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June 10, 1983 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-06-10

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2 Friday, June 10, 1983


Purely Commentary

Max Fisher as an Inspiration,
Irwin Field in Succession, and
the Dedicated Co-Workers

The New Era of Jewish Leadership, Detroiters'
Pioneering and Pace-Setting on National Scale
. .. This Community's Gifts to the Music World

By Philip

In the Field of Music:
Joseph Silverstein Reaches
High Among Many Confreres

chestra, in addition to ap-
pearing as soloist in many
concerts. Detroiters will re-
call another man of promi-
Many Detroiters have attained national fame in the
nence in the musical world,
field of music. The names of Chajes, Lipkin, Meckler,
Joseph Gingold, who as con-
Tickton are among the many that are unforgettable. In
certmaster of the Detroit
fact, it is difficult to list all who have merited widest recog-
Symphony also was
Joseph's teacher, when the
youngster was attending
Joseph Silverstein merits special attention at this time
the Tappan Intermediate
because a concert that has become an annual event of
significance in Detroit, the Peter and Clara Weisberg Con-
Efrem Zimbalist, an-
cert at Cong. Shaarey Zedek next Tuesday, places him in
renowned violin
the limelight. He is first violin and a frequent soloist with
teacher, was Silverstein's
the Boston Symphony.
instructor when the boy, at 13, won a scholarship to the
Joseph's father was a violinist, and the two shared an Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
unusual relationship. There are many in the Sholem
Another of Joseph's teachers who must be mentioned is
Mischa Mishakoff.
Aleichem family who recall that Joseph, at the age of 6 or 7,
was invited to entertain the group, the children and
The entire record of Joseph Silverstein is too lengthy to
teachers in the Yiddish school, and they marveled at the be repeated here, other than to mention that at the age of 28
skill displayed by a mere child. That's how Joseph gained he was named concertmaster of the Boston Symphony. He
stature, and from his mere babyhood — perhaps 4 when he won the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium Award in 1959. His
was presented with his first violin — he mastered the skill numerous other orchestral associations lend added impor-
that led him to unquestioned leadership in the musical tance to his career. -
Thus, an annual Shaarey Zedek concert gains drawing
His father directed the All-City Symphony Or- power because an eminent Detroit celebrity is being rein-
troduced professionally to his native community.

