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May 09, 1986 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-05-09

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

28 Friday, May 9, 1986

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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PURELY COMMENTARY

Purifying Religiously

Continued from Page 2

in Talmud and other subjects
is hardly as important as their
personal integrity and their
love of Jews. Yet it is on the
gift of genius that we place all
our foCus, and basic
mentschlickkeit is of secondary
importance.
For this sin, we are in trou-
ble. Alas, one sees no change
in the offing.
Rabbi Rackman's rebuke to the
intolerant is primarily an appeal
to reason, an urgent call to the
reasonable in Jewish ranks not to
be misled by bias and misconcep-
tion of Jewish duties.
It is much more than that. It is
a demand for realization that the
faithful are strengthened by their
faith and can never be swerved
from it as long as they know what
that faith stands for. When in-,
heritors of the great Jewish trea-
sures are confronted by tempta-
tions theyknow how to tackle
dangers. Then neither pro-
selytism nor threats to very life
can subsist. It is the dedication,
the loyalty, the knowledge that is
the strength so splendidly de-

Emanuel Rackman

fined by Rabbi Rackman. His re-
jection of the spreading prejudice,
in the Mormon matter, earns
from him another debt of
gratitude from Isareli and Dias-
pora Jewries. He guides them to
common sense.

Vudaeo-Persian Manuscripts'

Continued from Page 2

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eminent Detroit scholar, Prof.
Joseph Gutmann of the Wayne
State University art faculty, has
a share in encouraging the
gathering of material for this
volume The Moreen preface to
the Hebrew Union College vol-
ume credits the Gutmann essay
"Judaeo-Persian Miniatures"
with giving a comprehensive re-
view of the entire field of
Judaeo-Persian paintings.
In the acknowledgements, the
editor-author of the Miniature
Paintings in Judaeo-Persian
Manuscripts states: "I am greatly
indebted to Prof. Joseph Gut-
mann for inspiring this project
and for making many •valuable
suggestions."
Not only the paintings and the
rescued art work are of signifi-
cance in this volume. Author Mo-
reen provides a history of Iranian
Jewry, dating back to the period
of the First Exile — 586 BCE
"when Nebuchadnezzar exiled
thousands of Jews to Babylonia."
Current very distressing con-
cerns about Iranian Jewry con-
tribute to the values inherent in
the historical records
enumerated by the author.
At the same time, it is impor-
tant, in emphasizing apprecia-
tion of the creative art, to take
into account the author's expla-
nation that "Iranian Jews in-
sisted on using the Hebrew al-
phabet even while writing in the
Persian language as a symbol of
preserving the language and na-
tional heritage."
The following addendum is in-
teresting: "This phenomenon oc-
cured among several Jewish
communities in the Diaspora. Re-
fusal to use the Arabic script, the
script of the Koran, as well as of
the Persian language, -meant a
tacit affirmation of the ancestral
faith in the face of forces of con-

Dr. Joseph Gutmann

version and assimilation. This
`self-imposed' graphical barrier
was nevertheless not monolithic.
The large variety of Judaeo-
Persian literature in existence —
religious poetry, chronicles, tales,
ethics and even the translitera-
tion of many Biblical books into
Persian — attests to much influ-
ence from the Iranian environ-
ment. Interestingly enough, Ira-
nian Jews, in contrast to their
Babylonian ancestors, did not
produce major Halachic literary
tracts and seemed to have been
content to follow in the footsteps
of the traditional teachers of the
earlier Middle Ages."
Editor Moreen provides a guide
to the reproduced art works:
"This study consists largely of
listing the illustrations and de-
scribing their contents. As much
information as possible is offered
about each manuscript."
There is fascination in the

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