THE JEWISH NEWS
Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with the issue of July 20, 1951
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Sabbath Scriptural Selection
This Sabbath, the 27th day of Au, 5743, the following scriptural selections will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17.
Prophetical portion, Isaiah 54:11-55:5.
Tuesday and Wednesday, Rosh Hodesh Elul, Numbers 28:1-15.
Candlelighting, Friday, Aug. 5, 8:27 p.m.
VOL. LXXXIII, No. 23
Friday, August 5, 1983
DEMOCRACY AT THE HELM
Democracy is always at the helm for the
truly dedicated to the human spirit, although it
is also always being tested.
The very term was under scrutiny in the
ethically-affirmed Israel atmosphere, when
bigotry threatened the realities of that nation.
Jews were not exempt from violations of the
very spirit of the democratized society. With the
freedoms granted to differeing views that spirit
not only survived: it emerged as a powerful
weapon for justice and human decency.
The differing views have been and remain
in evidence in the Diaspora as well as in the
embattled Israel. Many people reserve the right
to challenge what they denigrate as Establish-
ment, and there is often the abuse of the princi-
ples aspired to while seeking the right to speak
and to criticize. Such rights are commendable,
yet even the suspected Establishment has a
duty to demand adherence to basic unities in the
life of a people and its scattered communities.
It is on this score that the testing of demo-
cratic claims becomes a serious responsibility.
It is when the unity in a people's major aims is
threatened that democratic ideals become espe-
A definition of democracy to be taken espe-
cially seriously is Thomas Jefferson's, from his
Men, by their constitutions, are naturally
divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and
distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers
from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2.
Those who identify themselves with the people,
have confidence in them, cherish and consider
them as the most honest and safe, although not
the most wise, despository of the public interest.
In every country these two parties exist .. .
The appellation of Aristocrats and Democrats is
the true one, expressing the essence of all.
To the late Supreme Court Justice Louis D.
Brandeis was attributed the statement:
"Democracy substitutes self-restraint for exter-
nal restraint." In a sense, this is applicable to
the Jeffersonian principle because it calls for
respect for the neighbors dealt with, even
when differing with them. But there is an even
more enchanting application, in the democratic
sense, in the writings of Heinrich Heine. In
"Shakespeare's Maiden: Jessica," Heine wrote:
I remember reading in Josephus that there
were in Jerusalem republicans who opposed the
royally-inclinded Herodians, fought them
fiercely, called no man "master," and • hated
Roman absolutism most bitterly. Freedom and
equality was their religion. What madness!
Especially significant, in this search for
understanding and appreciation of the demo-
cratic ideal is a definition by Baruch (Benedict)
Spinoza. In "Theologico-Political Treatise,"
written in 1670, he admonished:
I believe democracy to be of all forms of gov-
ernment the most natural, and the most conson-
ant with individual liberty. In it no one transfers
his natural right so absolutely that he has no
further voice in affairs, he only hands it over to
the majority of a society, whereof he is a unit.
Thus all men remain, as they were in the state of
This is the essence: the unit, the unity. It is
the everlasting ogligation that becomes even
more compulsive in time of crisis.
Perhaps this is a time of crisis. How else are
the critics who defy the unity that is so urgent
for continuity and identification to be judged?
Unity does not mean uniformity. In its most
idyllic sense, it rejects uniformity. It demands,
however, that the basic needs should not be
To the point: Peaceniks striving for highest
idealism in conformity with Jewish ethical
teachings have a right to, must continue to
propagate their ideals, demanding that Israel,
the Nation and the People, strive for an end to
warfare. It must come on a high level of coopera-
tion and in a spirit of deliberation and attaining
a common ground to reach accord for an end to
warfare and the commencement of an idealism
that will speed security and will reject threats to
life and liberty. Therefore, it must also account
for the reactions from the outer world. If the
latter is basically aimed at Israel's destruction,
then this must be taken into account. And then
there is the extremism of those who would im-
pose their will on the majority and would even
interfere with the philanthropic. Because they
differ, they would also obstruct the unified ef-
fort to provide the means for support and de-
fense of everything which is collectively related
to the Jewish community, on a global as well as
domestic effort. Both such differing attitudes
are destructive and are not to be tolerated.
