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February 28, 1986 - Image 79

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-02-28

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

80 Friday, February 28, 1986

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Leon Klinghoffer died because
he was a Jew and an American.
The terrorists did not inquire if
Klinghoffer was a Zionist, or even
a committed Jew. They, consider
every Jew, by virture of being
Jewish, a threat to their own
murderous cause. Ever since the
hijackings started in 1970, Jewish
passengers have been segregated
and especially mistreated. But
why?
Why does Qaddafi, seeking to
strike back for the Israeli bomb-
ing of the PLO headquarters, call
for a massacre of the Jews of
Tunisia? Why did Hitler order "a
final solution of the Jewish prob-
lem" (i.e., the killing of all the
Jews) rather than the death of the
observant/or Orthodox/or
secular/or whatever Jews actu-
ally opposed his programs? Why
did he not spare the patriotic
German Jews or the German
Jewish war veterans who in 1934
expressed their solidarity with his
plans for a restored Germany? If
anti-Semites are motivated by
pure hatred, what do they see in
all Jews that evokes that hatred?
At this very time, the Jewish
community, both in America and
Israel, is heading for a social split
that could leave us as two sepa-
rate peoples by the year 2000.
President Haim Herzog of Is-
rael recently stated that he is con-
fident that Israel is overcoming
its Ashkenazic-Sephardi split and
believes that peace between Jews
and Arabs will yet come; but he is
deeply concerned that the divi-
sions between secular and religi-
ous in Israel are sharpening with
no cure in sight.
Rabbi J. David Bleich, a re-
spected right-wing Orthodox
scholar, has already proposed that

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risked and gave their lives
(alongside religious Jews) to
create the State of Israel. The re-
establishment of Jewry and
Judaism in Israel is the best proof
that the covenant and hope in re-
demption still live. The positive
impact of the work of atheistic
Zionist movements on believers
has been enormous.
Furthermore, in a crisis — such
as the Six-Day War or Yom Kip-
pur War — the family connection
comes out powerfully — evoking
extraordinary response from
people who have never admitted
(or even have denied) their deep
linkage to Jewish faith and de-
stiny. This confirms the suspicion
that the anti-Semites or the Rus-
sians or terrorists have had all
along that all Jews are in this to-
gether, whatever their official
position.
Does this mean that the ter-
The system allows for rorist%are
justified in the attack
a full range of human on "innocent" Jews? No — their
attack on Jewish bystanders and
response in
other civilians is as evil as their
attacks on Zionists and commit-
community,
ted Jews. But their insight of
including those who shared fate is correct.
In the late 1950s, Rabbi Joseph
disbelieve or reject
B. Soloveitchik suggested that all
observance.
Jews share the brit goral, the co-
venant of fate — e.g., every Jew's
life is on the line. Soloveitchik
that the system allows for a full suggested that this is the funda-
range of human response in com-
mental level of inclusion in the
munity, including those who dis- covenant. Sharing the fate of all
believe or reject observance.
Jews means the Jew is committed
The universal triumph of life and is fully, within the covenant of
and freedom promised in Jewish Israel. The next level up, says Sol-
tradition is to be achieved on a obeitchik, is the "covenant of de-
human scale through human loy- stiny," e.g. shared values, obser-
alty which starts from the family vances, meanings. He conceded
and widens out to neighbors and that all Jews do not share that
to humanity. By making the fam- level of involvement but insisted
ily the carrier of covenant, the that it was the task of Orthodox
Torah insured that even if a per- Jews to reach out — out of basic
son conflicted with the central af- oneness and shared fate — and
firmations that person is still part convince the others.
of the family. The believers had to
Orthodoxy has failed to spell
wrestle with non-believing per- out this common legitimacy of all
sons and their views and adjust to Jews and Jewish movements
their presence rather than eject which share Jewish fate as the
the people or dismiss their views. starting point for its policies. Or-
A church is defined as a collection thodoxy's rulings and tactics must
of true believers; people are in or be re-cast — predicated on the
out depending on holding proper covenantal legitimacy of other
belief. Judaism, by incorporating groups as well as individuals.
the family, insured that people Then it can make whatever
who do not believe or observe proper criticisms it wants to make
would be still included in the of non-Orthodoxy's departures
community and covenant.
from Halachah. Operating on this
Indeed, since the family carried premise, it would have the chance
the message, even if the indi- to win others over or meet them
vidual does not accept it, as long halfway with integrity. Similarly,
as he/she is part of the family, non-Orthodox groups have to
then the individual is considered translate into policy choices this
to still be a carrier of the message. legitimacy of shared fate. Affir-
That is why the Talmud says: "A mations of pluralism must be
Jew even if he sins, remains a turned into concrete choices bes-
Jew."
peaking the commitment not to
As long as the family survives, let disagreements on observance
the message survives. Therefore, and values separate the Jewish
anyone who insures the survival groups from each other.
of the family is properly seen as a
carrier of the message (i.e., one
who insures its transmission)
even if that person or group do not Named-to Post
believe in the specifics of Jewish
The medical staff of Providence
faith.
After the Holocaust, when faith Hospital, in Southfield, has
in God and the Jewish covenant named Dr. Sidney. Hillenberg
were deeply challenged, if not president for 1986. Dr. Hillen-
overthrown, hundreds of berg is a family practitioner with
thousands of secular Israelis offices in Southfield

the way to end the "Who is a Jew"
controversy is to recognize Re-
form converts in Israel — as
members of a separate religion
(Reform) — just as Israel recog-
nizes Christian and Islamic com-
munities as distinct religions
which set their own standards.
How can we allow the disag-
reements between Jews to become
divisions when history itself and
outsiders tell us by their actions
that Jewish fate is indivisible?
What do the terrorists know that
we have forgotten?
Judaism was given to a family,
not just an individual. The Torah
— the Jewish covenant of redemp-
tion — presents itself not as pure
belief, or a set of true doctrines or
correct practices alone, but as a
people's way of life. This means

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