4 Friday, March 16, 1984
1,HE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
THE JEWISH NEWS
Serving Detroit's Metropolitan Jewish Community
with distinction for four decades.
Editorial and Sales offices at 17515 West Nine Mile Road,
Suite 865 Southfield, Michigan 48075-4491
PUBLISHER: Charles A. Buerger
EDITOR EMERITUS: Philip Slomovitz
EDITOR: Gary Rosenblatt
BUSINESS MANAGER: Carmi M. Slomovitz
ART DIRECTOR: Kim Muller-Thym
NEWS EDITOR: Alan Hitsky
LOCAL NEWS EDITOR: Heidi Press
© 1984 by The Detroit Jewish News
(US PS 275-520)
Second Class postage paid at Southfield, Michigan and additional mailing offices. Subscription $18 a year.
CANDLELIGHTING AT 6:20 P.M.
VOL. LXXXV. NO. 3
A De-Pressing Trend
There has always been a potential for conflict between a community •
Jewish newspaper and a local federation of Jewish charities, but until
recently such differences were generally more ideological than financial.
Now, with the news this week that the Jewish Federation Council of Los
Angeles will publish its Jewish Community Bulletin on a weekly basis rather
than twice a month, there have been bitter complaints from the two
privately-owned newspapers in Los Angeles that the federation is trying to
wipe them out and control the news.
More than half of the country's 125 or so Jewish newspapers are now
published either directly by federations or are heavily subsidized by them.
This trend is disturbing to advocates of a free and open Jewish press in
America who worry about the one-sided and narrow coverage of news
presented in many federation newspapers. In Los Angeles, Rabbi Yale
Butler, executive editor of the independent Bnai Brith Messenger, asserted
that "There is a concerted attempt to crush and destroy the independent
Jewish press. You are getting a Big Brother concept, the idea that there shall
be only one voice in the Jewish community, which comes from the public
relations people of the federation."
Jerome Lippman, president of the American Jewish Press Association,
said: "Los Angeles is the battleground now, but it is a national battle."
Lippman's own Long Island Jewish World is locked in a fierce battle for
advertising revenue with the federation-supported Jewish Week of New
York. He and other critics charge that federation newspapers are intended to
maximize contributions, and that they ignore the flaws of large contributors
or constituent agencies as well as suppress critical reporting about Israel and
controversies within the American Jewish community.
Of course, the issue here is not all black and white, and the fact is that
there are as many high-quality federation-controlled newspapers as there are
sub-standard independents. But the notion of a federation expanding its
house organ to compete directly with an existing independent newspaper —
and with the added advantage of large subsidies and a built-in mailing list of
every campaign contributor — is disturbing and ultimately dangerous.
When will federations learn that a subsidy cannot buy credibility? When
will they understand that if would-be journalists become cheerleaders for a
cause, no matter how noble, they cease being journalists? The fact remains
that a community's interests can only be served when it is fully informed.
It is altogether fitting to note then, in light of the sale this week of The
Jewish News, that this .newspaper has been and will continue to be an
independent voice — dedicated to its original ideals of pursuing the truth and
serving the Jewish community. For only in pursuing the truth can the
community truly be served.
Take into account an episode like this:
In a school in . . . let's label it Capitol City USA . . . the teacher calls the class
to order with a command to pray. In the process, John and Christina do not do it
silently. They implore the names of the founding fathers of Christianity.
Whereupon Isaac the Jew acts as Defender of the Faith and walks out, contrary
to school regulations. Thereupon, several in the class accompany the Jewish
lad's exit with slurs, "The Jew . . . the Jew . . .!
This is not totally imaginary. There is a similarity in it to what had occurred
in the past when permission was either granted or authority was assumed for a
democratically-socialized environment to be turned into a church, and it might
also have been a mosque or a synagogue.
The New York Times labeled the President's religious fervor as
recklessness. It stated in an editorial entitled "Divided in Prayer":
"America is a religious nation. But one great mark of its religiosity has
always been its tolerance of, indeed insistence on diversity. The instrument of
that tolerance has been the firm distinction between matters of state and
matters of conscience. Contending Protestant sects have all flourished in the
United States. So have Catholics, Jews, Moslems, all believers and, to a
remarkable extent, also non-believers. How these groups have refrained from
imposing their faiths on each other, and have been constitutionally restrained
whenever they lost their restraint, have made America the envy of every other
society .. .
"The Supreme Court has been the faithful custodian of this essential
freedom. In the often difficult effort to find the line between state and faith, it
has rightly prevented the government-paid schoolmaster from pressing
children who are conscripted to attend classesto pray or read the Bible there.
For Congress to stand by the principle in no way demeans religious practice
"President Reagan has been reckless in arguing otherwise, probably only
for political gain. He of course has every citizen's First Amendment right to
speak and to pray. But as head of government, he is sworn to be neutral
He should not be sermonizing on this and other issues in language that
exalts Protestant faiths over others. And he should not be irresponsibly
confusing the difference between pushing religion at impresionable children
and having adults pray or otherwise register a religious deference in some
U.S. Senator Lowell P. Weicker, who is writing his name into history as a
leader in the Jefferson-Madisonian ranks as a defender of the Separation ideal,
expressed concern that the oncoming national election may be decided on the
basis of religious disputations.
Anne Frank's 'Tales'
"Anne Frank's Diary" remains a
symbol of the inerasable memories of
the great tragedy that is engraved in
history as the Holocaust.
The story of the young girl who
had recorded the agonies of hiding, in
an Amsterdam attic with her family,
from Nazis who are searching for Jews
to be sent to death camps, remains
memorable. On stage and screen, the
story is being retold and remains one
of the great documentaries of the Hit-
Her "Diary" was not the only le-
gacy she left. Anne was writing essays,
stories, impressions of the bitter world
around her. She incorporated it into a
ledger into which she rewrote the
pieces to suit her emotions.
Her father, Otto
Frank, made them
available for post-
erity and they are
now available in the
new Doubleday edi-
tion "Anne Frank's
Tales From the
The deeply mov-
ing stories and essays in this new book
were written at the same time as the
"Diary" that gained fame worldwide
and was translated into nearly every
langauge in the Western world.
In a translation by Ralph Man-
heim and Michel Mok, the new edition
is a complete collection and contains
the works that first appeared in Dutch.
The sentimentality, the im-
pressionistic quality of the writings,
the effect the outside and threatening
world had on the young author is so
deeply moving in the contents of this
book. It is noteworthy, therefore, that
the publishers should have placed spe-
cial emphasis on this quotation from
her essay entitled "Fear" to indicate
the maturity of a youth and the horror
of the time and the conditions under
which she wrote:
It 'was a terrible time through
which I was living. The war raged
about us, and nobody.knew whether or
not he would be alive the next hour .. .
By day the sound of cannon and rifle
shots was almost continuous, and the
nights were mysteriously filled with
sparks and sudden explosions that
seemed to come from some unknown
"I cannot describe it; I don't re-
member that tumult quite clearly, but
I do know that all day long I was in the
grip of fear."