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March 28, 1986 - Image 20

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-03-28

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

20 Friday, March 28, 1986

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

OP-ED

Far-Reaching Contributions

Continued from Page 4

I Stuart Germansky I

I

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place by the enlargement of
Jewish thought and ideas, as
well as by the creation of a cli-
mate in which others may pur-
sue such ideas. If this seems
paradoxical, recall the history of
civilization. The Greeks created,
while the Romans codified. The
artists and composers we call
people of genius have been those
whose style was appropriate to
the times in which they lived
and who could put together
many previous small contribu-
tions in order to make a new
and more cohesive statement.
The greatest contribution of
Jews in America to Judaism is
the creation of a condition in a
benevolent society which has
permitted Jews to be respected
as individuals. History is replete
with examples of Jewish perse-
cution based upon ignorance of
our ways. (In the Middle Ages,
Jews were accused of causing
the Black Death because their
habits of cleanliness, which
were not utilized by others,
seemed to make them immune
to the ravages of that plague.)
Jews have risen to positions of
importance in all levels of
American society, often being
respected for the abilities alone,
based upon their heritage of
learning and attitude towards
others. As a result, it has, been
possible for Jews to influence,
both ethically and morally,
many decisions which have af-
fected and effected change in
our society and in other parts of
the world. This is not a small
contribution.
'A direct result of this contri-
bution has been the opportunity
to contribute substantively to
the welfare of Jews elsewhere,
thereby permitting them to
achieve some of their own
dreams and goals. Without the
financial contributions of
American Jews, would the State
of Israel be in its present state
of existence? Without the urging
of American Jews would
President Truman have been
.the first to recognize the State
of Israel in 1948? Without
Jewish commitment to the
ideals of our heritage, not to
mention financial support,
would there be the diversity of
thought present in Israeli
society, partially through the
influence of various Jewish
organizations and individuals
living in this country?
A third contribution has been
the ability of Jews in this coun-
try to become custodians of our
heritage. This is not a small
point. The ability of Jews com-
ing to the United States to be
able to retain their own indi-
vidual ideals and idiosyncracies
has permitted Jewish thought to
exist and flourish on different
levels and with' different degrees
of success and/or continued
growth in this country.
A final contribution, based
upon the principle that Judaism
is a religion which continues to
express itself both in an histori-
cal context and in an evolution-
ary frame-of-reference, is the
flowering of many new ideas
and approaches to Jewish exist-
ence.As certain aspects of any .

culture are determined by their
surroundings, so has Judaism
evolved over the centuries based
upon the various places, in
which we have lived. • The con-
tinued validity of the various
Chassidic dynasties still found
in many parts of our culture is
based upon the feeling that
those schools achieved the high-
est level of Jewish thought. The
corollary to that idea is the cre-
ation or evolution in this coun-
try of the aspects of Jewish
thought and observance known
as Reform, Conservative, Recon-
structionist and Humanistic
Judaism. While all Jewish lead-
ers do not see such a plurality of
ideas and practice as healthy,
the fact of the existence of these
Jewish manifestations does bode
well for future generations,
since it shows that Jewish
thought and belief is not sterile
or codified.
This last contribution may, in
the long run, be the most impor-
tant of all, since it permits our
religion to find expression in
terms which permit it to exist in
the world in which it finds it-
self. Whether these modes of ex-
pression will be permanent is
less important than the dis-
covery that Judaism is not a
Pied Piper, playing its tune as it
leads its parade up to a higher
'plateau, only to discover that no
one was listening to the tune
and . the parade has followed an-
other Pied Piper in a different
direction.
We shall see that our ability
to adjust without losing our
basic and most essential qual-
ities, beliefs, and ideas may be
the one element in our religious
philosophy Which has saved us
in the past, and will continue to
do so in the future.

,

ADL Opposes
School Aid

New York — The Anti-
Defamation League of B'nai
B'rith has reaffirmed ADL's
longstanding policy opposing
federal aid to parochial schools
and specifically to tuition vou-
chers.
The ADL policy review was
prompted by Education Secre-
tary William Bennett's recent
proposal to provide federal edu-
cation funds through vouchers
for public and parochial schools
alike.
ADL opposes the voucher pro-
posal on the grounds that it vio-
lates the constitutional mandate
of separation of church and
state.

Merger Unites
N.Y. Charities

New York (JTA) — The Fed-
eration of Jewish Philanthropies
of New York, the United Jewish
Appeal of Greater New York,
and the UJA-Federation Cam-
paign of New York- announced
their plans to merge 'on July 1
into one organization, to be
known as the UJA-Federation.

'"'"••••••••1

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