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Editor and Publisher
Rejoicing on Simhat Torah by Chagall
From "The Sukkot and Simhat Torah Anthology" edited by Rabbi
Philip Goodman. Courtesy the publishers, Jewish Publication Society
CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ
Associate News Editor
Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the 24th day of Tishri, 5744,
the following scriptural selections will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Genesis 1:1-6:8.
Prophetical portion, Isaiah 42:5-43:10.
Oct. 7, Rosh Hodesh Heshvan, Numbers 28:1-15.
Candlelighting, Friday, September 30, 6:55 p.m.
VOL. LXXXIV, No. 5
Friday, September 30, 1983
PROPHECY AND REALITY
A new year always commences with
prophecies, with a variety of predictions, with
auguries varying from conquering hope to de-
vastating doom. The commencement of 5744 on
the Jewish calendar is an echo from past experi-
ences. Fear has its sad influence on the human
mind and its negativism strikes some roots. Yet
the historically-minded, and the faithful, do not
panic. There is a hope eternal that defies what-
ever suggestion there may be of approaching
A soothsayer in Israel undertook to inter-
pret the Hebrew word that spells 5744, as a
tashmad that suggests peril. A few days after
reading that interpretive augury that was im-
planted in a word that means destruction, many
turned to a frail symbol of Jewish existence, the
Sukka, and most builders of that collapsible
memento of Jewish historic importance re-
tained portions of it to build anew — in 5744 and
This is not a boasting or a chauvinism, but a
study of realities. Prophets of doom chanted
warnings from the arenas for generations. Even
the Holocaust didn't support their predictions.
How interesting that Jewish communities
should have ignored, as they did, the views of
some preachers who were dominated by visions
of doom! Such distressing words came from a
few rabbis and some Israeli representatives.
Because Israel government allocations were
denied, by the economic circumstances, to uni-
versities, it did not mean the schools of higher
learning will close their doors. This is imper-
missible in Jewish loyalties. Just because the
finances are limited, homes for the aged,
schools, services for the handicapped will not be
abandoned, either in Israel or elsewhere.
Because some Jewish communities, and in
some instances Jewries in entire countries, are
vanishing, does not mean that People Israel is
under threat of extinction. Neither people nor
State will ever be subjected to such an end of
The expressed fears may be judged by what
is happening in at least one country where Jews
still exist but where they find it difficult to
gather a minyan for a religious service. A report
from Cairo is a related point in question. Judith
Miller is the correspondent who reported on the
state of affairs in Cairo to the New York Times.
The newspaper's copyreader appropriately ti-
tled the cabled report, dated Sept. 18, "Cairo
Minyan: Ten Men Hard to Find." It tells the
story in which the reporter points out that there
was a larger minyan composed of diplomats rep-
resenting Israel in Egypt than the Jewish com-
munity of Cairo which now numbers 120. She
points out that there are a few more in Alexan-
dria and reminds that there were more than
100,000 Jews in Egypt prior to the rebirth of the
state of Israel in 1948.
Such are the facts about an unending ex-
perience in Jewish history. Communities van-
ished, because anti-Semitism also is ancient in
practice. But new kehillot sprang up and Jewry
lived on and lives on.
In her report to the New York Times,
Judith Miller gave an important historical ac-
count of the Jewish background in Egypt, list-
ing but these few facts:
"It was Egypt that pro uced the scholars
Philo and Saadia ben Joteph al-Fayumi and the
biblical prophet Jerdmiah. Rabbi Moses ben
Maimon, or Maimonides, revered by many as
the foremost interpreter of Jewish law and
philosophy, spent more than half of his life in
12th Century Cairo."
When communities were destroyed, others
emerged to provide havens and succor. Holland
provided comfort during and after the Inquisi-
tion. yven Poland was a haven for Jews in ear-
lier times, and that's how the immense kehilla,
now nearly totally annihilated, had attained a
population of 3,500,000.
