Friday, September 28, 1984
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
The New Year and its civilized aspect
The approach to 5745 is sprinkled with politics, Jewish unity duties
In some areas of the world, Jews come to synagogue services in holiday attire, the men
wearing stove pipes. That's how the Almighty is confronted on the sacred day.
In practical life, Jews put on their thinking caps. They penetrate the past, confront the
future philosophically. Having tasted the venom of the ages, there is no obstacle damaging
enough to harm the people too violently, too destructively. There is the lesson called
resistance. If there is a single term this commentator hates it is survival. Of course we
survive! How else can a people- tested by time live with a good conscience?
The philosophy of it all is that a people tried in and by many fires will find troubles
easier to deal with — as long as they know their past and apply it to the future.
What are the anticipations for the coming year, in that pilpulistic spirit? What are the
Politics is the major topic already on the agenda. It has created many puzzles and for
many the solutions may not be at hand until they reach the ballot boxes.
It's a lot of hooey to keep harping on a past when Jews were overwhelmingly in the
Democratic ranks. The fact is that Jews were Republicans under "Teddy" Roosevelt and for
a few years thereafter. It was in the era of Woodrow Wilson, when Louis D. Brandeis was a
factor in the American Jewish Congress and the Zionist Organization, that there was a
turn of events. But even then the Yahudim, as the German Jews and their fellow as-
similationists were called, were mostly Republicans. Louis Marshall, Jacob Schiff, the
Warburgs and their associates were mostly Republicans.
Many Jews swung to Republicanism in 1980 as Ronald Reagan supporters. How will it
be this year?
Let others in the media prophesy. In the weeks left before the Nov. 6 balloting there
may be many changes in attitudes. It is difficult to prejudge all minds of people once they
reach the ballot box.
Meanwhile, there is one important approach to the actual election date that merits
emphasis. No matter what the reactions to Jesse Jackson, he certainly performed an
important duty by encouraging blacks to register as voters. This must be rated as a
There are other elements on that score meriting consideration. What about the
fundamentalists who are conducting a campaign to enroll voters they would commit to a
religious crusade in this country. That's calamitous! That's the horrible in the pro-Reagan
record. That's the fear-inciting that a major principle of Church-State Separation is
threatened, the President being its breaker.
Now there is a Jewish aspect to the need to enroll the disinterested in the registered for
voting on Nov. 6.
The Detroit Jewish Community Council has undertaken the task of encouraging Jews
who have not registered to do so, and to becoming voting activists. In the important
statement by the Council, it is indicated that a survey shows that 15 percent of the Jews of
New York are unregistered as voters, and a similar study is being conducted here.
The stated figure comes as great surprise. It has been boasted that Jews, more than
any other group in the country, are regulars as voters, even in the most indifferent periods
of least important elections — if any election, no matter how minor, can ever be branded
Such figures are questionable. It is not easy to believe that there are many Jews who
do not vote. If true, it is commendable for the Council to encourage registration of voters.
But there are other factors. Voters have to be guided. Some have to be -taught. It
matters not whether they are Democrats or Republicans. There is much to be known about
balloting. For example: even the solidly committed to one party or another must know how
to select, when striving for the ablest candidates as the preferred. Therefore, voters must
know that they can split the ballot! Perhaps this is as important as adopting a party to one's
preferred attitudes in citizenship.
Israel remains major in Jewish considerations, facing up to a New Year. The new era
can be welcomed cheerfully in the knowledge that there is an American-Israel partnership
that cannot be broken or abandoned.
President Reagan has gone on record numerous times as a friend of Israel, asserting
and reasserting the pledge to aid Israel.
Democratic candidate Walter F. Mondale has gone to great lengths to make similar
pledges. In an interview published in the New York Times on Sept. 18, Mondale was asked
"What combination of pressures and inducements would you put together to try to bring
about another settlement between the Arabs and the Israelis? How would you do it
differently from Mr. Reagan?"
First of all, I believe the Reagan plan as it was defined was essentially a
program that was closely akin to the old plan by which the United States in
effect played all of Israel's negotiating cards in the hopes that they could
encourage King Hussein of Jordan to sit down and reach an agreement that
in effect had been, I wouldn't say imposed, but at least a pressure on the
Israelis to agree. I don't think that works.
I believe in the Camp David accords. I would encourage Hussein to sit
down, and that's all you can do. You can't force him to do it. I would not seek
to pressure Israel to prenegotiate to try to encourage Hussein to sit down.
We'd be a partner in the negotiations, but I'd tell all parties that I didn't
intend to impose any agreement.
