THE JEWISH NEWS
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Editor and Publisher
CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ
Associate News Editor
Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the 20th day of Kislev, 5744,
the following scriptural selections will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Genesis 37:1-40:23.
Prophetical portion, Amos 2:6-3:8.
Hanuka Scriptural Selections
Thursday, Numbers 7:1-17. Dec. 2, Numbers 7:18-29.
Candlelighting, Friday, November 25, 4:45 p.m.
VOL. LXXXIV, No. 13
Friday, November 25, 1983
HANUKA 9 S NEW LESSONS
Commencing with Wednesday evening,
Hanuka lights will shine brightly in millions of
No matter how trying and oppressive times
may have been, the Feast of Lights provides
cheer in the legacies of inspired traditions.
Even when conditions were menacing, the
lights were never permitted to dim.
Yet, even in this era of freedom, of hopes
and aspirations undimmed, there are new con-
ditions which call for concerned analyses.
Hanuka is the festival commemorating the
Maccabean victories, yet this era is marked
especially by a craving for peace which at the
moment seems difficult to attain.
Maccabean glory has for its aim an end to
warfare and realization of amity among na-
tions, yet what was then a Syrian threat
emerges anew as threatened brutality on Is-
The unavoidable obligation to resort to
weapons for protection is almost like the only
military medium for peace, yet Jews often de-
monstrate against resort to them, and their
pacifism commands respect even if it is often
This is a new condition in a time when
Hanuka is such an urgent need for Jewish in-
spiration to continuity of die life rooted in a
heritage that spells safety for an entire people
and the perpetuation of their highest goals in
It is on this score especially that the new
Hanuka about to be ushered in has both mes-
sage and challenge. They demand to know
whether a spirit derived from Maccabean valor
is to be limited in time, with an appeal only to
the young who glory in the shining lights and
are blessed with the gifts that come with them,
or whether the spirit of the ages is capable of
inspiring adherents of all ages.
Hanuka is of the ages and for all ages, yet
there are defections, just as there had been
under Hellenism. Perhaps Hanuka is the more
auspicious time to ask why there are defections,
why the power of youth is often missing from
The absentees are in evidence at cultural
functions. They may be commencing to show
themselves philanthropically, but even as ex-
pressing compassion they must not be missed.
When youth is in evidence up to the Bar
Mitzva age, it will be judged as compulsory. It is
in later periods that evidence is craved for on a
Therefore, when the teenager and the col-
lege student are unaccounted for, the people
have a right to be saddened.
Then, there is a dimming of the lights.
It may not be a new condition, but it is ever
new when the challenge is not met, when ranks
thin, when response is undedicated.
Primarily, in the planning stages for the
advancement of Jewish cultural aims, in striv-
ing for the highest standards as means of draw-
ing youth to Jewish ranks and to creating a
strong, identity, the judgment to be exercised
must be cautiously approached. A Book Fair, for
example, need not be voluminous in per-
sonalities. It must strive for the most dignified
and most informative. The blunders of the re-
cent past can be corrected if judgment also will
be linked with criticism.
This applies to the political challenges as
well, and the judgments to be adhered to must
recognize differing views. That is when a com-
munity gains in strength.
Hanuka will always be joyous and bright.
In assuring it, the realities must not be ignored.
The ranks must be strengthened. Only the
youth of a nation can do it. Hanuka will' hope-
fully be observed and the lights lit in such a
spirit of responsiveness, with youth in the lead.
PROOFS OF D EMOCRACIES
A bitter debate that ensued between New
York Mayor Edward Koch and U.S. Secretary of
Defense Caspar Weinberger caused much chag-
rin. Understandably, it created two camps of
opinions with differing approbations and/or
condemnations. It was a dispute in which the
New Yorker challenged the Washingtonian on
the realism of the latter's Middle East attitudes.
Like many more, Mayor Koch accuses Wein-
berger of anti-Israel tendencies.
The dispute was in written charges and
counterings, questions and answers. They were
in writing, on paper.