Election of Irwin .Field as chairman of the United Is-
rael Appeal is in itself significant news. Top leadership in
the UIA has long been judged as second only to the chair-
manship of the Jewish Agency for Israel. The elevation of
Field to so noteworthy a role therefore serves as a guide to
what may be happening generally in Jewish leadership, in
this country and on a world scale.
It is from the ranks that Field has come up to his
present position. He was the youngest man to have been
named national chairman of the United Jewish Appeal less
than a decade ago. Now, under 50, he succeeds one of
America's most eminent personalities, Jerrold Hoffberger,
to the UIA chairmanship.
Hoffberger was named to that post as successor to Max
M. Fisher, and this provides a measure of totality to the
Detroit chapter in American Jewish leadership.
Paul Zuckerman, who retains an important share in
activism in support of Israel — tirelessly, he tours the
country in behalf of the UJA and other Israeli causes and
visits Israel perhaps a dozen times a year — is the third
Detroiter to have held the national UJA chairmanship,
sandwiched in between the periods of the movement's lead-
ership by Max Fisher and Irwin Field.
Now it is the Jewish
Agency for Israel that is due
for a change of guard.
From all indications,
Hoffberger will be Fisher's
successor, to be elected at
conciliation, probably are Jews. These latter
the approaching meetings
NEW ORLEANS — For explain her present authors, including most of
of the Jewish Agency in Cynthia Ozick, 1983 is al- achievement.
' our well-known novelists —
ready a very good year. In
At the heart of that she excepts Saul ,Bellow —
The choice of JA suc- March, two of her earlier achievement lies Ozick's have no problem since they
cession is in itself notewor- collections of stories were awareness of an ethical im- don't take Halakha that
thy. Hoffberger is a published in paperback: perative, both in word and seriously.
dynamic personality. He "The Pagan Rabbi and deed. An emphasis on
As she does take it seri-
has many community Other Stories" and "Levita- Covenant is to be found in ously, she has to find a way
achievements to his credit tion: Five Fictions" (E.P. "Art and Ardor"; serving of reconciling her work with
preceding his presidency of Dutton). The latter book God is basic. For artists, her belief. Since that is al-
the UIA. As president of the was a widely hailed narra- that is, Jewish writers who most impossible, it has led
Council of Jewish Federa- tive success of 1982. put Judaism above art, to a microcosmic "crisis of
tions, as an officer in the
At that time I described what they create must theology" at the center of a
Ozick as the new darling of emerge from a moral source larger macrocosmic one. In
Agency, in his numerous
the Jewish literary estab- and move toward a moral the 17th Century, Kabala sense. I know of no history of
positions in his native city
lishment. With the appear- objective.
produced, along with the Reform Judaism that lo-
of Baltimore, he has regis-
ance now of "Art and Ardor"
In her essay "The Riddle Chmielnicki massacres, cates its beginning in a link-
tered a record of devotion to
(Alfred A. Knopf); she has of the Ordinary," Ozick Sabbatai Zevi and his false ing with Sabbatianism. If
Jewish and civic causes.
a claim to being one serves God and her ethical messianism. In the essay Max Dimont had said this
Much has been said and
of our foremost literary cri- imperative by contemplat- "The Fourth Sparrow: The one could dismiss it with a
written about Max Fisher.
tics. Not that she wasn't ing, in a memorably lyrical Magisterial Reach of Ger- shrug. But not Cynthia
When he reaches his 75th
recognized for her critical passage, the spiritual shorn Scholem," Ozick Ozick!
birthday, in a matter of
acumen before; she was, but splendor of the everyday writes of this Sabbatianism
When Ozick isn't wrestl-
weeks, the recognition ac-
the 25 essays which corn- world:
as follows:
ing with her Jewish con-
corded him will be on a na-
prise this new collection "So there are blessings to"The crisis of theology science and its related prob-
tional scale. He possesses
were selected from more rejoice in on smelling sweet brought on by the messiah's lem of how a true Jew writes
those qualities which make
than 100 scattered articles. woods or barks, fragrant apostasy (Sabbatai Zevi's in English, her interests
for genuine leadership to
Ozick, like Osiris and plants, fruits, spices or oils. conversion to Islam) led the range afar. On .a variety of
which the followers respond
Humpty Dumpty, looks bet- There is a blessing on wit- believers to abandonment of subjects she writes lucidly,
with respect and often with
ter all put together. nessing lightning, falling traditional
rabbinic with restraint, the above
deep affection. It does not
The nice thing in this new stars, great mountains and Judaism, and from there quotation notwithstanding,
mean that he is above criti-
compilation for Ozick deserts: 'Blessed are You . . . with astonishing directness verve and commanding in-
cism, that he is faultless.
watchers is that for the first who fashioned Creation.' to Reform Judaism, anarch- sight.
What is important is that he
time it is possible to get an 'the sound of thunder has its ism, Enlightenment, revo-
Her account of Virginia
listens to reason and is
overview of her _critical de- praise, and the sight of the lutionary utopianism, and Leonard Woolf as the
guided by facts of life, by de-
•veloping conditions which
mad woman and her
mine where she stands and ful animals are praised, and orgiastic excess — all the
family-acquired Jewish
are numerous in the respon-
what she stands for, with trees in their first blossom- stupendously complex,
male nurse is fascinating,
sibilities to Israel and to the
the added pleasure . of ing of the year or for their often contradictory, strands
her early hero-worship of
community of fellow citi-
chronological perspective. beauty alone, and the new of ideology that are implicit
zens. His retirement from
To get where she pre- moon, and new clothing and in the imagination released Henry James astonish-
ing, het. account of life in
that important office will
sently is, one sees, has not sexual delight."
from the yoke of Corn- her parents' drugstore
incite blessings from fellow
been easy; if anything, it's
In the very act of prais- mandment. All this was the touching.
workers that he have the
probably been more ing the Creator, Ozick effect of illusion."
She writes perceptively
strength to continue what
painful for her than for recognizes that the art in
It also led, we may add, about feminism and the
will undoubtedly be a share
most critics evolving which the praises are eventually to the short
civil rights struggle, par-
in Jewish and civic duties.
theoretical positions for fashioned, this lyrical stories and novellas of tially avoiding the problem
Irwin Field's rise to
the simple reason that passage, for example, Ozick, and therein are. of dated material by some
eminent leadership merits
she has taken herself and by extension her contained the seeds of updating. Other subjects in-
special attention — as a
seriously as a Jewish cri- narratives, assume an in- her ambivalences.
guide to young Jewish leadership to emulate his example
clude the lives and/or works
tic along halahakic lines termediate identity of
The above observation is of Edith Wharton, E.M.
He stems from a devotedly Jewish home. His mother, Leah,
while her narrative art, their own. This is to say interesting for other rea-
shares the family's deep human interests. She is
like Isaac Bashevis Sing- that out of the forge of sons. It is not the finest Forster, Truman Capote,
authoritative on the theater, especially the Yiddish, and
er's, has distilled and imaginative power they example of Ozick's expertise John Updike, Bernard
she has important roles in women's ranks. His father, Wal-
used the imaginative emerge • as idols. The as a critical judge but rather Malamud, Mark Harris,
ter L. Field, is so devoted to Jewish needs, is so deeply
Harold Bloom, Maurice
force of kabalism. In her, writer, in effect, sub-
an impressive illustration Samuel and others.
concerned with the future of the synagogue as the possessor
Halakha and Kabala sumes the Creator, and in
of her ability to establish
of centrality in Jewish life, that his co-workers view work-
She ascribes to John Up-
have been in perpetual following his literary links and express them in
ing with him in congregational and Zionist ranks as a
dike "brainy radiance." It is
grand sweeping not neces-
privilege. Walter translates his poetic spirit into rhymes,
apt description for her
manher c on, in place of God, thereby sarily convincing state- too. an
and has authored several books.
To read her is to indulge
the former still holding violating the Second ments.
It is the inspiration of such a home that provides
strong in her criticism. Commandment.
wholesomeness in Jewish devotions, and has thus contrib-
One wonders whether epicureanism of such rich-
The resulting tensions
For this reason Ozick dis- this is over-condensed ness that we can be thank-
uted immensely toward Irwin Field's rise to eminence in
and her efforts to master
American and world Jewish ranks.
tinguishes between "Jewish Scholem, epiphany, leg- ful ideas possess energy and
them, moving toward re-
writers" and writers who pulling or cavalier non- heat but no calories.

Cynthia Ozick Essay Collection Is a Triumph


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