One thing that I would do is be an active President in that region. So I
would be a President personally involved in trying to invigorate the Camp
David peace process and to try to breathe life and warmth back in to the
Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. That cold treaty is becoming frigid. I would try
through a strategic cooperation relationship to strengthen Israeli confi-
dence, so that they didn't have to worry about U.S. support and thus could
negotiate without the anxieties that undermine the confidence with which
they can make concessions.
The Reagan-Mondale declarations are of the utmost importance. They are significant
from a national and global viewpoint. The Mondale statement revives some of the skepti-
cism that was evident about him and President Carter during Camp David discussions
that led to the Israel-Egyptian accord. Nevertheless, there is now the assurance of continu-
ing commitments in support of Israel from both Democratic and Republican ranks.
One element cannot be ignored: that of Jerusalem. For a time there will be a nod for
realism — to recognize that the issue cannot be forced. Hopefully, an understanding can be
reached, primarily between Jews and Arabs, especially Jordan, retaining Israel's right to
its choice of a capital, while Arabs concede that their just rights have never been abused by
Israel. If it is the matter of time providing solutions, perhaps with it also will come the
The record of communal achievements by Jewry, locally, nationally, on the world
scale, carries with it the confidence that the progress aimed at will be attained in all
spheres of Jewish life.
The Community Center retains its great role as the inspirer of communal social and
cultural needs. Much that is to its credit is certain to keep gaining strength.
The synagogue is the center of Jewish life, and the school its inspiration, and both are
major in the life of the Jewish community.
Philanthropically, the American Jew has gained acknowledged glory.
The portrayed picture of Jewish life is not distressing. It is in the spirit of the
confidence outlined that Jewry carries on. That's the way of Jewish life.
When Bubbe and Zayde
waved Hank Greenberg
around the bases
It echoed all over the Jewish-
populated— Hastings Street and environs,
Oakland-Westminister and surrounding
streets, the soon-to-be-populated 12th
Street, when in their living rooms, on the
porches and in parks ; the bubbes and
zaydes joined children and grandchildren
with the cheer: "Come on Hank, give us
It was the era of enthusiasm inspired
by the baseball hero, when Hank Green-
berg became the idol of the Yiddish-
speaking as much as the entire cosmpoli-
tan population of sports-loving Detroit.
is the reality
a vital part of
were of all
there was a
sharing of in-
There was a climax — when Hank
came to the synagogue on Rosh Hashanah,
prior to the crucial game which resulted in
the Tigers winning the 1945 pennant.
Hank electrified Cong. Shaarey Zedek.
Rabbi Abraham M. Hershman and the
officers on the bima, in the sanctuary on
Chicago and Lawton, were puzzled: why
did the large congregation stand up, when
it had just been seated after the blowing of
the Shofar? They learned soon enough and
there was a sentimental thrill greeting the
baseball hero. It didn't need relating in
words: it was felt by him and the congreg-
Let it be recorded about Rabbi Her-
shman, the episode, his personal interests:
There never was a more avid follower of
Tiger progress with an addiction for
baseball. No one followed the game more
closely and regularly, and whenever possi-
ble, he attended the games. His annual
pass was his Badge of Glory in his love for
baseball and admiration for Hank Green-
Hank made many friends, especially
at Shaarey Zedek and Temple Beth El — in
fact, also in Jewish Welfare Federation
berg was a
19.83 by the
Tigers as one
alive, here to
to hear Hank Louis Blumberg
list Blumberg over the loud speaker, to the
vast audience, as among his close associ-
ates. What Hank could not say in public as
his Tiger uniform number was retired was
that Blumberg was among his closest _fi-
nancial advisers. •
Harold Allen may have been the
closest friend Hank ever established any-
where, and Harold's brother, the late Sid-
ney Allen, was in that class.
It was a glorious chapter in the story of
Jews and baseball and it is reiterated now,
as Metropolitan Detroit Jewry cheers the
Tigers on to complete triumph.
at the point of a gun?!
Perhaps this generation should be
thankful to the representatives of the Na-
tional Rifle Association for the attack on
Congressman Howard Wolpe. They
stupidly linked his legislative record with
Communism or approaching-Communist
ideology. This should be sufficient to alert
the American people to be on guard against
the revival of the reactionary tendencies to
encourage character assassination.
The shockingly-biased mudslinging
has one positive aspect: all comments upon
it, editorially in the press, by responsible
community leaders, warned against the
revival. of McCarthyism.
There is another element in the
newly-developing un-American situation
to be on guard against: in some ranks there
has been an injection of fear lest one be
called a liberal. Under such a degrading
condition, the most distinguished Ameri-
cans and humanists would be relegated to
the lowest standards of judging citizens so-
cially and politically. Such a development
in free America must be rejected and
This must be said: Congressman
Wolpe is a scholar, a humanist, a legislator
with a commendable liberal record. He
merits recognition by his constituents and