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August 03, 1984 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-08-03

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

2

Friday, August 3, 1984

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

PURELY COMMENTARY

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

The Maimonidean Year:
perpetuating the glories
of saintly scholarship

Some weeks ago, a most important gathering in Casab-
lanca, Morocco created somewhat of a sensation. Recorded
was the conference held there in May on Maimonides. Re-
porting on the event in the June 7 Wall Street Journal,
Steve Mufson stated some facts relating to the decline of the
Morocco Jewish community from the 1950 Jewish popula-
tion of 350,000 to the present 12,000. Mufson thereupon
gave this account of the conference on Maimonides:
But the Jewish community isn't dead yet. Its
importance was demonstrated last month when
Jews here hosted a conference on Maimonides,
the 12th Century Moroccan Jewish scholar who
wrote his famous Guide for the Perplexed in Arabic.
It was the first such Jewish conference in an Arab
country in decades. Jews came from all over the
world, including Israel.
The unusual cultural happening quickly
turned into a startling political event. Morocco's
King Hassan II sent palace representatives, in-
cluding members of parliament to the conference.
While asserting support for the Palestine cause,
the king reiterated Morocco's longstanding pol-
icy of protecting its Jewish citizens and offered to
mediate talks between Israel, Arab countries, and
Palestinian groups. Syria withdrew its ambas-
sador from Morocco the next week.
"It was an incredibly gutsy move," says one
diplomat in Rabat, the Moroccan capital. "It was
a gesture to the Jewish community and a simple
demonstration that Jews and Arabs can sit down
and talk to each other at the highest level."
An American Jew who attended the confer-
ence adds: "It shows that the good offices of the
Moroccan government are available and backed
by good deeds."
In the Arab world, the King's warm welcome

of the Jewish delegates undercut hardline Arab
states led by Syria and bolstered the more moder-
ate camp, led by Egypt, which acknowledges Is-
rael's existence. It is also believed that the king
consulted with Saudi Arabia, his biggest financial
backer, and received at least tacit approval for
the conference.
These facts are in themselves important. They indicate
an oasis in a vast area of desolation threatening destruction
for Jews. The Wall Street Journal article is therefore of
great significance in the history of Jewish experierice in
this century.
The cause of the ingathering of friends of Jewry in
Casablanca calls for added emphasis on the Maimonidean
aspect of a conference of great significance. It is of unusual
interest that the role of Maimonides should once again be
on the world agenda. It is just that: while inauguration of
the Year of Maimonides, marking the 850th anniversary of
the birth of Moses Maimonides in 1135, commenced with an
event in Morocco, the observance is on a worldwide scale. In
this country it was initiated and is being conducted under
supervision of the Chabad Lubavitch movement.
Thus, the teaching and inspirations of Maimonides
gain renewed attention, hopefully with increased identifi-
cation. Maimonides was both saint and scholar. He left an
indelible heritage for mankind.
The daily programs on the Maimonidean principles,
his teachings in More Nebuchim — Guide to the Perplexed
and other works, provided in the daily radio programs
sponsored by the Detroit Chabad Lubavitch movement, are
efforts to be appreciated and commended.
There is so much in the teachings of Maimonides that
is applicable to the present time that the 850th anniversary
is occasion for the 20th Century to benefit from the Jewish
aspects of the Ninth Century.
There is one special item to be learned from.
A story dated July 8, 1971, which appeared in the
International Herald Tribune, expressed volumes of inter-
est in Maimonides. It stated:
Because the Hippocratic oath bans abortions,

Moses Maimonides' 850th anniversary

the University of Miami's 1971 crop of doctors
instead took the oath of Maimonides, which
pledges them to "never see in the patient anything
but a fellow creature in pain."
The oath of Maimonides is shorter and more
general in nature. It does not specifically mention
abortion, as the Hippocratic oath does.
A university official said he considered the

Continued on Page 12

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GOD, Thou bast formed the body of man, with. infinite goodness; ‘Thou
ham united in him innumerable forces incessantly at work like 'so many
instruments, so as to preserve in its entirety this beautiful house cumagn-
ing his immortal soul and these forces act with ail the order, concord, and har-
mony imaginable. But if weakness or violent passion disturb this harmony, these
forces act against one another and the body returns to the dust whence. it came.
Thou sen Jest then to man Thy messengers, the diseases which announce the
approach of danger, and bid him prepare to overcome them. The Eternal Provi-
dence has appointed me to watch o'er the life and health of Thy creatures. May
the love of my art actuate me at all times, may neither avarice, nor miserliness,
nor the thirst for glory or a great reputation engage my mind; for, enemies of
truth and philanthropy, they could easily deceive me and make me forgetful of
my lofty aim of doing good tO Thy children. Endow me with strength of heart
and mind, so that both may be ready to serve the rich and the poor, the good
and the wicked, friend and enemy, and that I may never see in the patient any-
thing else but a fellow creature in pain.

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3F physicians more learned than I wish to counsel me, inspire me with. confi-
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science is great. If is not given to one-alone to see all that others see. May I be
moderate in everything except in the. knowledge of this science; so far as it is
concerned, may I be insatiable; giant me the strength and opportunity always
to correct what I have acquired, always to extend its domain; for knowledge 'is
boundless and the spirit-of lean can Aso extend infinitely, daily to enrich itself
with new acquirements. Today he can discover his errors of yesterday, and to-
morrow he may obtain new eight on what he thinks himself sure o' today.

GOD, Thou hast apptiint4d me to watch o'er the life and death of Thy .crea-
tures;,-here am I ready, for My vocation.
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