In darkest times, the United States of
America became the chief haven and remains so
Therefore, now, Israel is the blessing of all
times, as the fulfillment of prophecy, and as a
signal for an end to Jewish homelessness.
This may not be total proof of the indestruc-
tibility of Israel, of the Jewish people. But it
suggests to the panicked that if there is a shear,
a remnant, it is more powerful than panic.
That is why the established assertion, net-
zag Israel lo yeshaker — the glory of Israel is not
polluted or destroyable — remains the
guideline for Jews who keep building sukkot
and proclaim the codes which give substance to
Jewish life and to the people that remains a
guide and a source of inspiration to all nations.
There are realities that are substantial.
They negate the fears. On this Simhat Torah
the Scrolls are being hugged with pride where-
ver there are Jews. The Jewish will to live is
more powerful than the striking of power. The
lesson is clear. The reality is on the record.
REMNANTS OF GLORY
An exhibition in 1985 at the Detroit Insti-
tute of Arts will have double significance. There
will be a great measure of pride that the Smith-
sonian Institution travel exhibition includes
this community, and it will express the great
satisfaction that an important portion of the
Czechoslovakian Jewish art treasures, which
were stolen by the Nazis, are not completely
lost. Although only 10 percent of the treasures
have been rescued, they symbolize another ele-
ment in indestructibility when decency and
basic justice are involved. It is heartening to
know that the efforts of people of genius will not
always be at the mercy of barbarians and that
the works of creative people must be retained
for the benefit of generations to come.
The art treasures to be exhibited in the
major cities in this country including Detroit do
not symbolize merely the remnant of glory.
They also affirm the totality of resistance that
makes the creative power of humankind more
powerful than the combined aims of the evils of
All the barbarians.
Report of Conference
Life of Stefan Zweig
Mirrors Human Challenges
Stefan Zweig left noteworthy legacies as a novelist and essayist,
as interpreter of world affairs from the earliest years of this century
into the Hitler era. He was among the widest read in many languages.
As Jew, as humanist, as an intimate with the early leaders in the
emergence of the Zionist movement, he was a personality widely
Prior to his suicide in 1942, which was one of the tragedies in
literary ranks in the midst of the Nazi onslaught on Jews and the
world, he produced works many of which will now surely be reprinted
for a re-acquaintance with the eminent writer.
The 100th anniversary of his
birth, in 1981, inspired symposia
about him and his works. It was occa-
sion to return to an interest in his
creative literary gifts. From March 30
to April 2, 1981, a Stefan Zweig sym-
posium was held at State University of
New York College at Fredonia, N.Y.
The texts of scholarly addresses by
some 30 most distinguished au-
thorities has been recorded in a vol-
ume, "The World of Yesterday's
Humanist Today" and has just been
issued by State University of New
Edited by Marion Sonnenfeld, the
texts cover the human aspects which
inspired Zweig's writings as well as
the issues which affected the lives and
thinking of the generations who were
inspired by Zweig. Editor Sonnenfeld comments in a preface:
"The theme of the symposium represented a challenge to the
assumption that Zweig's work still has significance in our time. It was
chosen in order to make this event more than a celebration of a gifted
writer's centennial, to do more than assemble like-minded analysts
behind the closed doors of timeless, uninvolved belletristic aestheti-
cism. There was debate at the symposium; there was honest criticism
of Zweig's limitations along with appreciation of his oeuvre and his
The Zweig record approaches totality in the discussions in this
symposium. His early years, his travels, his reactions to the horrors
that were perpetrated in the last years of life are recalled. Zweig's
interpretation of history adds value for students of the events in his
"Zweig in Judaism" is a most valuable analysis of how the Jewish
background influenced the eminent author. The concluding portion,
entitled "The Ideal of Eternal Homelessness: Stefan Zweig and
Judaism," was written by Klara Carmely of the California Institute of