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September 14, 1984 - Image 2

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

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

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Friday, September 14, 1984

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

PURELY COMMENTARY

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Another President backs
Genocide Convention OK
better late than never

Twice in the current year, this writer
appealed to the White House for action in
support of pending and ignored legislation
to endorse the Genocide Convention. The
reply came laet week in a surprise move by
President Ronald Reagan, urging its ap-
proval by the U.S. Senate, as have all
Presidents since Harry S Truman, except
Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Indeed, it is better late than never, and
this writer surely was not alone in his ap-
peals for action in support of legislation to
outlaw the crime of a mass murder of na-
tions.
It may be too early to be jubilant, the
sorrowful possibility being that the Senate
may again procrastinate. There are the
prejudiced who will not submit to the jus-
tice of an important effort to make the ter-
rorizing of peoples an international crime.
That is why it is especially dutiful to rec-
ognize the consistent efforts of Senator
William Proxmire who has been pressing
for action on the Genocide Convention,
who has delivered hundreds of speeches on
this subject, who is the leader in this vital
libertarian task.
The Genocide Convention merited a
plank in the platform of both political par-
ties at their recent conventions in San
Francisco and Dallas. There was a lack of
vision in the failure to take this into con-
sideration. Since the highest legislative
body in the land continued to treat this
human factor with indignity, why blame
other politicians in their domains?
President Reagan has finally come
through with the required endorsement.
Whatever success may be attained for
adoption of the Genocide Convention, ful-

Rafael Lemkin
lest credit should be accorded to Senator
Proxmire.
On the international scale, the
humane document and the libertarian
ideals implanted in it by Rafael Lemkin
must always be kept in view as one of the
most notable acts after the Nazi terror and
all related inhumanities.

Cheers to the Habers . . .
on their 60th anniversary

Fannie and William Haber have
earned the limelight, justifiably, for sev-
eral decades as high-ranking dedicated
leaders in the Jewish social sphere and on
the American and world scenes. This week
they acquire new attention, in an intimate,
personal way. Even this earns widest at-
tention with a measure of jubilation from
many quarters.
They celebrated their 60th wedding
anniversary Sunday. Ordinarily, even by
reaching such a marvelous age — both are

Communal applause for another Haber
milestone.

85 — it would be just a social note. Not in
the case of the Habers. They worked to-
gether in the many social causes in Michi-
gan and the United States. They are jointly
involved in support of Israel, the Israeli
universities, ORT —_the most important
causes on record.
Pages — volumes! — could be written
about their joint services for ORT. It is so
deeprooted in Jewish services that it would
be going a bit far afield to reiterate the
well-known.
The celebration itself is occasion for
acclaim because Haber spells a couple of
deepest devotion to movements that count
them in top leadership. That is why what
could be treated as a social note is a com-
munity glory, and with it go congratula-
tions shared by thousands.

Gemilut Hasadim tradition:
Detroiter. Myron Schiffman's
noteworthy service record

The importance of a great tradition
beckons for renewed consideration in the
appreciation that is being expressed for the
services extended by a Detroit career man
in this cause.
Functioning for nine decades in De-
troit as the Hebrew Free Loan Association,
the Gemilut Hasadim ideal acquires new
attention with a recognition that has just
been accorded to its able investigating offi-
cer who is being honored for 63 years of
continuous service in the movement.
Myron Schiffman commenced in 1921 the
role of investigator — which is really the
testing title for the thousands who have
been helped by the Hebrew Free Loan. He
commenced that career as a labor of love,
was voted a $100 a month salary 50 years
ago, remains on that same salary to this
day.
Milton Marwil, current Hebrew Free
Loan president; George M. Stutz, a past
president; and their associates, have aimed
not only in honoring Schiffman, but also in
recalling the history of the movement in
Detroit. Pioneers like the late Fred M. But-
zel, Bernard Gunsberg, Julian Krolik,
Joseph and Dora Ehrlich, Isaac Shetzer,
Max Lieberman and scores of others car-
ried the responsibility of providing assis-
tance to newcomers who needed aid. They
were immigrants who asked for help in
establishing their small business ven-
tures, peddlers who were assisted in buy-
ing carts and horses, students who asked
for assistance to provide for their tuition.
Many often had to turn to the Morris Plan
for loans.
In all instances they needed guaran-
tors, and the signers as well as applicants
were subject to unavoidable investigation.
This is were Myron Schiffman came in, and
the compassion with which he conducted
his labors merits for him the continuing
appreciation and the respect now being ac-
corded him for 63 years of devoted service.
The remarkable fact about the He-
brew Free Loan and the service it renders
is the size of the average loan. In the early
days a loan could be as minute as $25.
Whatever its size, it was always helpful,
and the repayments added to the glory of
the great tradition. There was seldom a
loss. The borrowers honored their debts as

well as the tradition of Gemilut Hasadim
which dared not be abused.
A scholarly essay in Encyclopedia
Judaica provides the traditional data on
Gemilut Hasadim, stating introducto-
rially:
GEMILUT HASADIM (lit.,
"the bestowal of lovingkindness"),
the most comprehensive and fun-
damental of all Jewish social vir-
tues, which encompasses the
whole range of the duties of sym-
pathetic consideration toward
one's fellow man. The earliest indi-
vidual rabbinic statement in the
Talmud, the maxim of Simeon the
Just, mentions it as one of the three
pillars of Judaism: "Torah, the
Temple service and gemilut
hasadim upon which the (contin-
ued) existence of the world de-
pends" (Avot 1:2).
Compilation of the history of Detroit
Jewry may soon become an anticipated
realization. The local Hebrew Free Loan —
Gemilut Hasadim must have a chapter in a
fascinating story.

