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March 13, 1987 - Image 30

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-03-13

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

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30

Friday, March 13, 1987

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

OP-ED

Diaspora

Continued from Page 7

Rabbi Gunther Plaut, past
president of the Central Con-
ference of American Rabbis,
and Rabbi David Gordis,
head of the American Jewish
Committee, pleaded for
greater religious pluralism in
Israel.
Congressman Howard L.
Wolpe of Michigan and Her-
man W. Nickel, former U.S.
Ambassador to South Africa,
raised telling and unpopular
questions concerning sanc-
tions against South Africa.
Holocaust education and pr-
ogramming for greater inter-
faith understanding were dis-
cussed by experts who shared
their experiences. Vatican-
Israel relations and their im-
plications for Catholics and
Jews were reviewed by ex-
perts.
Such wide-spread interests
as these indicate how valid,
how kaleidoscopic, are the
interests of American Jewry.
Of course we Jews must
support Israel. We do. The
litmus test of political candi-
dates, so far as Jews are con-
cerned, is how they support
Israel. But to support Israel
alone, as a single issue con-
cern, and to ignore other gut
issues vital to many Ameri-
can Jews, is neither healthy
nor wise.
We need to spend time and
money to implement the is-
sues of a good society that
guarantees the safety and se-
curity of American Jews. Our
agenda must include the cel-
ebration of the 200th an-
niversary of the Constitution.
Soviet Jews can never be for-
gotten. The Holocaust needs
constant remembering. Our
synagogues and temples, our
culture and devotion to
Jewish learning, our em-
phasis on charity, all makes
us a multi-issue community.
We need American Jews —
especially young men and
women — to involve them-
selves in leadership respon-
sibilities, be it in the po-
litical, social, religious,
charitable or intellectual and
artistic areas of Jewish life in
order to regenerate
enthusiasm, to enhance the
Jewish way of life in the
Diaspora.
Let no one misunderstand:
I believe in Israel. I support
Israel. I speak up for Israel.
Israel needs all the help she
can get. Her situation is des-
perate. We all need to rally
around her in whatever way
we can to strengthen her. But
let's not forget there is some-
thing else involved with
Jewish survival besides Is-
rael. That is the Diaspora.
Let's face it. Most of the
Jews in the U.S., Canada,
England, France even USSR,
are not moving to Israel.
They are going to live where
they are in a pluralistic
society. How they live as
Jews, the quality of their

Jewish life, is of prime impo-
rtance. A genuine Jewish life
can be lived anywhere.
Jews cluster in com-
munities and face their com-
munal problems jointly. Old
people need to be cared for,
not cast aside. Young people
need recreation camps and
centers. Families with pr-
oblems need counseling and
social workers.
Anti-Semitism is not dead.
It has only gone under-
ground, to surface in different
forms. When an international
body like the UN can label
Zionism as racism, we are not
far past the medieval age of
bigotry and hatred. Jews still
need to band together for
mutual protection and de-
fense, to interpret to the
broader community our true
goals and values, lest
stereotypes be believed and
our rights be abridged.
Judaism and Jewish life
must thrive in the Diaspora.
It isn't enough to make Israel
a substitute religion and put
all our energies in that direc-
tion, leaving to chance our
commitment to Jewish life in
the Diaspora. Israel needs the
Diaspora, of course! The re-
cord of the Diaspora's support
of Israel is a proud one that
must be continued.
But what about Israel's
recognition that there must
be a viable, exciting, thriving
Diaspora? Jewish life cannot
be a one-way street. It is not
"either you support Israel or
you are not a good Jew." Of
course we must support Is-
rael. But we must also sup-
port and make the Diaspora
bloom, too.

Dr. Hertz is rabbi emeritus
of Temple Beth El and an
officer of the Jewish
Community Council of
Metropolitan Detroit.

Experts Debate
Iraqi Connection

Jerusalem — Israel has not
derived any political gain from
its involvement in the supply
of U.S. weapons to Iran, and
therefore it should consider
some sort of approach —
though not necessarily supply
of weapons — to Iraq, two
speakers stressed at a program
on "Israel Between Iraq and
Iran" held recently at the He-
brew University of Jerusalem.
Participants in the discus-
sion were Dr. Amatzia Baram,
of the University of Haifa, Dr.
David Menashri, of the Dayan
Center for Middle Eastern and
African Studies at Tel Aviv
University, and Uri Lubrani,
coordinator of Israeli govern-
ment activities in Lebanon.
Dr. Baram, a specialist on
Iraqi affairs, said that Iraq had
moved in recent years toward a

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