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November 27, 1987 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-11-27

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

OPINION

Why Do Jews Schedule Class
Reunions On Erev Shabbat?

M.J. Pasternak

im

y ten-year high school reunion
is this weekend. I will not be
going and that makes me very sad;
sad about not having a chance to catch up
with many friends and aquaintances about
whom I have wondered now and then over
the years.
My high school reunion will happen
without me because I am Jewish and the
event takes place on Friday night, Erev
Shabbat. Sadness is Jews planning events
for Jews on Shabbat, which occurs every
week but is still bigger than something
that only happens once in ten years.
The planning committee of my reunion
was composed of seven individuals, four of
whom are Jewish. Clearly had the Jews ob-
jected to scheduling the event on Erev

One cannot help but wonder
why Jews would let an event
be scheduled at a time that
they know might exclude
someone from attending.

Shabbat, their clear majority among the
committee would have insured another
evening for the event. That the reunion
does take place on Friday night testifies to
their silence.
The passiveness of these Jews on the
committee is a serious offense from the
perspective of Halachah (Jewish law). All
Jews are commanded to "remember
(observe) the Sabbath day and keep it ho-
ly," and that also means that Jews cannot
be the cause of other Jews to desecrate
Shabbat. (There is even disagreement as to
whether a shabbes goy is permitted.)
Therefore, the Jewish committee members
are liable for the transgression of Shabbat
by every Jew who attends the reunion,
because they allowed the event to be
scheduled on Shabbat.
Some Jews will not attend the reunion.
This is good news for the committee
members and their liability for Shabbat
descrators but, on the other hand, it is bad
news for the Jews who would want to be at
the reunion but will not go because it is
Shabbat.
Even if I am the only one not attending
for this reason one cannot help but wonder
why Jews would let an event be scheduled
at a time that they know might exclude so-
meone from attending. The suggestion is
not that this was done with any premedita-
tion or malicious intention, but if the
possibility that someone would not attend
because of Shabbat was not even con-
sidered, it is even more frightening.
A rabbinic saying, often quoted, is at-
tributed to Hillel and is found in Mishnah

M.J. Pasternak is a rabbinical student at the Jewish
Theological Seminary.

Avot 1:14 "If I am not for me, who will be?
If I am for myself alone, what am I? And
if not now, when?" If we Jews are not go-
ing to look out for each other can we expect
anyone else to? And if we are not going to
respect each other how will others respect
us? And if we do not stop making life dif-
ficult for each other how will we be taken
seriously when we ask others to stop doing
the same?
Assimilation is the act by which we
make ourselves less and less ourselves and
more and more like others. Not planning,
not attending and not allowing events like
this to be scheduled on Erev Shabbat is one
of the ways in which we establish our iden-
tities as Jews and make ourselves different
from others. It does not matter whether the
event is sponsored by a Jewish organization
or whether it is just an organization that
contains a bunch of Jews.
The loss of our identity, the end of our
distinctiveness, has far reaching ramifica-
tions. Jewish organizations have much sup-
port and respect because they are Jewish,

CONTENTS

26

CLOSE-UP

Big Splash

MIKE ROSENBAUM
Linda Goldstein has hardly
made it to teenager status,
but stands high atop
Michigan's swimming world.

LIFE IN ISRAEL

Why The Struggle?

42

DAVID HOLZEL
A Detroiter wants to ease the way for
U.S. immigrants to Israel.

44

LOOKING BACK

Bath City

ROBYN KLEEREKOPER
Mt. Clemens' era of "the waters"
has not completely faded. But the
times and the town have changed.

Plea For Halachah

54

HAROLD M. SCHULWEIS
Have we forgottten the meaning of
Judaism? Have the legal
entanglements pushed aside the
emotional, personal commitment?

center

Gift Guide

A special section of holiday
suggestions for home and business.

75

HOLIDAYS

Taam Turkey

GERT KOZAK
In 1927, placing a gift turkey on the
Thanksgiving table was not as easy
as it sounds.

88

SINGLE LIFE

JAP Is No Joke

LISA JACKNOW ELLIAS
Jewish American Princess
or Prince is a stereotype
that creates difficult
social problems.

because they represent and serve a distinct
group of people. These organizations often
get special consideration because of that
distinct status.
If we assimilate totally we will no
longer be distinct and will no longer
qualify for that support, respect and con-
sideration. If we do not take steps against
activities that dilute our distinctiveness
then we endanger commodities that the
whole Jewish community depends upon,
commodities that the whole Jewish com-
munity cannot afford to be without.

DEPARTMENTS

32
35
36
59
70

72 Women
78 Engagements
86 Births
88 Single Life
113 Obituaries

Inside Washington
B'nai B'rith
Synagogues
Entertainment
Youth

CANDLELIGHTING

November 27, 1987 4:45 p.m.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

9

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