Tetragrammatizing
the Jewish scene .. .
and judging the sinners

Some years back, an article in this col-
umn on the Tetragrammaton intrigued
W.K. Kelsey and he called to express
gratitude for introducing him to a religious
dogma, the term for which he had never
heard previously. The late Bill Kelsey was,
at that time, the most popularDetroit News
columnist. His comment reflected a gen-
eral unawareness of an important term for
the Almighty.
Several years after that telephonic
confab, and afterward in person with Bill
Kelsey, the Tetragrammaton became a
subject for public dispute for this writer
and his newspaper. The notoriety was front
paged in the Detroit News. It was oc-
casioned by this writer's selection of an
illustration with the Holy Name displayed
on the newspaper's front page.
Thereupon, the dispute and the warn-
ings to the community against such abuse
of the name of God (may we be forgiven for
using this term in its fullest English spel-
ling!).
Ther major protest and condemnation
came in the form of this letter:
May 7, 1979
Mr. Philip Slomovitz
Jewish News
17515 W. Nine Mile Road
Southfield, Michigan 48075
Dear Mr. Slomovitz:
We bring to your attention a
matter of grave concern to the
sanctity of our religion, about
which there is some misun-
derstanding.
It is a rule that
the name of the
A-mighty may not
be erased or
placed in a place
where it is subject
to undignified de-
struction. It is be-
cause of this that
when the name of
G-d is written, it is
only abbreviated.
In the May 4,
Rabbi Levin
1979 edition of The
Jewish News on pages 38 and 39,
you printed a brocha with the
name of G-d many times. Jewish
Law requires that the brocha be
buried with "Shaimos" (worn out
religious articles). This means that
all the readers should be notified
not to discard the paper, but to cut
out those pages and bring them to
our office for burial.

We request that you notify
your entire staff, particularly the
ad department, to be on the alert to
omit the printing of the name of
G-d in any prayers or statements.
Sincerely,
COUNCIL OF
ORTHODOX RABBIS
OF GREATER DETROIT
Rabbi Leizer Levin

This is a mere introduction to the inci-
dent. The "objectionable" illustration ap-
peared on the front page of that year's
Jewish News Shavuot issue. That holiday
morning, one of the Orthodox preachers
delivered a sermon condemning the JN
judgment, urging parishoners to burn the
pages of the issue bearing the Holy Name.
The Detroit News picked up the story and
that rabbi's condemnation became front-
page copy. Then, an avalanche of letters,
threatening cancellation of subscriptions,
condemning, judging, infuriating. There
wasn't a single cancellation and the two
dozen or so letters didn't express the com-
munity's outrage. But the sensation was
fanned.
In an era when the President of the
United States also is the judge of
moralities and the "Arbiter of Sin," as one
columnist described him, printing of the
Tetragrammaton is more than a passing
phase in theological judging. It was front
paged again this week. The Second Front
Page of the Detroit Free Press, Monday,
Sept. 10, revived the Tetragrammaton
function. It carried the news of protests
against the use of the Holy Name on the
front page of last Sunday's Detroit Free
Press magazine section introducing the
deeply-moving feature articles by Lynnell
Mickelsen on the Holocaust Memorial
Center.
With such sensations on the record,
there should be a posing of the question
whether those who fanned the issue really
aren't introducing another problem: the
lack of a recognized modern Sanhedrin to
revise some regulations, to make it possi-
ble for the overwhelming Conservative-
Reform, as well as modernized Orthodox,
communities to live in peace with the Or-
thodox community whose views are ex-
pressed in the quoted Rabbi Levin letter.
When this newspaper became the sub-
ject of attacks by a handful of infuriated,
there were Orthodox rabbis in the ranks of
defenders. It was not an overwhelming in-
furiation. The point that needs emphasis is
that a Sanhedrin is needed to revise many
misunderstandings as well as misinterpre-
tations, to clarify rather than confuse.
Some years back, a group of Orthodox
theologians in Israel actually called for the
convening of a Sanhedrin for many pur-
poses — clarification of conversions, Sab-
bath observance, mixed marriages, misus-
age of terminology. They admitted the
difficulties.
There are vested interests that stand
in the way of such relieving tasks. There-
fore, sensationalizing the Tetragramma-
ton issue may remain on the agenda — as
may also whatever condemnation may be
invited by this comment.

Massacred Lebanon and
distorted Syrian facts

Israel's enemies have taken to the
United Nations again. Ignoring their own
miseries, the Lebanese played the game
outlined for them by the Syrians.
Instead of taking into account the
massacres that register a heavy price on
Christian and Moslem lives, the Scapegoat
— Israel — is the object for hatred that can
never wipe out fabrications.
The U.S. delegate to the U.N. Security
Council approached the issue properly in
the veto of the anti-Israel resolution, when
he pointed to internal warmongering as

Continued on Page 13

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