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January 03, 1986 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-01-03

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4 Friday, January 3, 1986



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

Are Judaism's Shelves
Empty In United States?

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 Slomovitz
EDITOR: Gary Rosenblatt
ART DIRECTOR: Kim Muller-Thym
NEWS EDITOR: Alan Hitsky

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

Lauri Biafore
Allan Craig
Rick Nessel
Danny Raskin

Donald Cheshure
Cathy Ciccone
' Curtis Deloye
Ralph Orme

©1988 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



f ood News Apc1 Bad News

It was the best of•years. It was the worst of yeari. Israel's relations
with the United States, particularly in the area of economic aid, were
better in 1985 than ever before in history. The two countries entered into
a free trade pact which will phase out all tariffs between them within a
decade. And then came the Pollard spy case, which threatened to bring
all of the carefully nurtured harmony down around Shimon Peres' head.
In the United States, Jews — like everyone else — pulled out of the
recession'and people began salting their money away again in savings
accounts. And then came the savings and loan scandals, in which
members of the Jewish conimunity figured prominently.
Domestically and internationally, anti-Semitism appeared to have hit
an all-time low. But anti-Israel terrorism reached an all-time high, with
Arab extremists rounding off the year by killing 18 people at the El Al
ticket counters in Rome and Vienna airports.
Around the nation, the number of AIDs victims climbed to epidemic
proportions, Dr. Ruth Westheimer gained unprecedented popularity with
her sex advice radio talk show and her best-selling board game, and
teenagers showed signs of edging back toward the mores of the 1950s.
The airlines were busy and their bargains tempting, but 1985 was
also the worst year in aviation history for air accident fatalities.
The United Nations was the scene of some accord between the
superpowers, but again the U.N. passed a violently anti-Israel resolution.
On the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II, a Holocaust
memorial was initiated in Washington, but shortly thereafter President
Reagan visited a German military cemetery in Bitburg, despite
protestations by Jewish leaders and others.
Meir Kahane, Israel's fiery right-wing Knesset member, visited the
United States and was roundly condemned in almost every city in which
he appeared, but continued to gather support back home, where he
confidently predicted he would become prime minister within ten years.
Before the summit meetings, rumors arose that Russia.. t would release
some 400,000 Jews to Israel. So far, nothing has happened to affirm or
deny the rumor, and the§oviets still have a lid on emigration. Twelve
rabbis from . Baltimore an Washington were 'arrested for picketing too
close to the Soviet Embassy in Washington. The five Washington rabbis
opted to spend 15 days in jail rather than pay a $50 fine and be released
on their own recognizance.
The search for Josef Mengele, 40 years after the "Angel of Death"
disappeared from Auschwitz, reached a fever pitch and finally turned up
the remains of the infamous death camp doctor. That was the good news.
The bad' news, for many Auschwitz survivors, was that they and the
world were deprived; not only of Mengele's trial, but of information about
the experiments he performed on them. Israeli investigators are still not
satisfied that the exhumed body was that of Mengele.
On the lighter side, Halley's comet was discovered to have been
mentioned in the Talmud, the Statue of Liberty's renovation, scheduled
for completion in time for July 4, 1986, was being supervised by a Jewish
engineer, and Whoopi Goldberg, whose name only sounds Jewish, starred
in one of the best movies of the year, a film about a black girl in Georgia.




Special to The Jewish News

What -1§ - the contribution of
American Jewry to Judaism? This
question first 'came to my mind as I
attended a Jewish book fair. At the
exhibition I saw shelves filled with
books, and most of these books were
written on two subjects. One of these
subjects was • the Holocaust, and the
other subject was the State of Israel.
As I stood there, I asked myself
this question; "What books would be
on these shelves if the Holocaust in
Europe had not happened, and if the
State of Israel had still not come
into existence?" A strange question?
Perhaps! But for that moment,
in my imagination, I looked at the
shelves as' though the Holocaust had
never occurred, and suddenly half
the books "disappeared!" Again, in
my mind, I imagined that the State
of Israel had not yet been estab-
lished, and the remainder of the
books "disappeared." What I stood
staring at were empty shelves!
It was as a result of this experi-
ence that the question arose regard-
ing the contribution of American
Jewry to Judaism. Jews in America
are well represented in all the pro-
fessions, and in almost every univer-
sity there are Jews on the faculty in
all departments. Among the scien-
tists awarded the Nobel Prize each
year, Jews are well represented.
Both in federal and state "govern-
ment, Jews take their places both as
elected representatives and as ap-
pointed advisers at high levels. In
the arts and entertainment, Jews
have made a substantial contribu-
tion. •
But what is the specific con-
tribution to Judaism of all of these
skilled and talented individuals? In

This article by Dr. Lachover, of
Southfield, appeared in Hebrew in the
Dec. 13-19 issue of "Israel Shelanu."

future–times, when the history of
American Jewry is written, what
will they write? This is not a simple
que§tion, and the answer is not
found easily.
Perhaps it will be' written that
the Jews of America were builders of
great and beautiful synagogues; that
in every large city there were con-
structed elaborate architectural
edifices, each more beautiful than
the next. If this is true, and our

The haunting question
returned: "What is the
destiny and what is the
essence of Judaism in


primary contribution to Judaism will
be large and beautiful bilildings ;
then surely we are at the crossroads
of a serious crisis!
Again, I returned, in my imagi-
nation, to those "empty shelves" and
again the haunting question re-
turned: "What is the destiny and
what is the essence of Judaism in
Amefica?" And my mind drifted to
Jewish communities of years ago in
Europe, and I thought about the rich
Jewish heritage which our present
.generation received from them. Part
Of that heritage was the treasury of
Jewish literature from such writers
as Chaim Nachman Bialik, .Saul
Tchernikovsky, Y.L. Peretz, Ahad
Ha'am and Shalom Aleichem. In
Europe, during the past century,
there was published a wealth of
Jewish stories, poems, essays, Lei-
. des, and even newspapers, written
in both Yiddish and Hebrew. Move-
ments such as, Chassidism and Has-
kala born, akid Jewish culture

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