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July 08, 1983 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-07-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

28 Friday, July 8, 1983

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Bronfman Talks With Spain, Ivory Coast;
Liberia Reconsiders Its Ties With Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) —
Edgar Bronfman, president
of the World Jewish Con-
gress, had private meetings

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here with Prime Minister
Felipe Gonzalez of Spain
and President Felix
Houphouet-Boigny of Ivory
Coast. The subject of dip-
lomatic relations with Is-
rael figured prominently in
both discussions, a WJC
spokesman reported.
. The spokesman said the
meetings were "highly pos-
itive" and reported that
Gonzalez invited Bronfman
to pay an official visit to
Madrid next fall. Bronfman
was accompanied at his
meeting with Gonzalez by
Howard Squadron, im-
mediate past chairman of

the
Conference
of
Presidents of Major Ameri-
can Jewish Organizations.
Meanwhile, the leader of
Liberia, Commander-in-
Chief Samuel Doe, is seek-
ing agreement of the
People's Redemption Coun-
cil, the representative body
in Liberia, to open talks
with Israel on the resump-
tion of diplomatic relations,
according to a Radio Mon-
rovia broadcast monitored
here by the WJC. Doe spoke
of the possible "role Liberia
could play to help establish
genuine peace in the Middle
East" and indicated that if

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given a mandate, he was
prepared to talk with the
Prime Minister of Israel.
Doe noted, according
to the broadcast, that in
the 10 years since Liberia
and other African na-
tions severed relations
with Israel in accordance
with the decision of the
Organization of African
Unity (OUA) after the Oc-
tober 1973 war, no satis-
factory progress has
been made toward peace
in the Middle East. Doe
said "This is because we
avoided direct talks with
Israel."

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Lane B. Steinger - Rabbi
Norman Rose - Cantor
Dr. Milton Rosenbaum - Rabbi Executive
Dr. Abraham Anaroni - Director of Education & Youth Activities
Stanley Finkelstein - President

INNIIIIIIN

He said Liberia firmly be-
lieves in the settlement of
disputes by negotiations
and while it remains corn-
mitted to the Arab cause,
"the settlement in Lebanon
and the return of all Arab
lands and the Palestinian
question would be more
fruitfully resolved through
negotiations."
Doe said that if the
Peoples Council responds
positively to his proposal,
"We will proceed in the
spirit of the Camp David ac-
cords and Liberia's tradi-
tional belief in good will
among nations, to give due
consideration to the estab-
lishment of relations with
Israel."
He urged other African
leaders to act more con-
structively toward the Mid-
dle East because, "After 10
years, our isolation of Israel
has only helped to an-
tagonize the achievement of
peace in that area."

Dutch Force
to Leave UNIFIL

Boris Smolar's

`Between You
. . . and Me'

Editor-in-Chief
Emeritus, JTA

(Copyright 1983, JTA, Inc.)

PRICELESS JUDIACA: Very few Jews in this coun-
try — in fact, in the entire world — know about the Cairo
Geniza, which is considered the most important collection
of ancient fragments of Jewish literary remains and docu-
ments written in Hebrew and Aramaic, most of them on
vellum. Some of them are older than the Dead Sea Scrolls.
"Geniza" is a Hebrew word. It means "hiding." Jewish
tradition prohibits the destruction of books which by long
use, or want of care, came to be in a defective state. These
"invalid" books are disqualified for the common purpose of
study; their fragments have to be out of sight to protect
them from abuse. Hence, the tradition of geniza — hiding
them in cellars or attics of synagogues — which is observed
by Orthodox Jews.
The oldest geniza fragments — hundreds of thousands
of them — were discovered at the end of the last century in
the building of the more than 1,000-year-old Ben Ezra
Synagogue in Cairo. There is hardly a branch of Jewish
learning that has not been revolutionized and enriched by
the discovery of these fragments.
Collections of the Cairo fragments can now be found in
many major libraries in the world, including the British
Museum, the French Academy, the large and famous li-
brary in Leningrad, the Hungarian Academy of Science in
Budapest, major libraries in Germany, Holland and other
countries, and, of course, Israel. Also in libraries of some
American universities. The Jewish Theological Seminary
of New York, the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and
the Dropsie University in Philadelphia are among the
Jewish institutions of higher learning in the U.S. that have
substantial collections of the Geniza fragments.
U.S. FUNDS SOUGHT: The largest collection of
Geniza fragments and texts recovered from the Cairo
synagogue is now in the Cambridge University Library, in
England. It numbers about 140,000 fragments, mainly in
manuscripts.
The American Friends of Cambridge University —
with an office in Washington, D.C. — is now seeking con-
tributions from foundations and interested individuals for
various projects for the Geniza Collection. The AFCU is
recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-
deductible organization, and has been receiving for some
years contributions from American donors. The funds are
needed by the university to complete the conservation and
classification of the thousands of yet unclassified frag-
ments; to produce several volumes of catalogues listing and
describing each of the fragments; and to develop a new
comprehensive program designed to serve the require-
ments of geniza scholars all over the world. Also, to bring
the results of its geniza research to the layman.
The accumulation of the centuries-old priceless geniza
material from the Cairo synagogue is housed in the Cam-
bridge University Library as "The Taylor-Schechter
Geniza Collection." It was Prof. Solomon Schechter, when
he was a reader in talriludic literature at Cambridge at the
end of the last century, prior to his becoming the head of the
Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, who had con-
ceived the idea of bringing to the university the precious
manuscript material he suspected could be found in the
depository of worn-out sacred Jewish writings in the Cairo
synagogue. The Cambridge University sent him 1897 to
Cairo at the request of his friend and patron Dr. Charles
Taylor, pastor of St. John's. College in Cambridge, a
noted mathematician and an enthusiastic student of He-
brew who made Schechter's effort possible out of his own
means.
In Cairo, Dr. Schechter secured the approval of the
synagogue authorities to "empty" the geniza. He chose the
most promising material and presented it to the Cambridge
University Library. When he later came to the U.S. to head
the Jewish Theological Seminary, he brought with him a
large collection of fragments.

AMSTERDAM (JTA) —
Parliament has decided al-
most unanimously to com-
ply with a government
recommendation that the
U.S. REFLECTIONS: The geniza collection in Cam-
Dutch contingent in the
bridge,
has, in addition to fragments of sacred books, also a
United Nations Interim
considerable
quantity of mundane legal papers, business
Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)
be withdrawn from Leba- correspondence and individual pieces of secular nature that
give eye-witness accounts of the social, economic and reli-
non Oct. 19.
The Parliament agreed gious activity of the vibrant Near Eastern Jewish com-
with the foreign and de- munities of more than 1,000 years ago: Some relate to the
fense ministers who stated Crusaders' conquest of the Holy Land. Others confirm the
in a recent letter that since Eighth Century conversion of ie Khazars to Judaism.
present the oldest known piece of Yiddish literature,
the Israeli invasion of Some
written in 1382.
Lebanon in June 1982, the
Dutch battalion assigned to
The latest article in Biblical Archeology Review, a non-
UNIFIL has been unable to profit journal published every other month in Washington,
carry out its mission.
features an article on biblical treasures in the Near East by
Tikvah Frymer-Kensky. The author of the piece is an asso-
' Woody Allen was born ciate professor of Near Eastern Studies at Wayne State
Allen Konigsberg.
Uni iersity.

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