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October 18, 1985 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-10-18

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

38 Friday, Octo bdr18,'1 . 985''

h IE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

PURELY COMMENTARY

Continued from Page 2

Journalism's
Many Facets
in Anne Hammerman

Anne Hammerman

Journalism is more than a medium
for news gathering and" dissemination. It
includes editorializing and therefore
opinionating. It demands researching in
fact-finding because of the 'primary de-
mands for truth.
In the opinion-expressing aspect, the
guidelines will be found in magazines as
well as newspapers. In the researching
for the unusual rooted in historical
backgrounds, Sidney Harris, nationally-
syndicated columnist,. exerts an impres-,
sive influence. Jewish writers may admit
to emulating him, .and many certainly
follow in his path. Anne Hammerman,
retired editor of the Dayton, Ohio Jewish
Chronicle, certainly matches him in
many respects.
Reference to the Dayton Jewish
Chronicle introduces an American
Jewish case history. The American
Jewish Year Book lists the Jewish popu-
lation of Dayton as 6,000. (The city's
total population is 193,536 as of this
year.) It may be a shock to learn that
the community no longer has a kosher
butcher, and dietary law observers order
their meat from other communities. But
Dayton is, nevertheless, a thriving com-
munity with active synagogues, a Jewish
federation, a Hadassah group, and re-
lated community fuactons. Much of what
has been attained is due to the
encouragement toward an active Jewish
life by Editor Anne Hammerman of the

Jewish Chronicle.

It is because she was the conscience
of her community during her active
editorship. She possesses a fine style and
is motivated by a strong devotion to
Jewry, Israel and her profession. Many
of her columns now appearing under her
byline as Editor Emeritus keep attract-
ing wide attention. The one she wrote as
a. personal memo on the 50th anniver-
sary of her marriage to Ben Hammer-
man was noteworthy. Especially in-
teresting currently is the Column she
•wrote Erev Yom Kippur. It was a com-
mentary on the status of the synagogue
and on, emotions that could be judged as
tests of human reactions on a universal
scale. Under the heading "Have We For-
gotten. How To Cry?", Anne Hammer-
man made this comment:

• My theme for Yom Kippur is
based on a little story I heard
some years ago before ,a Sehchot
_service. The rabbi told of newly-
erected synagogue in a commu-
nity where he formerly served.
The synagogue was built ranch
style — its interior was modern
and comfortable. It was, of
course, air-conditioned; the
sanctuary was bright and beariti,- -'
ful.
One of the portions -who imis

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Christianity, then the factual must be
instrumental in the building of
stated again.
the new edifice proudly invited
his elderly mother to see it. He
An interesting refutation of such
showed her the new synagogue
claims was provided in a most illuminat-
with pride and his mother exam-
ing essay in The Texas Lawyer, pub-
ined its comforts, gazed at its
lished in Austin, Tex.,. by Robert Heard.
beauty, and then, turned to her
The views of members of the official
son and asked "Es is zeir shone
White House and the Supreme Court
du-ober vi ken min du vanen?" ("It
associates are drawn upon by Heard,
is very lovely here — but where
who introduces the ultra-religious views
can one cry here?")
by stating:
•As the rabbi told this story it
Edwin Meese lectures the
•occurred to me that here, per-
Supreme Court on constitutional
haps, was the crux of what is
law. Reckon this paragon of ethi-
troubling the modern Jew. He no
cal conduct knows any more
longer has a place to cry. It is
about that than Willard Scott
difficult to weep amidst so much
knows about brain surgery?
plenty; it is difficult to transcend
Meese told the American Bar
• spiritually surrounded by our
Association's House of Delegates
materialistic pleasures.
the high court's view that the Es-
Lest I 'be misunderstood, may
tablishment Clause in the First
I say that I am not an 'advocate
Amendment "requires a strict
of sorrow. Yet, to be able to truly
neutrality
between religion and
cry, whether for joy or sorrow is
nonreligion" would have "struck
indeed a blessing. Our male chil-
the founding generation as
dren are taught that it is not
somewhat bizarre."
"Manly" to cry. Why? Are the
He told a reporter the "origi-
male hearts less tender than their
• nal intention" of the Framers was
female
counterparts?
Even
the
I
"to be sure that there was no
girls are being taught that they
preference given to any religion;
must be strong — control their
—it was not to put religion on the
emotions — sublimate the true
• same par constitutionally as non-
feelings in their hearts.
_
religion."
There
is
great
comfort
in

