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December 06, 1985 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-12-06

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

4

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Friday, December 6, 1985

v3IFHAH - 1)11- 1d::_'hi
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

THE JEWISH NEWS

Serving Detroit's Metropolitan Jewish Community
with distinction for four decades.

Editorial and Sales offices at 20300 Civic Center Dr.,
Suite 240, Southfield, Michigan 48076-4138
Telephone (313) 354-6060

PUBLISHER: Charles A. Buerger
EDITOR EMERITUS: Philip Slomovit:
EDITOR: Gary Rosenblatt
CONSULTANT: Carmi M. Slomovitz
ART DIRECTOR: Kim Muller-Thym
NEWS EDITOR: Alan Hitsky
LOCAL NEWS EDITOR: Heidi Press
EDITORIAL ASSISTANT: Tedd Schneider
LOCAL COLUMNIST: Danny Raskin

OFFICE STAFF:
Lynn Fields
Marlene Miller
Dharlene Norris
Phyllis Tyner
Pauline Weiss
Ellen Wolfe

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES:
Lauri Biafore
Allan Craig
Rick Nessel
Danny Raskin

PRODUCTION:
Donald Cheshure
Cathy CicCone
Curtis Deloye
Ralph Orme

© 1985 by The Detroit Jewish News (US PS 275-520)
Second Class postage paid at Southfield, Michigan and additional mailing offices.
Subscriptions: 1 year - $21 — 2 years - $39 — Out of State - $23 — Foreign . $35

CANDLELIGHTING AT 4:41 P.M.

VOL. LXXXVII, NO. 15

A Mighty Miracle

At sundown tomorrow night, the first candle will be lit on the
menorah. By itself, each dim candle will be almost insignificant. But as
more candles burn with each new night of Chanukah, the menorah
becomes more brilliant, more incandescent, more ethereal.
Chanukah has come to have many meanings. Unfortunately, some of
these obscure and diminish the beauty and the power of those eight
menorah candles.
The most common — and the most shallow — meaning has reduced
Chanukah to a time of gift-giving. In our predominanty non-Jewish
world, this may have been unavoidable. Exchanging gifts for Chanukah
began, it is usually assumed, to placate small children. They needed, it
was thought, some consolation while a barrage of gift-giving was going on
all around them.
But this blizzard of gifts too often obscures the beauty of the holiday,
a beauty which could dazzle a child far more than the transitory pleasury
of receiving this year's hottest plaything. For Chanukah, after all, is a
time of miracles. And nothing so captures a child's imagination and
attention than the miraculous.
The miracle of Chanukah is that of the small jar of oil that burned
for eight days.
The miracle of Chanukah is the victory of religion over the
secularists that had so infatuated the ancient Israelis.
The miracle of Chanukah is that the Jews' spiritualism and
creativity managed to survive the apathy and idolatry of Hellenism.
When the father of Judah Maccabee fled into the Judean hills to
wage guerilla war against the Greeks who had conquered Israel, he called
out, "Whoever is faithful to the Lord, follow me." Now whoever is faithful
to the spirit of Chanukah should remember — even in these times when
the festival is so ruled by gift-giving — that the holiday commemorates
transcendence, that it honors the eternal spirit, that as the menorah
gains in brilliance with each new night and with each additional candle
that is lit, that we, too, gain in the knowledge that our lives are
constantly open to miracles — if only we have the wisdom and a
child-like openness to receive them.

Educational Support

The status of Jewish education has been the subject of extensive
debate throughout the country for decades. Education in the afternoon
school programs has been expecially singled out for criticism, including in
these pages ("Who Cares About Hebrew Schools," Nov. 15). But, both
national and local studies have verified that great strides are being made,
and Detroit's United Hebrew Schools can proudly stand up as a leader for
its innovative programs and curriculum.
On the day school scene, Detroit's Akiva, Hillel and Yeshivath Beth
Yehudah have well-deserved reputations for quality education.
Enhancing their standing in the community is the recent record turn-out
at the annual dinner of the yeshivah. Some 1,900 persons attended,
demonstrating both financial support and commitment to the school.
At a time when Jewish education is described as being at a
crossroads, that personal commitment weighs heavily in the communal
ledger.

OP-ED

It's Past Time to Consider
Bar/Bat Mitzvah Meaning

BY RABBI SHERMAN -P. KIRSHNER
Special to The Jewish News

It is with a deep and penetrat-
ing sense of chagrin that I continue
to observe the "mitzvah" all but dis-
appear from the original concept as
well as from the ceremony of Bar/
Bat Mitzvah.
I recall a time, not too long ago,
when parents and the greater family
were imbued with a sense of derech
feretz or good manners and a feeling
of reverence for Jewish tradition and
they would reinforce the rabbi's
teachings, suggestions and urgings
in connection with the actual obser-
vance of this ceremony. Thus, did
the child feel part and parcel of his/
her Jewish heritage and legacy — if
only for that twenty-four hour period
of Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration. This
special day in a child's life always
included a kiddush-luncheon in the
synagogue which in Jewish life is a
seudat mitzvah or a repast fulfilling
a Godly commandment in which the
celebrant, their family, rabbi and
hazzan led the gathered congregants
in kiddush, ha-Motzi and Birkat
Ha-Mazon as Judaism dictates.
It was, at all times, a
synagogue-oriented celebration, im-
pressing upon the youngster his/her
need for the assumption of some
religious responsibioity beyond the
norm. It was also a time to cease our
mundane dealngs and elevate our
children and ourselves to a more re-
verent and meaningful way of life —
if only for the duration of this
event-filled day.
In today's secularistic world,
with the advent of the "instant
gratification" society, I have wit-
nessed the movement to minimize
the synagogue kiddush celebration
and maximize a luncheon-party in a
commercial establishment, which to-

Sherman Kirshner is rabbi of Cong.
B'nai Israel of West Bloomfield.

tally nullifies and extinguishes the
sanctity, holiness and that special
warmth of Shabbat envincing the
negativism of the entire ceremony.
To the disdain of every Jewish
religious leader, the child is usually
cast into a state of doubtfulness, de-
pleted of any Jewish feelings which
his/her teachers had attempted to

The celebration has
altered its synagogue
orientation that was
focused on the youngster's
assumption of religious
responsibility

implant within them as they view
and become party to something
which is devoid of any feeling of re-
ligisity.
How often youngsters come to
see me and will say something like:
"Rabbi, my mom and dad are so
phony about life. They say one thing
to me, and do something that suits
themselves and is so un-Jewish."
How often parents have come to
the rabbi and synagogue in anger,
stating: "My child is about to marry
out of the faith, rabbi. Perhaps if
you, or the cantor or the Hebrew
teachers had taken more time with
him/her, this would never have hap-
pened!"
We are dealing with a group of
young people today who are perhaps
the brightest, most perceptive and
"with it" group of kids in Jewish his-
tory. They are quick to perceive the
sincerity and the meaningfulness or
the insincerity of parental guidance
as well as religious leaders.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah has the poten-

Continued on Page 24

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