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September 18, 1987 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-09-18

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

I PURELY COMMEN 1ARY

5748: Welcoming New Year's Artistic Almanacs

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor Emeritus

W

ith the approach of a new
year, interest is aroused in
the calendars that become
projects for publishers and communal
movements. Israel is often the provider
of almanacs that are culturally in-
spired. In the main, the Jewish calen-
dar is occasion to reproduce and
publicize historic art works and im-
pressive documentaries
There is one annual Jewish calen-
dar that invites special acclaim,
although it is merely test and is not il-
lustrated. It is the calendar, now made
available for 5748, produced for the
visually handicapped.
The Jewish Braille Institute of
America Luach-Jewish Reference Calen-
dar was made possible for wide distribu-
tion by a generous perpetual gift from
Mrs. Carl Marcus. The underwriting of
this calendar began many years ago
and serves the visually afflicted as a
guide for the approaching new year.
The numerous blessings for the Ho-
ly Days, the Yizkor service,
candlelighting and other facts add to
the needs provided.
A calendar with a special appeal
with factual historical data, replete
with anecdotal as well as the liturgical,
is the perennial publishing of My Very
Own Jewish Calendar — 1987-88 —
5748. Kar-Ben Copies is the publisher
and provided with the main title is the
explanatory: It is a "Luach with Ruach
— the Calendar With Charisma!'

The authors-compilers of this calen-
dar, Judyth Groner and Madeline
Wikler, make the Jewish holidays
sparkle with their explanatory notes.
There are recipes galore, including
apple and honey pizza, health food
dreidel, matzah foo young — all assur-
ing tasty meals for all occasions.
The two authors delve into many in-
teresting topics, including numerology.
The following is illustrative: "The
Hebrew letters have numerical value,
and the Hebrew year can be
represented by letters. The letters
which stand for the year 5748 form the
word tismach — which means be happy!'
For Rosh Hashanah the authors
provide an illustration of the shofar,
with the quotation from Prof. Saul
Lieberman: "The shofar is a prayer
without words."
My Very Own Calendar, 9 by 12, has
additional value. It is a 16-month calen-
dar. In appearance and content it is, in-
deed, a "Luach With Ruach — the
Calendar with Charisma."

Congregational
Paintings In Calendar

The annual United Synagogue of
America calendar for 5748 follows a
tradition of featuring paintings with
emphasis on worship and holiday
celebrations.
In the current one, the art works are
on display in many well-known con-
gregations. Many American cities are
represented in the selections.

JNF Almanac Salutes
Children Of Israel

Continuing a tradition of
publishing calendars with emphasis on
the legacies defining Zionism, the
Jewish National Fund welcomes the
New Year 5748 with its JNF Almanac
dedicated to the "Children of Israel!'
Israeli photographs of beautiful
youngsters, many of them related to
JNF activities, mostly associated with
the Sabbath and the festival, add charm
to a handy calendar.
The scores of quotations, from Bible
and rabbinic sources, and from the
historic Jewish personalities and
Zionist leaders, make this year's calen-
dar a veritable lexicon on Jewish na-
tional aspirations.
The coming 5748-49 JNF Almanac
is for an 18-month period. It celebrates
the forthcoming 40th anniversary of
Israel.

Calendar
Explained

The manner in which the Jewish
calendar is reckoned is defined as
follows in Gateway to Judaism by Albert
M. Shulman:
The basis of the Jewish calen-
dar is the lunar month, which is
approximately twenty-nine and a
half days, the period of time in
which the moon circles the earth
once. The lunar year consists of
354 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and

31/2 seconds. The solar year con-
tains 365% days. There is a dif-
ference of about eleven days bet-
ween- the Jewish lunar year and
the secular solar year.
It is necessary to add an inter-
calary month, or leap month,
seven times in 19 years, not only
to reconcile the lunar and the
solar calendars, but also that the
Jewish Holy days may be observ-
ed at the proper seasons.

.

Schulman's Gatweay to Judaism
has this important explanation of the
observance of festivals for two days:
All the festivals and holidays
were set in terms of the ap-
pearance of the New Moon. Since
the determination of the New
Moon was often delayed because
of a deficient month, the people in
outlying communities voluntarily
took it upon themselves to observe
the festivals and holidays for two
days. The first was based on their
own observation of the New
Moon, and the second was in
deference to the authority of the
Sanhedrin.
The only exception to this practice
was the Yom Kippur holiday which
would have imposed a two-day fast
period upon the people. Even after the
calendar was definitely fixed by Hillel
II (360 CE), the Jewish people, except
those living in Palestine, continued the
practice of observing an additional day
for all their festivals. Today, this custom
has become minhag — an accepted
tradition among Orthodox Jews.

