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April 13, 1984 - Image 37

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

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Brazil's Jews abandon Manaus

Rio de Janeiro (JTA) —
The once vital and flourish-
ing Jewish community in
Manaus, capital of
Amazonas province in
northern Brazil, is not vir-
tually dead and no efforts
are being made to revive it,
according to Eli Tabori,
Consul General of Israel in
Rio de Janeiro, who just re-
turned from a visit to
Amazonas and other north-
ern provinces.
Manaus is a metropolis
built in the heart of the
jungle, on the banks of the
Amazon River, 1,000 miles
from the sea. It was once the - s‘
center of the world rubber
trade and a vibrant cultural
center that boasted an
opera house rivaling the
best in Europe.
The Jewish presence
there goes back more than
100 years when immig-
rants, mainly from Spanish
Morocco, left the Brazilian
coastal provinces of Per-
nambuco and Para to estab-
lish industries and export
houses in Manaus.
For generations they
maintained close contact
with Jewish communities
elsewhere in Brazil. But to-
day, only 80 Jewish families
remain, many of mixed
marriages, and they show
no interest in Jewish life or
in Israel, Tabori told the
Jewish Telegraphic
Agency.
The Jewish community
center is headed by a
woman, a convert to
Judaism. The last remain-
ing synagogue is open only
on the High Holidays.
While other Brazilian
Jewish communities are
struggling to maintain
their identity and tradi-
tions, this is not the case in
Manaus, Tabori said.
His report recalled the
fact that Jews have lived in
Brazil since it was dis-
covered in 1500. The foun-
der of Rio de Janeiro, Es-
tacio De Sa, is said to have
been the grandson of Mar-
ranos — Jews forced by the
inquisition in Spain to con-
vert to Catholicism but who
secretly practiced their
faith. The same is said of
Joao Ramalho, founder of
Sao Paulo, Brazil's second
largest city.
There was a well estab-
lished Jewish community in
Recife in northeastern
Brazil early in the 16th
Century. It was from there
that a group of 23 Dutch
Jewish refugees sailed for
Dutch Nieuw Amsterdam to
found the first Jewish com-
munity 350 years ago in
what became the city of
New York.
Brazilian Jews settled
mainly in Pernambuco and

Diamond exports up

Ramat-Gan — The Israel
diamond industry is con-
tinuing its recovery with
net exports during the first
quarter of 1984 of $276.4
million compared to $265.3
million during the same
three-month period last
year. The industry exported
$1 billion in 1983 after a
three-year slump.

Para provinces. The capital
of Para is Belem, a contrac-
tion of Bethlehem, which
was founded at the end of

the 18th Century. The syn-
agogue there, Shaarei
Shamaim, opened its doors
in 1824.

`Pandering to special
interests in NY primary

BY MORRIS. AMITAY

Special to The Jewish News

Washington — In the
most recent New York
presidential primary elec-
tion, the media, and even
some "Jewish leaders" ex-
pressed their displeasure
over the amount of time the
Presidential candidates de-
voted to U.S.-Israel rela-
tions. In particular, their
scorn was directed at the
proposed bill in Congress to
move the U.S. Embassy
from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The fact that Israel is the
United States' most reliable
ally in the Middle East, and
that Jerusalem, Israel's
capital, is the only capital in
the world in which the
United States does not
maintain its embassy was
almost completely forgot-
ten. But substance aside,
the fact that 25 percent of
the electorate in the New
York Democratic Primary
are Jewish and deeply con-
cerned about this issue
would appear to be reason
enough for the candidates to
discuss this at length.
Despite the obvious policy
and political implications of
the move, Mondale and
Hart were accused of
trivializing the debate and
giving inordinate attention
to a single issue and a single
interest group. They were
described as "pandering" to
the Jewish community in
expressing their support for
Israel as if this support was
unworthy of a future
President of the United
States.
What is almost humor-
ous here is that when the
candidates spoke in depth
about U.S.-Israel relations,
they were "pandering" to
Jews, whereas in discussing
farm policies in Iowa or so-
cial security issues in
Florida, the candidates
were "hammering out" posi-
tions on critical concerns of
the nation.
In every forum through-
out the Presidential cam-
paigns, the candidates have
made valiant efforts to dis-
tinguish themselves and
their policies from their op-
ponents. Any good politi-
cian follows a cardinal rule
of speech — 'know thy
audience." The Presidential
primary contests, while
much criticized for their
long duration and great ex-
pense, afford each candidate
the opportunity to speak
towards the concerns of a
particular region, economic
class, or demographic group
in specifics which would be
inappropriate in speaking
to the nation as a whole.
Through this process, voters
become attuned to the can-
didates views on a variety of
issues. So while agricul-
tural issues may dominate
in Iowa or acid rain be the
topic in Maine, why
shouldn't U.S. foreign pol-