The issue is bitter enough and involves suf-
ficient public interest also to have drawn the
attention of Arab spokesmen who are assuredly
anti-Israel. They chose to defend Weinberger
and he may be disliking such a public associa-
tion with his views. Perhaps it may have been a
shock to the U.S. Secretary of Defense that, in
agreeing with him and in differing with Mayor
Koch, an Arab spokesman should have
suggested that elsewhere the mayor "might
have been shot." In his account of a portion of
the Koch-Weinberger dispute, in the NYTimes,
Nov. 12, Eric Pace reported:
"And Raymond Rashid, an American of
Lebanese origin who is a partner in Rashid
Sales Company, a 49-year-old Brooklyn-based
concern that distributes, wholesales and retails
Arab films and phonographic records as well as
Arabic books and newspapers, criticized Mayor
Koch with a smile. He said, 'In some other coun-
tries, if a mayor made disharmony with a
cabinet minister, they might shoot him.' "
There is a marvelous cause for vanity and
inner satisfaction in the latter comment. Where
the quoted comes from, the suggestion is that a
person with a differing view could be shot. In
Israel and in America, varying opinions have
the pen and the typewriter as weapons for both
attack and defense.
Yiddish Proverbs Craving
for English Translations
Modern Yiddish writers merited translations into many lan-
guages, predominantly into English. They included Sholem Aleichem
and I.L. Peretz, as well as Mendel Mocher Seforim.
Currently, Isaac Bashevis Singer is widely read in English, his
latest work in translation being "The Penitent." Matching him is the
recognition given to one of the most eminent writers of this era,
Chaim Grade, whose "Rabbis and Wives" has appeared posthum-
ously; others of his writings are scheduled for early publication.
A work that craves for an English translation is "Yiddishe
Shprichwerter" — "Yiddish Proverbs" — containing thousands of
sayings and just reprinted by the Congress for Jewish Culture after a
lapse of 70 years.
In 1949, Schocken Books published a 120-page compilation of
"Yiddish Proverbs" by Hana J. Ayalti. It is a bilingual collection and
Ayalti introduced the Yiddish sayings in their original, with the
English translations on parallel pages.
Intermittently, several other accumulations of Yiddish sayings
appeared. Now comes the immense Congress for Jewish Culture vol-
ume, containing the thousands of Yiddish proverbs compiled by Ig-
natz (Ignacy) Bernstein. The eminent compiler edited the accumu-
lated sayings and the new volume lists them in alphabetical sections,
from Aleph to Taf.
Born in Vinitza, Podolia, in 1836, Ignatz (Itzhak) Bernstein was
the son of Shimshon Bernstein, a wealthy sugar dealer, highly cul-
tured and very philanthropic. The family settled in Warsaw in 1856.
Visiting in Berlin in 1859, Itzhak found a treasured collection of
sayings about Jews. He became so deeply interested in them that he
devoted himself to the task of collecting literary essays about such
He collected 4,780 individual sayings in 100 languages.
In 1900, he published a two-volume catalogue listing his collected
sayings. It is still considered among the most classic typographical
masterpieces. He bequeathed the collection to the Polish Academy of
Knowledge in Cracow. This Polish academy did not even find it
necessary to mention it in its biographical lexicon.
The biographical details are based on Yakov Shatzky's "Lexicon
of the New Yiddish Literature." The biographical data continues to
indicate that a portion of Bernstein's collected sayings was reprinted
by Mordecai Spektor. It contained 2,056 proverbs. It appeared in
Spektor's magazine "House Friend" in 1888 and 1889.
In 1908, in Leipzig, there appeared a deluxe volume "Yiddishe
Shprichwerter" in the Yiddish original and Latin transcriptions, with
annotations and a glossary of the Hebrew words in the text. In that
effort Spektor had the cooperation of Benjamin Zegel and Dr. Shmuel
This monumental work is "dedicated to the Jewish people" and
includes some 4,000 proverbs. Spektor issued a strictly Yiddish edi-
tion in Warsaw in 1908. A second edition was also issued in Warsaw,
1912, by Farlag Central. In 1948, an offset edition appeared in New
York in a Yiddish text of 329 pages.
Under the title "Erotica et Rustica," Bernstein issued in 1908 an
additional proverbial volume of 227 sayings. It was reprinted twice.
Bernstein died in Brussels and was buried in Warsaw.
The current volume indicates that Bernstein was a cultural giant
Bernstein's ethnographic contributions were recognized by
Nahum Sokolow, were retained by YIVO, and must be recognized
among the great contributions to Jewish literary classics of all times.
Hopefully, there will be translators who will be sufficiently skilled to
provide this great work in an English translation.