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December 12, 1986 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-12-12

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

PURELY COMMENTARY

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Even Limited Assembling Of Arabs, Jews Proves Peace Obtainable

Pessimistic extremists who deny the possibility of peace realizations in the Middle
East must never be taken seriously. Even when a mere handful of Arabs and Israelis
find a common ground to consider their needs, for the briefest period, they thereby
provide the hope that large-scale peace approaches may reach fulfillment. A gathering
of responsible representatives of both nations to consider the problem of water shor-
tage for the entire Middle East proved that contention.
The hope-inspiring peace-anticipation was the recent two-day meeting in Wash-
ington with the participation of representatives of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey,
together with a group of Israelis. The story was revealed in a New York Times Brief-
ing column on the Washington Talk Page, Nov. 29. Two authors of the article, Wayne
King and Warren Weaver Jr., quoted Dr. Joyce Starr, the scholar who brought to-
gether the conferees, as stating that the scarcity of war in the Middle East affected all
the countries.
The conference was termed "historic" by Dr.
Starr. She did not identify the participants and
declared: "I am keeping their names off the re-
cord, but I can say that they were very senior
representatives." She pointed out that if the Arab
representatives were identified, they might be criticized in other Middle Eastern coun-
tries opposed to real relations with Israel.
Identifying some Americans engaged in the project of dealing with water shor-
tage, Dr. Starr listed among them M. Peter McPherson, administrator of the Agency
for International Development; U.S. Senator Paul Simon. Democrat of Illinois; and
U.S. Senator James A. McLure, Republican of Idaho.
Dr. Starr is quoted stating that the response of the Middle Eastern countries gave
her great hope that something could be done about the region's water problem and
that talks could some day advance the peace process.
The NYTimes Briefings story further states, quoting additional opinions about
the event, including the Israeli viewpoint:
The meeting, which lasted two days, was held at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies, where Dr. Starr is director of the
Near East Studies Program. Asked if there was evident hostility be-
tween the Israeli and Arab sides, Dr. Starr said: "It was just the oppo-
site. It was very civilized and friendly. There was a serious discussion
of the issues."
An Israeli Embassy spokesman, Yossi Gal, referred to the meeting
as "a seminar" and, while underscoring the importance of water as an
issue in the Middle East, remained cautious, saying, "What will come
out of it we don't know."
The entire occurrence merits Dr. Starr's description of it as "historic." Her hope-
ful, optimistic comment that it could influence peace efforts is of great significance. It

tip

,

is more positive than the Israeli comment and is the one to be accepted as a guideline
for all future actions.
The Psalmist asserted such a call for amity: "Seek peace, and pursue it" (Psalm
23:15). This must be the guideline. It is being pursued locally by the American Arab
and Jewish Friends. They must receive encouragement on the local level, just as the
international pursuit stimulated by Dr. Starr must be given commendation and sup-
port.
The obligation for all peace among people is obvious. They must never give up
hope that amity can be obtained. The hands of all who aim for it must be upheld and
retained in firmness never again to be used for saberrattling.

Translations And Translators

te
"

An Anti-Social Rumor
Earns Blast From Jim Fitzgerald

A rumor accredited to a traditional
religious Jewish group spelled out such
an ugly anti-social viewpoint that it re-
ceived a well earned repudiation. The
attitude deservedly assailed is in rela-
tion to the retarded and the less fortu-
nate and the repudiation of the bias
needs attention and the religious Jewish
groups must never tolerate repetition of
such ugly rumors.
Free Press columnist Jim Fitzgerald,
in his usual, highly-commendable social
mindedness, introduces the subject under
consideration by revealing:
Some Oak Park residents are
protesting the proposed conver-
sion of a vacant school building
into a hospice — a residence for
terminally ill patients. One
woman charged that a hospice in
the neighborhood would harm
her children. She really said that.
I saw it on a TV news show,
or I wouldn't believe it. That's
the trouble with me: I never want
to believe that some people can
be so stupid and uncaring about
other people.

Thereupon Fitzgerald commenced a
discussion of the prejudices extant in
dealing with the problems of the re-
tarded, relating personal experiences in
confronting the existing attitudes, and
he repudiated the prejudiced and the bi-
goted by stating:
As for retarded people, for 25
years I lived and worked a few
blocks from Michigan's largest
home for the mentally retarded.
Hundreds of the patients came to
downtown Lapeer every day.

