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November 13, 1987 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-11-13

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The Difficult Task Of Reducing Bigotries


Editor Emeritus

If there were no Jews they
would have to be invented,
for the use of politicians —

they are indispensable, the
antithesis of a panace;
guaranteed to cause all evils.
Voice of Jerusalem,
A communicable disease

Silver's Affirmation:
Distinctive Judaism

Abba Hillel Silver


hen Dr. Abba Hillel Silver's
Where Judaism Differed first
first appeared in 1956 as a
MacMillan book, it was hailed as a
definitive acclaim of the realities of dif-
fering views in religious realms. It was
in fact a commitment to the Jewish way
of holding fast to faith, in a world where
there are so many invitations and temp-
tations to flatter or to bend to
Appearing anew under the title
Where Judaism Differed: An Inquiry In-
to the Distinctiveness of Judaism, from
Jason Aronson, a highly acclaimed
study, it has had as much interest from
Christian as well as Jewish theologians.
The new edition has the added value of
a foreword by the author's son, Rabbi
Daniel Jeremy Silver.
In his original preface, Rabbi Abba
Hillel Silver credited his son as well as
the late Prof. Solomon Zeitlin with
valuable suggestions in the preparation
of this book.
Now the Daniel Jeremy Silver
foreword adds valuably to an apprecia-
tion of the entire theme.
It is necessary to take into con-
sideration current emphases on
ecumenia in approaches to religious
cooperativeness. The Silver volume is a
guide to self-esteem in Jewish ranks, re-
jection of tempting, the adherence to
faith in the realism of differing.
Dr. Silver's thesis dominates the
challenges in this superb study. This
scholarly work assumes importance as
a textbook for all faiths. For Jews, it is
a guide for commitment and action and
an unchallenged means of making faith
a powerful commitment. At the same
time, the non-Jew learns and respects

2_ F ~ IQAY ~ IOVJ


the lessons of Judaism. The inspiration
of the synagogue is a portion of the
lesson provided in the Silver study of
the Jewish way of life.
In his chapter "Differences and
Underlying Unity" Dr. Silver sum-
marized the duty, declaring:
We have dwelt on the great
new insights of Judaism which
are easily recognizable at all
stages of its development and
which gave it a distinctive
stamp and character: that God
is One — Spiritual, Creator and
Ruler of the universe, indwelling
all nature, and yet transcending
it; near to man in all his needs,
and yet beyond man's full com-
prehension. That man, while
fashioned out of the earth, is
nevertheless made in the
spiritual image of God . . . That
there is divine retribution in
ways and forms not always clear
to man. That man's concern
should be with life this side of
the grave.
These are the basic and the
enduring ideas of Judaism.
Some of the other great religions
of mankind possess one or more
of them. Some adopted them
directly from Judaism. But
Judaism wove them all into a
single and unique pattern, in-
tegrated and correlated them in
religious idealism and an ethical
code which have powerfully in-
fluenced civilizations in the past
and which will continue to mold
them in the future.
These great insights are
found in the Bible, which has
been called the epic of the
world, the book of the ages,
which is inextricably bound up
with the culture, ethics, history,
art, and literature of half the
world . . .
But while the crown jewels
of Judaism are found in the Bi-
ble, its spiritual treasures are
not limited to it. Subsequent
ages also produced Sages,
Seers, and Rabbis, whose
wisdom is embodied in later
Jewish writings — in the
Apocrypha, the Talmud, the
Midrash, and the individual
works of scholars, poets, and
philosophers which have con-
tinued to this day. Their
teachings constitute an integral
part of the endlessly replenish-

Continued on Page 50

. . . can be combated not on-
ly by fighting the germs but
also by strengthening the
resistance of the body under
attack. Jews can do very lit-
tle about fighting anti-
Semitism . . . But they cer-
tainly can go on strengthen-
ing the morale of their own
S. W Baron
American Zionist,
Feb. 5, 1953


eports of swastika paintings
on synagogues and Jewish com-
munal buildings, in this country
and elsewhere, keep increasing.
Republication of the atrocious lies cir-
culated under the title Protocols of the
Elders of Zion is in evidence too fre-
quently. The Pope lends credibility to a
collaborator with the Nazis and another
visit with him is anticipated.

There was an inner debate whether
to state here that it is difficult to
"erase" anti-Semitic prejudices. I had to
settle for "reducing." Perhaps it is the
best we can hope for. "Erasing" totally
becomes an impossibility. Japan keeps
providing reasons for such
Having assumed a place among the
nations of the world in the economic
spheres, acclaimed for its ability to pro-
duce, Japan found an ugly place among
the most bigoted hate-spreaders. It is
true that there are repudiations of the
shocking developments, that in
academia and government there are
condemnations of the scandalous
publishing schemes that have acquired
hundreds of thousands of readers. The
very success of the hate publishing
triumph creates the continuing
The situation in Japan again

Continued on Page 48

Teaching The Holocaust


hildren of the Holocaust," as a Nazis, he was shedding tears as he
collective term, commenced to related the facts of his life in Auschwitz.
share deep concern in the sad The granddaughter, Ariella, responds:
experiences of their elders.
"You shouldn't be ashamed to let
There were occasions when many of people see your number. You didn't do
the survivors from the Nazi pestilence anything wrong. It's the Nazis who
hesitated to discuss their agonies with should be ashamed."
children and grandchildren. Some
There is a lesson for unforgetfulness
covered up the numerals on their arms, in this simple story. It is a realistic tale
because the recollections pained them about a true and existing family, about
and they would not pain the offspring Siegfried Halbreich of Beverly Hills,
as well as friends.
Calif., who testified at the trial of the
Then commenced realization of the Nazi criminals in Nuremberg. The
need "not to forget," not to hide facts. pictures also are of the family.
The Union of American Hebrew
This is how a children's story helps
Congregations, which has acquired a to supplement historical records. It is a
good record in the children's publishing theme to be emulated. UAHC is to be
programs, did an interesting text in its commended by utilizing a memorable
most recent publication. It is a "don't theme for the youth library.
hide" aim in its very title. The Number
The comments on so small yet so
on My Grandfather's Arm tells the story noteworthy a story for children, with its
simply and without equivocation. In a message for the elders, commands two
text of perhaps no more than 400 words, important credit lines.
author David A. Adler introduces
David A. Adler, the narrator of the
grandfather and the numbers on his brief story, has authored more than 60
arm. The 17 illustrations in the 27-page books, including Our Golda: the life
book describe the "heroes" in the story of Golda Mein
dialogue and the theme.
The importance here is the photographer of the family pictures for
simplicity of the tale and the climax. The Number on My Grandfather's Arm
When Granddaughter hears Grand- is the daughter of the Holocaust
father tell his life story, of the suffering survivors who now lives in Los Angeles
under "wild man" Hitler and the with her husband Betzalel and their
horrors imposed upon Jews by the three children.

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