To be fair, I should note
tears. We have wept for our loved
there are others in positions of
ones and we have wept for Rol
power as untutored .on the Estab-
Yisroel. We have wept for the
lishment Clause as Meese. Re-
poor and the sick and many of us
gretfully, these include the chief
have also wept with joy. How
justice Warren Burger, and Jus-
close are' the emotions of laugh-
tice William Rehnquist. And we
ter and tears!
have a Democratic governor,
I pray that our people will
not forget how to cry, for if they
do, they will have forgotten their
heritage — they will have forgot-
ten their ancestors; and they will
surely have forgotten the essence
of our endurance..
May you have an easy fast —
L'HITRAOT
,
The very title of this essay suggests
a challenge to, human needs. It is sad-
dening when people forget either to
smile, and laugh, and to cry. ,
The Hammerman essay also
suggests the need for intimacy and for
closeness among people in .synagogue.
Massiveness in houses of worship trans-
forms them into cathedrals, and the
human contact vanishes.
Thomas Jefferson
Hammerman in the newspaper of a
small community emerges as a symbol of
what can be accomplished even on a
- Mark White, popping off about
small scale. Hers is among the smallest
the court's failure to sustain a
of Jewish newspapers in the country, but
law
requiring employers to give
she has given it soul and appeal to a
workers their preference for a -
concerned readership. Her appeal that
day of rest. Just as bad is our
people do not lose the power emanating
Republican senator, Phil Gramm"
from an occasional tear is impressive. It
who recently said people w ilt°
gives emphasis to the collective appeal,
think the First Amendment
that people neither forget how to cry nor
grants anyone freedom from reli-
abandon the ability to ,smile and to
gion "is living in the wrong coun-
laugh.
,
Burger doubts there is any
validity left in'''Jefferson's
metaphor about a wall separat
Repudiating CIa!m
ing church and state. The fears of
Ii*:',Vhis Founded
the Founders" about religious
domination are "of far less con-
On Christianity
cern today," he said. Rehnquist
wrote a 24-page dissent in the
It is not surprising that advocacy of
religious practices in schools and in pub-
Alabama moment-of-silence case
• in ,which yhe concluded the
lic domains should remain an objective
•inlitaphor "is based on bad his-
in some quarters. There is a fundamen-
tory
talism that is self-repeating. The
(and) should be frankly
Church-State Separation Principle, is:
and explicity abandoned." ,
often under attack. It needs defelym at
Many people mistakenly
think this country was founded
all times.
When some extremistplo so -far as
on "Christian principles." They'd
to claim this country-44e feunded on
be right if they said that about

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try"

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the colonies, but not the
Robert Heard at this point listed L.
length the manner in which those - whO
were unbelievers in the Trinity were
punished. The cruelties will be_ viewed as
unbelievable when the actual barbarities
in the name of Christianity were prac-
ticed by fanatics in Colonial times. Chil-
dren were among those tortured. There
were whippings for the minutest acts
which were judged as blasphemy. Then
the interesting- essay. proceeds to define
the blueprint of the Founding Fathers on
the Separation ideal which has remained
a guiding principle for this ,land but
which is under constant attack neverthe-
less. Heard thus outlines the historic
blueprint:
The Founders knew exactly
what --they were doing. They
wrote a blueprint for government
in 1787 that with later amend-
ments included not one reference
to a Supreme Being but forbade
government from passing any

,

George Washington

law respecting the establishment
of religion. We concluded a treaty
(a law not reviewable by the
Supreme Court) with Islamic
Barbary pirates in 1797 in which
appear these words:
"... as the government of the
United States is not, in any sense,
founded on the Christian reli-
gion." It was signed by George
Washington and consented to
unanimously by the Senate.
Two of, the Founders.led the
disoo
, nn . • religious freedom,
Thomas Jefferson and James
Madison.
Madison wrote a 15-poifit re-
monstrance against a proposal in
1784 to levy taxes in frglnia for
/ the support' of teachers of the
,
Christian religion: Christianity
didn't need it, he said deftly in
• point No. 6. To'say otherwise "is
a contradiction to the Christian
religion itself, for every page of it
disavows a 'dependence on the
powers of this world." A tax for
Christianity would "foster in
.
those; who still reject it a suspi-
don that its friends are too con-
scious of its fallacies to trust it to
its own merits." ..
Robert' Heard wrote his essay for the
legal profession. It has special merit for
the entire nation. In its defense of the
Church-State Separation 'ideal' it also
warns against religious bigotries. It ele-
vates faith above partisanship and is
-therefore a strong rejection ,of the claiin
that this nation was founded on Chris-
tianity alone. Heard's essay is an in-
structive lesson for all who are deter-
mined always to act in defense of a basic
American principle involving religion.

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