Night of the Murdered Yiddish Poets Commemorated

I

n Jewish communities throughout
the world, commemorative assem-
blies currently recall "The Night of
the Murdered Poets" when noted
Jewish authors and artists were
murdered in the Stalin-engineered
pogrom in the Lubianka Prison in
Moscow.
It was on the night of Aug. 12, 1952
that the eminent Jewish intellectuals,
who had already become famous in
world Jewish communities on charges
of being "agents of American im-
perialism" were put to death. They were
also accused of aiming at "the
establishment of a Jewish burgeois
Zionist republic!'
A commemorative recalling the hor-
ror of 35 years ago, serving as a condem-
nation of the Stalin massacre that has
consistently been labeled "a pogrom" is
scheduled here at the United Hebrew
Schools, for Oct. 25, as the third annual
Yiddish lecture series supported by
Sarah and Morris Friedman. Represen-
tatives of the YIVO Institute will bring
to the attention of the perennial Detroit
event the memories of the Stalin
massacre and the names of the victims.
Those who were executed on the
night of Aug. 12, 1952 were:
David Bergelson, novelist,
1884-1952; Itzik Feffer, poet,
1900-1952; Dovid Hofshtein, poet,
1889-1952; Leib Kvitko, poet,

2

FRIDAY, SEPT. 18, 1987

1890-1952; Solomon Lozovsky,
leader JAF Committee, 1878-1952;
Peretz Markish, poet and novelist,
1895-1952; Yitzhak Nusinov,
philogist, university teacher,
1889-1952; Slunuel Persov, linguist
and writer, 1890-1952; Eliahu
Spivak, linguist, Dir., Institute of
Languages, 1890-1952; Benjamin
Zuskin, star of the Moscow Jewish
Theater, 1899-1952.

A group of notables who were ex-
ecuted earlier included the following:
Shlomo Bilov, linguist and
educato4 born 1888; Benjamin Go-
tiansky, writer and teacher, born
1906; Zerach Greenberg,
publisher, born 1887; Der Nister
(Pen name of Pinchas
Kaganovitch), poet and critic,
born 1884; Yechezkiel Dobruskin,
literary critic; born 1883; Gregory
Zashitz, journalist and editor of
the Yiddish journal "Einikeit";
Mira Zhelzanova, Secretary of the
Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee;
Meir Yoselovitch, trade union
leade4 member of the Jewish Anti-
Fascist Committee; Nahum Levin,
journalist, born 1904; Shlomo
Mikhoels, actor, director of the
Jewish National Theater; Alex-
ander Sodarski, economist and
town planner; Anna Stelmach,
writer, born 1900; Dov Ber Slutzkl,

translator and editor, born 1887;
David Tzaike, translator, Secretary
of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Com-
mittee; Mrs. Tzaike, (his wife); Leib
Rabkin, Yiddish writes born 1908;
Boris Shimshelevich, medical
scientist.

In the list of the martyred are
several who had visited Detroit, who
lectured here and who read their poems
to enthusiastic admirers.
Then there were several who had
organized the Russian Jewish Anti-
Fascist Committee. They included Itzik
Feffer and Shlomo Mokhoels. Feffer was
one of the 24 who were murdered on
Aug. 12, 1952. Mikhoels was the emi-
nent actor and theatrical producer as
well as poet who was accused of "anti-
cosmopolitanism' and was one of the
first Stalin victims. He was murdered
in 1948.
Thus, the years 1948 to 1952 were
written in blood and are recorded as the
"Black Years" in Russian Jewish
history.
It is important to note that Feffer
and Mikhoels had come here in 1943 as
emissaries of the Jewish Anti-Fascist
Committee. They came to raise funds to
aid Russia in the battle against
Hitlerism. Detroiters contributed
toward the $3,000,000 fund they rais-
ed nationally.
Morris U. Schappes, editor of Jewish

Currents magazine who is among the
most authoritative students and resear-
chers of USSR-Jewish relationships,
provides us with this information on the
subject:
"Feffer, a colonel in the Red Army,
in a private meeting with the left wing
Jewish leadership, asked us to raise
money to buy one tank for the Red Ar-
my. When asked whether the Red Ar-
my was in need of one more tank, he
replied that it would be used to combat
anti-Semitism in the Red Army ranks
by having printed on its sides in Rus-
sian the words "Contributed to the Red
Army by the Jews of America!"
Schappes was active in arranging
meetings in support of the Anti-Fascist
Committee and is therefore most
knowledgeable on the subject.
Noteworthy is the fact that such an
effort, to support Russia against Nazi
Germany, did not arouse charges of pro-
Communism. Fred M. Butzel was
honorary chairman of the Detroit com-
mittee that supported the USSR anti-
fascist group. Aaron Rosenberg was the
active chairman of the Detroit
committee.
It is important to note that Aaron
Rosenberg, professionally an attorney,
was popular as an eloquent Yiddish lec-
turer and storyteller. He was truly a
master humorist.
Continued on Page 28

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