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April 24, 1987 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-04-24

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

PURELY COMMENTARY

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Sobibor A Mere Sampling Of The Horrors

Escape From Sobibor needed
dramatization.
CBS performed a valuable serv-
ice of presenting on television April
12 the three-hour tale of terror
about one of the Nazi death camps
where hundreds of thousands were
terrified and many of them were
gassed in the beastly fashion of the
Hitler venom.
Many have asked: why the
delay in revealing these facts since
the Sobibor occurrence was in 1943.
It was not a delay. It was a post-

ponement in exposing the terrors
engineered by a people, the Ger-
mans, who are treated as highly cul-
tured.
The Escape from Sobibor of 600,
half of whom perished, therefore the
story is about the 300 who suc-
ceeded, is one of legion.
Many pages are devoted to
Sobibor in one of the most revealing
volumes, The Holocaust: The History
of the Jews of Europe During the
Second World War by Martin Gil-
bert (a Henry Holt book, just issued

as a paperback). In this 1,000-page
book there are thousands — not
hundreds, but thousands — of re-
corded incidents in Gilbert's assem-
bled records of the crimes committed
by people who were considered
civilized. Let them be known and
never forgotten! Yet there are some
who resent repetition of the facts.
There should be acclaim. The hor-
rors should never be forgotten. The
resisters should be remembered. The
cruelties must always be treated as
punishable.

When the Hasidei Umot
HaOlam, the Righteous Gentiles, are
honored at the Yom HaShoah an-
nual day of tribute here on Sunday,
let it be remembered that among the
heroes Sobibor's are among the un-
forgettable! Those who joined in re-
scuing the humiliated and tortured
remain in our memory. There must
always be the tribute to those who
joined in rescuing the tortured and
the humiliated, so that the crimes
exposed shall never be repeated and
therefore never forgotten.

Wall Street And Money Versus Academic World In Panic

Wall Street and its chief weapon —
Money — continue predominantly in
the public mind. It may often be asked
whether they are major national sym-
bols. When a few scandals relating to
some who had been judged as giants in
the financial sphere were sen-
sationalized by the media, that cer-
tainly temporarily appeared as a desig-
nation.
That's when, analyzing those sen-
sations, in a column on this page, on
"Jews with Money. . ." Feb. 27, this
columnist drew upon the satire of
Heinrich Heine, who bemoaned the
monetary truth when he wrote in
English Fragments: "The fundamental
evil of the world arose from the fact
that the good Lord had not created
money enough."
Proverbially, Jewish anthologies
are filled with Jewish views on the
influence of money. Sholem Aleichem

wrote in Olam Haba: "If you have
money, you're wise and handsome, and
you can sing." Among the most quoted
Yiddish proverbs is: Ver hot die meye
hot die deye — " he, who'll pay has the
say."

In their wisdom many of the say-
ings are legion. There is a brutal one in
its Hebraism: Kesef v'zahav me'taher
mamzerim — "money legitimates a
bastard."
Is there evil in money? In the col-
umn referred to, "Jews with Money,"
Feb. 27 issue, there is an important
concern about our youth. The column
analyzed an essay in Judaism monthly
magazine by Prof. Edward S. Shapiro of
Seaton Hall University. He wrote about
young "Jews who gravitate to high
technology are similar to Jews who
enter academia, in that both groups are
oriented toward science and the intel-

Calendar Of Jewish Experience
Filled With Historic Moments

There isn't a day on the Jewish
calendar, in the milennia, the
thousands of years, that isn't filled
with drama. It can be spiritual and a
conflict with neighbors. It is filled with
challenge. It has the historic when
Jews would not submit to terror and re-
fuse to yield to abandon faith.
Rabbi Abraham C. Bloch, an of-
ficiating spiritual leader for 50 years,
provides much of the data in One a
Day: An Anthology of Jewish Historical
Anniversaries for Every Day of the Year
(Ktav). The facts assembled, for every
day on the civil calendar, are the
stories he had written through the
years for the Jewish Post and Opinion.
The immensity of his task can best be
indicated by selecting some of the
topics that dominated his efforts for a
single month.
Here are some of the noteworthy of
his subject matter from the 31 in the
month of May. Three deal with the
Blood Libel. They are:
May 12: "The Pope Clears Jews of
Ritual Charges." "1540: Pope Paul III
issued a Bull, `Licet Judaei,' clearing
the Jews of the charge that they prac-
ticed a blood ritual." The details inspire
the reader to acquire fuller knowledge
about that occurrence.
May 26: "The First Martyrs of a

