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April 13, 1984 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-04-13

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Friday, April 13, 1984


Lesson of Passover holiday

by the implied threat of the selling novelist Irving Wal-
dual loyalty charge.
lace, changed his name back
Four decades ago, Or- to David Wallechinsky. An-
thodox Jews allowed liberal other is the increasing re-
secular Jews to represent fusal to change one's
them because they were in- "Jewish" looks — think of
timidated by American cul- Barbra Streisand not bob-
ture. Many non-Orthodox bing her nose. Think, too, of
Jews were embarrassed to the pride in the Jewish tra-
see Chasidim in public. dition evidenced by her
Now, the Lubavitcher movie Yentl, which glorifies
Chasidim sponsor Congres- learning.
sional resolutions and
The proliferation of kip-
Presidential proclamations pot on the heads of students
in honor of their Rebbe's at leading universities such
birthday. And the Satmar as Harvard and Columbia,
sect and other Chasidim and the growth of obser-
have aggressively sought vances, such as kashrut and
political power and gov- Sabbath observance in the
ernment benefits.
Jewish public are also sig-
The combined influence nificant signs of Jewish re-
of Holocaust consciousness, newal.
pride in Israel and identifi-
Encouraged by the new
cation with it, and the loss of
fear of being different is openness of American
changing the ground rules society, Jews are moving
beyond political emancipa-
of Jewish life.
Many signs abound of the tion — for which they often
resurgence and reaffirma- sacrificed their Jewishness
tion of Jewish identity and — to religious, cultural and
identification by spiritual liberation. This is
"mainstream" committed paving the way for the fu-
Jews in the United States. ture flowering of American
One is the recovery of Jewish culture and commu-
Jewish names — consider, nity.
for example, that David © 1984, the National Jewish
Wallace, the son of best- Resource Center

Continued from Page 25

tyranny is of crucial sig-

wl nificance at a time of grow-

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ing concern that American
Jewry may be slipping into
irreversible assimilation or
weakening in its support for
Israel. The most encourag-
ing sign that American
Jewish history will not end
in Jewish submission to the
tyranny of foreign values is
that the past three decades
have been years of increas-
ing self-liberation for
American Jewry.
In the 1940s, day schools
were shunned by most
American Jews for fear that
Jewish integration into
America might be retarded
by such "self-segregation."
In the past 15 years, the day
school student population
has increased to almost
100,000 youth.
In the 1940s, there was no
Jewish presence visible on
the university campus. In
the past three decades, col-
lege and graduate Jewish
studies programs have
exploded. When I arrived at
Harvard as a student in
1953, the school had a policy
requiring Sabbath-
observant Jews who would
not take exams on Saturday
to stay confined with a tutor
the entire day and take
their finals that night, often
under onerous conditions.
We accepted this quietly .
Jerusalem — Ada Aha-
and without protest. This
past year, Harvard has been roni is well-known in Israel
and abroad as a poet. A pro-
on the defensive as continu-
ous Jewish student demon- fessor of English literature,
strations protested its hold- she has produced five vol-
umes of poetry in English
ing the graduation exer-
From the
cises on the holiday of including
Until the late .1960s, — Metal and Violets, and
two volumes of English
translations from Hebrew
The Haifa poetess has
turned to fiction with her
novel, The Second Exodus.
It has been published in the
Unites States. It is an his-
torical novel embodying a
love story.
Jewish politicians were
The first Exodus, re-
generally assimilationist counted at Passover when
and fearful of aggressivaly the Jews fled Egypt, is uni-
defending Jewish interests.
versally known from the
One of the tragic stories of Bible. Not so the "second
the Holocaust period was
exodus," although it hap-
Roosevelt's use of Con-
pened in the middle of our
gressman Sol Bloom of New own century. Out of the
York as a front at the Ber-
100,000 Jews who lived in
muda Conference of 1942 Egypt in 1948, less than 200
(which was obstensibly con- remain today. Aharoni re-
vened to discuss the Jewish counts the trauma she ex-
refugee "problem") and perienced through the fic-
other occasions, to head off titious character of Inbar, a
Jewish pleas for rescue of Jewish-Egyptian woman
Jews fleeing the Holocaust.
and her group of friends.
Jews especially feared the
Although The Second
charge of dual loyalty. This Exodus is a work of fiction,
concern generated support
its facts are historically
for the American Council
accurate. Aharoni herself
for Judaism and its shrill
was born and educated in
anti-Zionist declarations.
Cairo, but forced to flee in
Today, Jewish political
1949. Because of her own
action is expanding on all
experiences, she is able to
fronts. Leading figures such
portray the insecurity of the
as Congressman Henry status Jews held in Egypt
Waxman (D-Calif.) and even before 1948; the root-
Senator Rudy Boschwitz (R.
lessness of the community
Minn.) are proud Jews, ad-
and the effect of the emerg-
vocating Jewish concerns ing State of Israel on anti-
without fear. The entire or- Semitism in Egypt.
ganized Jewish community
The novel is symbolic,
stood up to Presidential
with the hero and heroine
pressures on the F-15 and
representing two different
AWACS sales (and now on aspects of the Jewish
the proposed arms sales to people: Inbar — the
Saudi Arabia and Jordan)
Sephardi — part of the Jews
without being intimidated from Arab lands; and Raoul,

An Israeli poet's personal
look at 'Second Exodus'

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the European Ashkenazi
victim of the Holocaust. The
author's purpose was to
open a window on_ the es-
sence of this erstwhile
community, displaying its
mores and values, its rich
culture and the relationship
with Arab Egypt.
Known in Israel as "the
poet of peace," Aharoni has
not let bitterness affect her,
although she is often nos-
talgic for the privileged life
she remembers from her
childhood in Cairo. On the
contrary, she works actively
in Israel for "The Bridge,"
an association of Arab and
Jewish women formed to
foster understanding be-
tween the two groups. She is
especially effective because
of her multi-cultural back-
While the plight of Pales-
tinian refugees makes
world headlines, relatively
few people know the other
side of the coin — the hun-
dreds of thousands of Jews
forced to flee Arab lands.
Aharoni sees her job as cap-
turing and passing on the
stories of these Sephardic

World Zionist Press Service

Kennicott Bible

London — A reproduction
of Oxford University's
famed Kennicott Bible is
now available from Fac-
simile Editions Publishers.
The Bible was copied by
hand over a three-year
period and reproductions
were made on antique print-
ing presses with specially
milled paper in Italy.
To obtain a copy of the
Kennicott Bible reproduc-
tion, contact Facsimile Edi-
tions Publishers, 35 Hamil-
ton Terrace, London NW8
9RG, England.

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