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August 10, 1984 - Image 31

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-08-10

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

THE. DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

.Friday, August 10, 1904 (,.11

INSIGHT

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Taking Moses personally

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BY MERLE FELD

Special to The Jewish News

I've always had a hard
time idenfifying with
Moses. He was raised as a
person of privilege; I was
not. He accepts and then
wields power as leader of his
people: I have chosen to be
(been acculturated to be?) a
private person. He com-
munes with the God Up
There, Out There, Above; I
am a seeker of the holy in-
side of things — especially
small things — a child's fin-
gers, a piece of bread.
And now he's dying..And
he's very angry, lashing out,
laying blame, making dire
predictions for the future.
Suddenly, finally, my heart
goes out to him, the heart of
a still-young woman moved
by the pain of an old man
pleading — "Let me come
too. I've dreamed of this for
so long . . . through all the
years If wandering, clearer
and clearer, a vision of the
destination, solidifying in
my head: the Land of Prom-
ise, the future . ."
But God says No. I'll let
you see a little into the fu-
ture (like I let you see my
back, remember?) but you
may not enter into the fu-
ture, there is no place for
you to dwell there.

Merle Feld is a New Jersey
playwright and poet.

So, at the very end, the
epiphany — is that what it's
all been about? I was to
bring them from there to
here? I, even I, I am just a
teacher-father-link in the
chain? And it will all go on
without me?
As Moses absorbs the
shock of his own mortality,
his own finitude, he begins
to reiterate the precious le-

Vaetchanan:
Deuteronomy
3:23-7:11
Isaiah 40:1-26

And how does that make
me feel, I who always see
myself as not-Moses, as
one-of-the-people? It makes
me feel small and angry and
rebellious and hopeless.
Now, especially now, so
near the end, couldn't you
give me a blessing? No. You
demand from me my sym-
pathy, my homage, Old
Man, Great Leader, but
even in your dying, you beg-
rudge me a blessing, you
begrudge-me my future.
All right. I'll find within
myself a blessing, I'll find it
and pass it on, to child, to
student, to friend, to all the
beloved folk who travel the
path with me. My blessing:
here are the jewels. hold
them in your hands.
own them. touch them.
get to know every lustre
and flaw. work with
them and make them
your own,
wrestle from them a
blessing. and then pass
them on.
pass them on. for you
are teacher' parent'
conduit/ link. •
and the great secret
irony of the jewels is
this:
they improve with time
and with touching.

gacy of Sinai. And again I
feel a distance, a widening
gulf between us.
In his dying as in his liv-
ing, Moses as teacher is
more attentive to the lesson
than the pupil: "Now listen,
word for word, and don't
embellish or edit or impro-
vise — although I embellish
and improvise — for em-
phasis, for clarity." And al-
ways his judgment of the
people, sandwiched in be-
tween the holy words:
you're unworthy, you're im-
perfect, you fall short of the
mark, you've sinned before
and you'll sin again, you're Copyright 11 3. 84, National
hopelessly inadequate.
Havurah Committee.

NEWS

University official defends
position on Saudi grant

New York (JTA) — The spondence with foreign
president of the State Uni- businesses or countries re-
versity of Stony Brook, garding endowments or
Long Island, has defended chairs of learning. To that
his institution's actions in request the university re-
seeking Saudi Arabian plied that a check of its files
funding for the establish- revealed that there were no
ment of an $11 million Is- such documents.
lamic Studies Center, it was
The failure to provide the
reported in the 'current Jewish World with the sa-
issue of the Long Island lient documents stemmed
from what Marburger
Jewish World.
In separate interviews called a "misunderstand-
with editors of the indepen- ing." He termed one of the
dent Jewish weekly and subsequently published
Long Island Jewish com- documents "an internal
munal leaders, Stony Brook memo" and questioned
president John Marburger whether a proposal to the
said the university "did King Faisal Foundation
nothing wrong" in quietly met the Jewish weekly's re-
asking the Saudi Arabians quest for "correspondence
for financial help. He af- with foreign government."
Copies of the documents
firmed that the university
would not rule out Saudi have been turned over to the
office of Nassau County Dis-
grants in the future.
Documents detailing trict Attorney Dennis Di-
Stony Brook's solicitation of llon, Where investigators
financial support from the are seeking to determine if
private foundation of King the university violated any
Fttisal of Saudi Arabia to fi- laws by failing to disclose
nance the Islamic Center the documents.
Reaction of Jewish com-
were published last month
munal leaders who had met
in the Village Voice.
Earlier, under the Free- with Marburger the day be-
dom of Information Act, the fore his interview with the
Jewish World had re- Long Island Jewish World
quested eopie's 'of 'all Cdrre- was mixed: Tobie• Newman,

executive director of the
Conference of Jewish
Organizations of Nassau
County, said she believed
Marburger was being truth-
ful when he said the univer-
sity "goofed" on the Jewish
World's request simply be-
cause it couldn't find the
papers.
But Myron Conovitz,
president of the Long Island
regional board of the Anti-
Defamation League of B'nai
B'rith, said he believed the
university officials were
"less than truthful" in their
statements. "It's not credi-
ble that a person would
forget about correspondence
involving that amount of
money coming from that
source."

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