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CANDLELIGHTING AT 4:45 P.M.
VOL. XC, NO. 14
Act Against Assad
When caught red-handed, how many thieves are praised for
returning stolen goods? On an international level, the expert at this game
is Syrian President Assad, who is awarded lavish praise every time he
allows a hostage in Lebanon, whose fate he controls, to go free. Even
though he's responsible for the kidnapping in the first place.
The cases can be documented: after being implicated in the April,
1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Assad muted American
anger by arranging for the release of hostage David Dodge, the acting
president of the American University of Beirut. The White House
publicly credited Assad for his humanitarian effort.
When Syria was implicated in the October 1983 bombing of the - U.S.
Marine barracks in Beirut, the U.S. launched an air strike during which
Navy pilot Robert 0. Goodman was captured. Somehow, Assad became
the hero when he released Goodman to Rev. Jesse Jackson.
In June 1985, Syrian-supported terrorists hijacked a TWA jet and
held it for 17 days. But when the hostages were released, the White
House again credited Assad.
And so it goes. Most recently, after proof that Syria was involved in
the April attempt to blow up an El Al airliner with 340 passengers on
board, and Britain was applying the pressure by severing diplomatic
relations with Syria, Assad diverted attention away from himself. The
Washington-Tehran connection was first made public in a
Syrian-sponsored newspaper in Beirut. The Syrians released the
information on Iran," says Mideast expert Daniel Pipes of the Foreign
A Daily Accounting System
Tallies How To Be A Jew
RABBI ELIMELECH GOLDBERG
fter returning from the
Council of Jewish
Federation's 55th General
Assembly in Chicago, a gathering
dedicated to the theme of uniting a
diverse people, I came home with
two important conclusions. The first
was that the issue of Who is a Jew"
is not the single most important
issue that we collectively face. The
second was that there is a city colder
As a people, I doubt that we will
soon reach accord upon a universal
definition as to who is a Jew. As a
multitude of scattered individuals in
the body nation however, definition
is important. The current labels Or-
thodox, Reform, Conservative, Re-
constructionist, Liberal, Traditional,
Modern, Ancient, Black Hatted,
Middle, Left or Right of Middle or
Centrist Middle of some imaginery
road are just not doing the trick. In
fact, despite being known as the
People of the Book which in the case
of Jew-labelling is a thesaurus, the
Bible takes a grim look towards such
According to law, Jews are not
allowed to be counted as numbers, a
prohibition that required census
takers to use indirect counts of the
Jewish People. To place a number on
a Jew is to rob him or her of the in-
dividual qualities of greatness of
that person. A label compels the
holder of that title to conform to the
ingredients on that package, never
minding the particular elements of
personality and soul that comprise
all of us in a singular way.
Elimelech Goldb e rg is rabbi of Young
Israel of Southfield and attended the
CJF meetings as rabbinic award winner
for community service of the Jewish
Welfare Federation of Detroit.
Still, people require some quan-
tifiable identity that goes beyond the
general. The human social conditior
requires us some means to guage
ourselves and those we stand
There is a trend today withir
the social sciences of moving toward
greater empiricism. I propose, there.
fore, a personal identity systerr
based upon a mathematical equa.
tion. The final number would be
variable daily rate and could be kep
We all have to go back to
work on the basic one,
two and threes of Jewish
life. We must reassess
what moves us, what
gives us strength and.
motivation to do more.
confidential from the rabbi, gabba
or the IRS.
The factors of the equation ax
quite simple. It would require th
multiplication of the quantity an
the quality of our Jewish experi
ences. In other words, we should as
ourselves, today, what did I do as
Jew? Did I pray, eat, talk or learn a
a Jew? Was I kind, sensitive, chari*
able or outspoken for justice as
Jew? If the answer to this questio
is yes, give yourself a point for- eve
experience that was uniquely Jewis
in your eyes.
Then ask yourself the harder o
the two questions. What did tha
Jewish experience mean to me? Ho
was I affected? Multiply your experi
ence by how it made you feel close
to God, the Jewish people, your fa
ily, the world around you. Did yo
walk out of the experience the ve
same way that you walked in? Thi
question is especially important f
those who attend synagogue sery
Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. And now Iran has completely
obliterated Syria" in the minds of Americans as the leading terrorist
It took years for America to cast Libya's Kaddafi as a man dangerous
enough to justify our air strike. And Assad is smarter, subtler, more
shadowy than Kaddafi. But it is time for Washington to act against
Assad, insisting that he free all American hostages or we will sever
relations with Syria. It's a step long overdue. How many more hostages
will be taken before we act?
Ivan Boesky and Judge S. Jerome Bronson have become household
names. The twin tragedies of Boesky's "insider" stock trading and the -
accusation of bribe solicitation against Judge Bronson and his subsequent
suicide have rocked both the Jewish and general communities.
These episodes leave tragic lessons for the community. Both,
apparently, were tied to greed, to a need for money, or its power, that
were beyond the range of two men who were respected and admired. How
can two men with means, with the respect of the community, violate the
public trust? In Boesky's case, how much is not enough? In Bronson's
case, an entire lifetime of public service is degraded and called into
question, as is the court he served.
/c. c c OMAN