint Distribution Commit-
tee was established nearly
70 years ago. It is active in
more than 30 countries
around the world. The JDC
has an annual budget of
more than $40 million.
In Israel, JDC aids
yeshiva students, ORT
vocational schools, and
funds 130 community cen-
ters.
The JDC is one of the be-
neficiaries of Detroit's Al-
lied Jewish Campaign.

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