Several of them worked at my
office and in my home. They
played with my children and ate
at my dinner table.
And I learned the biggest dif-
ference between being retarded
and normal is retarded people
are nicer. They are kind to
everyone. They aren't cruel to
someone simply because he or
she is different than they are.
Retarded people aren't stupid
or mean enough to object to a
hospice in the neighborhood.
Let this be retained on the record as
an endorsement of the tasks of the
socially-minded, the humanly-inspired in
behalf of retarded and all who may suf-
fer illnesses or defections that are not of
their making or desire. To Jim
Fitzgerald goes a hearty salute for facing
up to the aroused issues, for rejecting
sick-minded prejudices, for defending the
rights of all who must be accorded
human treatment.
Hopefully, the Oak Parkers re-
pudiated by Fitzgerald will abandon
their stupid actions. This must be ex-
pressed with a thank you to Jim
Fitzgerald.
(A new development in the Oak
Park hospice dispute now includes fears
and charges of race discrimination. A
concer has developed involving the
blacks. If such fears are justified then
only total community condemnation of
prejudice, from wherever it stems, must
be accorded. There is never justification
for race or religious bias, anywhere in
this country, whether in Oak Park or in
the capital and legislative environs in
any state in the Union.)

Translations are tolerated and trans-
lators are granted cordial respect. The
translated literary treasures are valued
as appropriations from foreign tongues
by the many who depend upon the more
knowledgeable for information that
would otherwise be strange to them. The
critics nevertheless prevail.
Hayyim Nahman Bialik had the
briefest critical comment when he said
that reading poetry in translation is like
kissing a woman through a veil. •
Francois Voltaire was more brutal
in his definition, which declared: "Trans-
lations increase the faults of a work and
soil its beauty."
Perhaps the oldest sacred documents
to be translated from the Hebrew and
Aramaic was the Septuagint, the Greek
text of the Bible by scholars in the Third
Century before the present era. Both
Judaiaca and Universal encyclopedias
have definitive articles on the subject.
Perhaps most definitive is the one in
Philip Birnbaum's Jewish Concepts
where, under the title Targum — Trans-
lations — the noted scholar explained:
The Greek version of the
Bible was prepared by a group of
scholars, totaling seventy-two, six
from each title of Israel. They
were sent to Egypt, where the
translation of the Torah was to

be added to the two hundred
thousand volumes in the museum
during the Third Century (about
250) before the common era. This
is according to the fictitious Let-
ter of Aristeas, stating that the
Torah was translated into Greek
by the seventy-two translators in
seventy-two days. When the
translation was read by Demet-
rius, the chief librarian, before
the Jewish population, it was ap-
proved and recommended to be
preserved without changes. The
king, Ptolemy II, dismissed the
translators with costly gifts.
Scholars regard this as a fanciful
story of the origin of the Septuag-
int.
Those who have made a
study of the vocabulary, idioms
and syntax used in the Septuag-
int, have been led to believe that
the work gradually developed
through the practice of oral
translation in the synagogues of
Alexandria, though some books
were translated and edited by
individuals. The Torah was the
first and foremost part of the
Bible that had to be made acces-
sible to the Greek-speaking

{

Continued on Page 24

An Age-Old Human Failing
`Greedily' Circles The Globe

A very old human failing retains the
limelight. Apparently the media love to
keep giving attention to nouveaux riche
with an appetite for more ingredients to
their favorite accumulations. •
It was typical of Sholom Aleichem
that he should have coined one of the
most definitive applications to the avari-
cial which he termed:
If you grease the wheels
you can ride.
There is a proverbial admonition for
lust in Talmud Sanhedrin which states:
When the camel demanded
horns, they cut off his ears.
In Exodus 20:4 there is the com-
mand: Thou shalt not covet. And in
Isaiah 5:8 there is the Prophetic: Woe to
them that join house to house, that lay
field to field, till there be no room, and
ye dwell alone in the land.
Leo Rosten, in Treasury of Jewish
Quotations, offers the following as a
definition for greed from the Talmud: A
handful does not satisfy a lion. Rosten
also lists the following as greed defini-
tions:
Men are always close – to
their pockets.
The eye is small, but de-
vours all.
If eyes did not see, hands
would not take.
If you look for cake, you'll
lose your bread.

What is grabbed will be

lost.

Don't desire what you can't
acquire.
When the paupers start
dancing, the musicians stop
playing.
Show a dog a finger, and he
wants your whole hand.
In Pirke Avot — Sayings of the
Fathers — there is this bit of applicable
wisdom:
Be the tail of Lions rather than the
head of foxes.

Briberty also keeps repeating in the
headlines and it often relates to Greed.
There is this warning in Rashi:
If a man, even one wise in Torah,
takes a bribe, his mind will ultimately
become confused; what he has learned
will be forgotten.

In Rosten's Treasury of Jewish Quo-
tations also appear the following notes
about bribery:
If you don't bribe you won't ride.
It is surprising how many spots on
the character are removed by solution of
gold.
There is no particular occasion, or
any specific time for utilizing these cap-
sules of wisdom. It is sufficient to know
that greed and bribery are the all-too-
often reverberations in newspaper head-
lines. Therefore the lesson offered here
for the generations.

,–/

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