icy in the Middle East be
considered topical in New
York City?
If once every four years
Jewish New Yorkers are
paid special attention be-
cause they care about-Is-
rael's security and well-
being, it is not such a great
tragedy; for it is far better to
be wooed, rather than to be
ignored. Given their history
of deep irvolvement in the
entire range of domestic and
foreign policy issues,
American Jews do not have
to demonstrate to anyone
that they are 100 percent
Americans.
But politicians, if not the
media, are wise enough to
realize that although there
may be differences among
Jews on the size of the de-
fense budget, or tuition tax
credits, as examples, the
one issue of concern to the
entire community is our na-
tion's support for Israel.
In the New York primary,
"overkill" was preferable to
"underkill" because it
demonstrated sensitivity to
this concern. And without
continuing high-level at-
tention to this legitimate
concern, both Israel , nd the
United States will be the
worse for it.
* * *
At the end of this month,
Larry Eagleburger, the
ranking career official at
the State Department as
Under Secretary for Politi-
cal Affairs, will leave his
position after 27 years of
continuous diplomatic serv-
ice. This writer has known
Eagleburger for 20 years,
having first worked closely
with him at State when both
were relatively junior
Foreign Service officers,
and later on when Eag-
leburger was Henry Kis-
singer's top assistant and I
was director of the Ameri-
can Israel Public Affairs
Committee.
Eagleburger was atypical
of most State Department
officials in that he was fre-
quently able to overcome
bureaucratic inertia, out-
worn attitudes and fuzzy
thinking while forging for
himself a brilliant career
including stints at the De-
fense Department and the
National Security Council.
It is therefore no surprise
that in recent times he has
emerged as a leading figure
in our government in recog-
nizing the value of closer
U.S.-Israel ties.
His intelligence and
breadth of experience in all
aspects of foreign policy
enabled him to see through
the built-in bias of the State
Department's Middle East
"experts."
While we wish him well
in his new endeavors, his
departure is not without
some remorse as he will
leave a void at State that
will not easily be filled.

Friday, April 13, 1984

37

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"THE JEWISH IDEA"

The Jewish Community Council, with the endorsement of the Conservative
Rabbinic Commission, has published and distributed "Supplemental Hag-
gadah Readings" for Jewish use on Pesach which are religiously and histori-
cally incorrect, and which distort the meaning of Pesach.

There are three basic distortions.

The true meaning of Pesach is the deliverance of the Jewish People from
Egyptian slavery by the direct intervention of the AI-mighty. It has nothing to do with, as the Council
claims, "the kinship of all G-d's children." Pesach is not the equivalent of Brotherhood Week.
Furthermore, the Jewish spirit is free by Torah, not as Council suggests, when "all are freed from
hunger, joblessness, and fear." Pesach's meaning should not be confused with election-year
rhetoric. Thus, the Council's Passover Statement on Hunger is actually a liberal political advocacy
mascarading as Jewish Law, and has no place in a Jewish religious service.

A. RELIGIOUS.

B.• MORAL.

Slavery of Jews is central to Pesach, and under the principle of Ahavas Yisroel, we
must remember the slavery of all, Jews, not only the Jews in the Soviet Gulag. We must also note
the slavery of Jews in America who echo Gentile principles and values, and by their behavior
cannot be distinguished from Goyim. But unlike their Soviet counterparts, they do not want to leave
the land of their moral enslavement.t

C.HISTORICAL. Pesach was celebrated in Eretz Yisroel from ancient times to this very day. The
"ancient Palestine" of which Council refers, never existed. It was always the Land of Israel.
Council's use of the term gives credence to Arab claims that the Holy Land does not belong to the
Jewish People. No Jewish publication should ever use Arab terminology for Jewish Land. THERE
NEVER WAS NOR IS THERE A PALESTINE. It is a myth. The Land of Israel is REAL.

The Committee for the Jewish Idea and the Jewish Defense League con-
demns and repudiates this attempt by Council to Distort Pesach and dilute its
relevance to the Jewish People.

,..,. ..t

;L.

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