As in all aspects of human relations, it is
fortunate that the constructive predominates,
and it does so because there is more tolerance
than there is the negating. There may be an
irony in the faulted in democracy. There is the
elevating in the respect that is generated when
the seriousness in mankind retains its ground.
The concern now is in the Jewish commu-
nity. If the reality of democracy in Jewish ranks
has not been recognized, it is time that it gained
appreciation. Its solidity is in unity., There are
the frequent appeals for cooperative efforts to
provide the means to continue the function of an
organized life. Therse are defined in the term
It is when such unity is interfered with that
the very roots of democratic principles are af-
fected. It is when unity prevails that democracy
functions. This is the reality of democracy in
There is a compelling ethical command, in
Pirke Avoth, the Ethics of the Fathers, which
keeps reminding the identified in JewiAl life
that they must never separate themselves from
the unified forces of their people. It does not
qualify with a permission to undermine because
they differ. It spells out the people's unity in
If there is a minority that has not yet
learned that lesson, the schools of Jewish
thought are open to them.
`The Jewish Kids Catalog'
JPS Catalog for Youth
Whatever concerns may have ever been expressed over the hand-
icaps in providing the proper reading and study material for Jewish
youth is assuredly solved with the appearance of "The Jewish Kids
The Jewish Publication Society earns the right to boast about
publishing this fascinating book, and Chaya M. Burstein, who is both
the author of the contents and the illustrator of the many scores of
pictures that accompany the text, merits acclaim for a notable contri-
bution to the library of books for children.
The book is remarkable in every detail. It is Jewishly all-
inclusive. It contains nearly all the facts one would wish to pass on to a
child about the Jewish heritage.
The highly-commendable character of "The Jewish Kids
Catalog" is both its all-inclusiveness and the intimacy with which the
young reader is treated. Youth are immediately attracted to the text
by the importance of the facts related,,and they are presented with a
casuality that avoids the impression that the reader is being taught.
Yet, as an achievable reality, "The Jewish Kids Catalog" entertains
while serving unintentionally perhaps as a textbook.
Thus, it is the informative source book about everything Jewish,
about family life, the home, the rituals in the synagogue, the holidays,
the ceremonials which assume charm in the manner presented here
and the illustrative emphases,
Chaya Burstein performs the thrilling task of taking the young
reader on a world tour, introducing youth to world Jewry and the
Jewish communities, at the same time defining the Jewish way of life.
The author not only explains the holidays and the manner of
observing them. She also accompanies her guiding manner by relat-
ing them to mannerisms and also by providing knowledge about
Jewish culinary arts.
Application of this text to the knowledge to be provided for the
"kids" becomes apparent here as applicable for parents as well. The
adults have much to learn from this text and together with the youth
there is the assurance that proper information can thus be passed on
to all in the family in a sharing of Jewish facts in an entertaining
approach that results in acquisition of the details that are vital to
An interesting element is the emphasis given to the language
usage by Jews. There is emphasis on Hebrew, the Holy Tongue treat-
ment and the Scriptural studies as a basis and the Hebraic dominance
in Israel. The author thereupon traces the values of other tongues
which gained importance in Jewish historical experiences, including
Yiddish and Ladino.
As part of the delight provided for young readers there is the
guide to finding Jewish pen pals. It is part of a chapter entitled
"Friends Around the World" and is an emphasis on the unity Of the
Jewish people. It is with such approaches that commitment to Jewish
values- becomes impressive in a very lively book.
"The Jewish Kids Catalog" has unlimited charm. It embraces
history, literature and the legendary about the Jewish people. It is
replete with humor and the quoted parables and proverbs keep entic-
ing the reader to this fact- and fun-filled book.
Miss Burstein already has a number of important prize-winning
books to her credit. She has risen to great heights with this one,
meriting deep appreciation for a notable contribution to Jewish liter-