Blood Libel in Europe." It dates back to
1171 when 31 Jews were burned in
Blois, France, in the first ritual murder
charge on the European continent.
May 28: "The Persistence of Blood
Libels." The date is 1247 when: "Pope
Innocent IV wrote to the Archbishop of
the French Province of Vienne to pro-
test Christian excesses in dealing with
Jews accused of Blood Libels."
Other notable May days in Rabbi
Bloch's book include: May 9, Berlin's
first synagogue. May 10, Jewish farm-
ing settlements in America. May 13,
the creation of the State of Israel. May
15, Malta's Jewish slave community.
May 18, the anti-Jewish riots in
Algeria and Morocco. May 20, Syria at-
tacks dagania. May 22, the expulsion of
the Belgian Jews. May 23, the Ar-
chbishop of Canterbury attacks the
White Paper. May 27, the Crusaders
attack Mayence. May 29, the censor-
ship of Jewish books. May 30, in the af-
termath of a Crusader massacre.
It is clear from the selections indi-
cated that the 365 in this book are fil-
led with great excitement. Each item is
a chapter in history and it encourages
further study.
Therefore One a Day is among the
very exciting books of our time.

lectual pursuits and not toward busi-
ness."
Prof. Shapiro had more to say on
what could be entitled "money versus
academia" when he wrote:

One possible explanation for
this might be that the Jews who
gravitate to high technology are
similar to Jews who enter
academia in that both groups are
oriented toward science and the
intellectual pursuits and not
toward business and the bottom
line.
Ethnic groups have different
backgrounds and values and
they pass on these values to fu-
ture generations. Each has made
a contribution to American life,
but they have all been different.
It is naive to suppose that each
group possesses the same politi-
cal skills, intellectual ambitions,
or economic talents or has con-
tributed to American life in the
same way and to the same de-
gree. Jews should be no more
embarrassed by their millionaires
(or their violinists, chess players,
and Nobel prize-winning
economists) than blacks are by
their athletes and entertainers,
the Irish by their politicians, or
the Orientals by their scientists
and academicians...
Jewish thinkers have never
viewed poverty as a desirable
condition, and there is nothing in
Jewish tradition similar to the
vow of poverty assumed by
monks and nuns. Maimonides'
highest degree of charity was
providing the destitute with suf-
ficient capital to become self-
supporting.
The question may keep arising
whether the temptation of money will
predominate over the academic com-
mitment.
There is no doubt about the
validity, seriousness and timeliness of
the query, else it would not have been
treated with the emphasis given it by
Dr. Louis Bernstein, a member of the
board of governors of the Jewish
Agency and associate professor of
Judaic Studies at Yeshiva University.
Declaring that a new generation of
American Jews seems "upset with ac-
cumulating wealth," he found it neces-
sary to issue an appeal for serious con-
sideration of the problem. He declared:
"Five years ago, most of the stu-

Prof. Louis Bernstein

dents in my classes were pre-meds.
Now many of them are business
majors. But recent scandals on Wall
Street are a product of this new gener-
ation that thinks mostly of wealth. As
teachers, we must swim against the
tide and provide students with a
counter-influence.
"Instead of young Jews' concentrat-
ing all their energies on making
money, they should also think about
serving the Jewish community. We
have a lack of young people going in
Jewish leadership. We need to cultivate
a new generation of Jewish leaders who
can appreciate and practice the true
Torah principles of Judaism."
It is difficult to avoid reminiscing,
about the age when preparation for a
Jewish identification was in the crib;
when the lullaby from babyhood was to
the tune of Toire is die beste shoire —
Torah is the best merchandise.
Perhaps anything akin to it is too
much to dream for in an atomic age.
But it is something to remember as
a legacy.
Prof. Shapiro introduced the prob-
lem and Prof. Bernstein picked up the
cudgels and confronted the challenge. It
is a clear one, money versus academia
as a future for the Jewish youth.
The challenging problems are ap-
parent. The developing replies remain
for the future to resolve.

Continued on Page 28

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