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October 21, 1983 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-10-21

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THE JEWISH NEWS

CUSPS 275.520)

Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with the issue of July 20, 1951

Copyright © The Jewish News Publishing Co.

Member of American Association of English-Jewish Newspapers, National Editorial Association and
National Newspaper Association and its Capital Club.
Published every Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co., 17515 W. Nine Mile, Suite 865, Southfield, Mich. 48075
Postmaster: Send address changes to The Jewish News, 17515 W. Nine Mile, Suite 865, Southfield, Mich. 48075
Second-Class Postage Paid at Southfield, Michigan and Additional Mailing Offices. Subscription $18 a year.

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ
Editor and Publisher

ALAN HITSKY
News Editor

CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ

Business Manager

HEIDI PRESS
Associate News Editor

DREW LIEBERWITZ
Advertising Manager

Sabbath Scriptural Selections

This Sabbath, the 15th day of Heshvan, 5744,
the following scriptural selections will be read in our synagogues:

,

Pentateuchal portion, Genesis 18:1-22:24.
Prophetical portion, II Kings 4:1-37.

Candlelighting, Friday, October 21, 6:21 p.m.

VOL. LXXXIV, No. 8

Page Four

Friday, October 21, 1983

A PEOPLE'S VIRILITY

For the several hundred delegated rep-
resentatives from scores of communities in 11
states, the sessions of the East ,Central-
Midwest Leadership Conference of the United
Jewish Appeal, now in session here for a long
weekend of reviews of Jewish needs, the mount-
ing problems in Israel will be among the most
pressing challenges yet hurled at American
Jewry.
Israel's economic problems have reached so
serious a stage that a near-panic has resulted
from the latest devaluation of the shekel. There-
fore, concern over the status of that .oft-tried
people echoed similar disturbances among the
Jewish compatriots in this country. The change
in government added to anxiety. The battles
between political parties in Israel added a
measure of alarm over the future developments.
The religious differences and the domination of
power-infected extremists do not help in the
search for a sense of calmness over multiple
problems.
If one were to search for all the reasons for
concern over the tenseness of a situation that
affects all Jews, everywhere, in relation to the
future of Israel, it would be limitless. There is
always the agony of divisiveness in Jewish
ranks which magnifies an already-over-
charged experience.
Therefore, when responsible representa-
tives of Jewish communities meet to confront
the challenges — and they are primarily those
emanating from and about Israel — the duty is
to be realistic in order to reach a firmness that
will reject panic.
There is no room for fright and therefore
every appeal for unified Jewish action must be
based on the pragmatism that belies subjection
to unrest and fear.

The United Jewish Appeal representatives
assembled here will surely confront the issues,
none of which can or should be shelved. Trou-
bles galore are on the agenda and the record of
alarming occurrences cannot be either erased or
hidden. Therefore, there will, as there must, be
an acceptance of what exists. Therefore, the in-
vited reply to all that is truly horrifying in the
people's experience.
World Jewry has never been without prob-
lems on a general basis, and Israel has to her
credit only a minimum of relatively peaceful
years on the lenghty calendar of threats to her
very existence and obstacles to unified action
internally. There have always been the an-
tagonists within the family ranks who created
obstructions to Jewish aims for progressive ac-
tions in the redeemed Jewish state. What is
occurring now is cumulatively more serious.
But there is nothing new when troubles appear
on the threshold of Jewish existence.

All of which invites the emphasis on the
major factor of Israel's rebirth. It is the exis-
tence of Israel that has inspired and must em-
phatically add to the inspiration that what was
attained is never to be destroyed. The great

miracle of redemption can never be reduced in
historic significance. Whatever the obstacles,
Israel must receive the encouragement for life
on the highest levels, and when these are tem-
porarily polluted the reply must be on the scale
of the declarations of the ages, of "never say
die," of reasserting that the chief item of Jewish
experimentations with problems, no matter
how threatening they may be, is a continuity
that cannot be questioned.
It has been questioned and there are
fellow-Jews who add to obstructions. This is one
of the chief items on the agenda of a gathering of
Jews who assemble to plan in defense of their
people's right and determination to be a con-
structive factor in humankind. It is a repetitive
aspiration to and demand for Jewish unity.
What is occurring now, the problems in Is-
rael, the divisiveness over-sensationalized in
American Jewish ranks, combine to state to
representative assemblies that what is vital
and demanding is Jewish unity.

