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September 14, 1984 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-09-14

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS Friday, September 14, 1984

15

1

Craig Terkowitz

Walter Mondale addresses the "reserved" delegates at the convention of B'nai B'rith International.

talked about politics, which Fein said
are the "valid expression" of our val-
ues. Fein took the side of the "prophe-
tic tradition" in Judaism and said that
Kristol represented "rabbinic
realism."Jews, said Fein, are still vot-
ing for progressive issues and candi-
dates. He urged Jews to fight to sus-
tain the traditional liberal alliances,
and not abandon them in favor of the
Moral Majority.
"The principal enemies of the
Jewish people," he said, "are apathy,
indifference and alienation . . . We are
for justice, mercy and walking humbly
with our God. There are no Jews with-
out dreams . . . We are short-range
pessimists, long-range optimists."
Kristol, the former managing
editor of Commentary, former editor of
The Reporter magazine, and a member
of the President's Commission on
White House Fellowships, urged Jews

to "make a clear distinction between
compassion and the politics of compas-
sion, or liberalism.
"Compassion," he said, is a vir-
tue, but in politics only consequences
count. I judge programs by their con-
sequences, not by their intentions .. .
Politics is a purely human activity. It
is not an activity in- which God partici-
pates.
The Moral Majority," said Kris-
tol, is not pro-Jewish. So what? They
are pro-Israel. Good enough. Politics is
about interests and values, but only
about those which are realized in ac-
tion. Politics is not a realm of moralis-
tic action."
"I shudder to think," countered
Fein, "of a radical divorce between
politics and morality. Jews haven't
lost their concern for the welfare of
others. It is in the interest of Jews to
stand for something."

THE UNCOOL ANSWER

In last Sunday's New York
Times "Week In Review" section, the
editors presented the results of a re-
cent Gallup survey reporting on the
influence of religion. The breakdown
of the survey sample by religion indi-
cated that 61 percent of Protestants
said religion was "very important" in
their lives, 56 percent of Catholics,
and 25 percent of Jews.
Asked for his reaction to the re-
port, Milton Himmelfarb, director of
information and research services for
the American Jewish Committee,
said he thought that the relative
proportions were probably accurate.

But Himmelfarb, who is also a
contributing editor of Commentary
magazine, said that Jews may have
reacted differently to the survey
question than either Protestants or
Catholics.
"I can't prove it," he said, "but
the 'good answer' among Jews may
not have been every important.' "
Himmelfarb pointed out that it may
simply have not been 'cool' for Jews to
answer as affimatively as Christians.
"Jews with shaven faces and a
knowledge of the English language,"
said Himmelfarb, have not been
conspicuously pious for a long time."

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