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August 03, 1984 - Image 53

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

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

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS


ENTERTAINMENT
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Keeper of the Sephardic flame

Continued from Page 45

B'nai David.) Although the
Sephardic community here
is miniscule in comparison
with other North American
cities (there are only be-
tween 100,000 and 150,000
Sephardim in the United
States, and perhaps another
50,000 in Canada), Behar
hopes the Detroit commu-
nity may one day start its
own school.
The local Sephardic
community holds their
High Holy Day services at
the Zonist Cultural Center.
Membership dues are rela-
tively low, $35 per family,
and Behar says the money
the community has saved by
not building its own
synagogue may someday be
used to establish a Sephar-
dic Community Center. Dr.
Morton Plotnick, executive
director of the Jewish
Community Center in West
Bloomfield, once offered
space at the center for 'a
permanent display honor-
ing the Sephardic commu-
nity, Behar said, but
negotiations fell through
over such issues as the size
of the display cases. To Be-
har, it was but one more
frustrating example of the
Sephardim having to go to
the Ashkenazim for help.
Sephardic services are a
group effort, and Behar ex-
plains that "whatever rabbi
we have has to pay his dues

Call

as a group member." But
the differences in tradition
only begin there. Perhaps
one of the most appparent is
the naming of the children
in Sephardic families after

Local Sephardic
services are a
group effort and
Behar explains
that "whatever
rabbi we have has
to pay his dues as
a group
member."

loves ones who are still alive
(the Askenazim only name
children in honor of family
members who are de-
ceased.)
Other differences are
found in traditional holiday
observances. For instance:
Sephardi use oil lamps and
not candles on Chanukah
(oil lamps are also lit to
honor the departed, pre-
sents are given on Purim
not Chanukah, and
Bimuelos, puffy donuts di-
pped in powdered honey or
sugar, are eaten on
Chanukah in place of
latkes. And on Succot, the

.

succah is never built at the
synagogue but only outside
of one's home.
On Yom Kippur, Sephar-
dic children are blessed by
their parents and they are
asked foregiveness. For the
priestly blessing, all the
children of the family stand
under the tallit of the head
of the family.

The Sephardim (their
name, incidentally, origi-
nates from Sepharad, the
medieval Hebrew name for
Spain), played an important
role in Colonial American
history. The first 23 Jews to
land in New Amsterdam
(that's old New York) in
1654 were Dutch Sephar-
dim. they established the
first synagogue in America,
Shearith Israel, later that
year. (The oldest synagogue
in the Western Hemisphere,
Mikve-Israel, was estab-
lished by Dutch Sephardim
in Curacao three years ear-
lier.) The largest wave of
Sephardic immigration to
the United States occurred
between 1900 and 1924.
During those years, an es-
timated 40,000-50,000
Sephardim (including Be-
har's parents and brother)
passed through Ellis Island
and saw the Statue of Lib-
erty, which bears a poem by
Emma Lazarus, a Sephardic
Jew.

Official: study snot in progress
on U.S.-Israel defense pact

interest, giving priority at-
tention to the threat posed
by increased Soviet activity
in the region."
Murphy added. "We are
concerned 'about the influ-
ence gained by the Soviet
Union through its major
arms supplies to Syrians;
they have made major
supplies through Iraq."
Asked whether the
United States and Israel are
engaged in contingency
planning, he said that the
two governments have dis-
cussed possible joint exer-
cises but that the only
agreement that has been
made public is for joint med-
kal exercisesdie stated.
Murphy reaffirmed the
Administration's commit-
ment "to ••seeking progress
toward a just and lasting
peace wherever progress is
possible. We also remain'
committed to the positions
in the President's initiative
of Sept. 1, 1982."
Murphy was asked by the
Congressmen whether "the
peace process now is in
abeyance until after our
election."Jie replied that
U.S. policy has been to sup- _
port opportunities to

Behar's husband, Marcel,
whom she married in 1955,
was born in Egypt, but his
mother (like Judith
Chicorel) was born in Izmir.
Marcel, a mechanical
engineer with the Ford
Motor Co., attended the
same school — Victoria Col-
lege in Alexandria, Egypt
— as did King Hussein of
Jordan and actor Omar
Sharif. The Bqhars have
four children: Mark, 27;
Jerome, 26: Richard, 23;
and Lisa, 17.
Shirley Behar is fond of
pointing out that Sephar-
dim can be found in the most
unlikely places. She cites
the example of Dannon
yogurt, excitedly exclaim-
ing, "Dannon (sic), the
founder, he's a Sephardic
Jew!" So one raises a cup of
Dannon yogurt in a toast to
Behar and her crusade. May
she have as long a life as
those Bulgarian mountain
folk (also of Sephardic des-
cent, Behar says) who are
often shown on television
consuming Mr. Dannon's
discovery.
L`Chaim.
Or the Sephardic equiv-
alent.

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NEWS

Washington (JTA) — The
United States is not about to
announce a bilateral de-
fense pact with Israel (as
has been reported in the
press) and "no such study is
under way," Assistant Sec-
retary of State for Near
Eastern and South Asian
Affairs Richard Murphy
stated in testimony before
the Hamilton Subcommit-
tee of th•House Foreign Af-
fairs Committee.
Murphy.was asked by
subcommittee chairman
Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.)
whether there are talks be-
tween the United States
and Israel on how to.counter
the Soviet Union in the
region, referring to talks
under the joint political-
military group. Murphy ye-
plied:
"Those talks which have
gone two rounds — one in
January and one in July,
the first in Washington, the
second in Israel — have
been carrying out what the
•President announced last
November when he de-
scribed the creation of the
group, which is to study
possible ways of cooperation
and our mutual --security

Friday, August 3, 1984 53

achieve movement in the
peace process, but he added,
"I think our elections are a
major factor in the calcula-
tions of our parties."
Murphy stated that the
"next step as visualized by
the Administration is to
broaden the talks to include
Jordan and represent the
Palestinians . . . in the
overall peace process. That
remains probably the next
essential step. How to
create that framework for
that step to be possible, re-
mains to be seen."

Diabetes cure
from Technion?

Haifa (ZINS) — Research
by Technion scientists has
revealed that a thorn grow-
ing in the northern regions
of Israel is effective in the
treatment of diabetes.
The plant, which seems to
be better than insulin for
combatting the effects of the
disease, is being used by
Arab Bedouins, according to
the Technion researchers.
The Israel Ministry of
Health has authorized use
of this remedy.

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