* * *

A UJA assembly like the one in session
here at the present time will call for philan-
thropic ardor. It will, as it must, indicate the
need for an uninterrupted flow of funds to aid
Israel in undeniable distqss. This factor, too,
must be clarified. No matter how much money is
provided by Diaspora Jews, it is insufficient to
meet the needs. Yet, the money is needed — as
aid to new settlers, whose ranks hopefully will
increase; to provide for the elderly and the indi-
gent; to assure the support for the universities
which are so important for Israel and for the
Jewish people everywhere as inspirations.
Primarily, what is most vital is the mes-
sage that goes forth from Diaspora to Israel —
stating to the embattled people that it is not
being abandoned, that the Jews of the world
stand with them in time of crisis, that there is a
unity that is indestructible.
There is an occasional headline sen-
sationalizing divisiveness, as in one notable in-
stance that "Brothers Split on Israel." What the
assembly here surely declares is that such
agonies exist but they are rare and Jewish devo-
tions do not respect them. What is surely in
evidence in the gathering of unifying Jewish
forces is that the unity of the Jewish people
cannot be destroyed by either a lack of vision, or
a missing of a sense of decency, or the inhuman-
ity that would wipe out a people's determined
will that redemption be treated as the glory of
fulfillment of inerasable Prophecy.

* * *

Therein the positive "therefore": that the
miracle of redemption be treated as the unas-
sailable determination that Jewish unity never
be molested, that it send forth a message to
Israel and to Jews everywhere who need her
that solidarity in Jewish ranks is here to assure
the security of the attained end to Jewish
homelessness.
It is in this spirit that this community wel-
comes the assembled who are here to solidify
Jewish unity.

Published. by Avon Books

Holocaust Hasidic Tales
Dignify the Resistance

The deeply moving "Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust" (Avon
Books), assembled by Yaffa Eliach, has incorporated "The Last Re-
quest":
"As the German einsatzgruppen were about to execute the
Jewish population in a small Ukrainian town, an Hasidic Jew walked
over to the young German officer in charge and told him that it was
customary in civilized countries to grant a last request to those con-
demned to death. The young German assured the Jew that he would
observe that civilized tradition and asked the Jew what his last wish
was.
" 'A short prayer,' replied the 'Jew. 'Granted!' snapped the Ger-
man.
"The Jew placed his hand on his bare head to cover it and recited
the following blessing, first in its original Hebrew, then in its German
translation: 'Blessed art thou, 0 Lord our God, King of the Universe,
who hath not made me heathen.'
"Upon completion of the blessing, he looked directly into the eyes
of the German and with his head held high, walked to the edge of the
pit and said: 'I have finished. You may begin.' The young German's
bullet struck him in the back of the head at the edge of the huge grave
filled with bodies."
It is an ending in martyrdom. The lesson, however, is on the
highest level of spiritual dignity and is perhaps among the most
impressive evidences of a resistance that has defied the brutalities
and has emerged in the triumph of the Jewish will to live under the
most brutally oppressive conditions.
Every account of tragic experience in this record of response to
the inhumanities is marked by a dignity that is rooted in the spiritual
powers attained in Hasidism and in the Jewish spirit of retaining
faith under the most difficult conditions.
Miss Eliach introduces her tales, in translations from the Yid-
dish, by defining the emergence of the Hasidic acclamation of faith in
its historical aspects. Her introductory essay on Hasidism therefore
adds immensely toward a recognition of the great contributions made
by the movement toward inspiring confidence in a faithful Jewish
traditional life. It perpetuates the glory of the legacies that are Jewish
in confronting the agonies that stemmed from the oppressions
threatened by the tyrannies of the people's historic experiences.
The Eliach preface has additional value in the attention it draws
to the influence of Hasidism on scholars like Martin Buber, authors
like I.L. Peretz and many more. It points out, for example, that "like_
Peretz, Buber, one of the pioneers in bringing Hasidic literature to the
world at large, was deeply moved by the religious message of the
Hasidism, and he considered it his duty to convey that message to the
world."
-
"Hasidic Tales from the Holocaust" is subtitled "From the Tor-
ment of the Camps, They Brought Their Tales of Faith, Hope and
Love." Miss Eliach traces the history of the Hasidic beginnings. It was
in the early 1800s in Podolia, Volhynia, in the Ukraine, after the me
massacres conducted by the forces of the Cossack Bogdad Chmielnicki
and in the era of the False Messiah Sabbatai Zevi that the movement
came into being under the inspired guidance of Israel ben Eliezer who
became known in history as the Baal Shem Tov.
The revitalization of Jewish life that developed from such
spiritual teachings is reflected in what must be viewed as the most
courageous resistance record recorded in the Eliach edited and trans-
lated tales of faith and courage.

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