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February 26, 1988 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-02-26

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I PURELY COMMENTARY

Testimonials Ideologically Tested

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor Emeritus

T

estimonials serve the desirable
purpose of according deserved
recognition and acclaim to
dignitaries chosen for admiration at
special events. The many honored by
communal movement could form a
gallery of personalities of distinction.
The Jewish National Fund now
sponsors two annual functions with this
objective in view. The strictly Jewish
event pays respect to a Jewish per-
sonality. The second function takes in-
to account the services rendered by non-
Jewish fellow citizens. In the latter
. category, something very special is
planned for March 28. The honors are
to be accorded to three men, each
distinguished in his field. The per-
sonalities selected represent an
unusual study in life dedications and
their treatment by the honorees.
It is important to note that one of
the selected personalities is Dr. Vainutis
Vaitkevicius.
What is noteworthy is that by that
name few may recognize him. His
psyeudonym, however, spells fame. He
is the eminent "Doctor V." Under that
name he is known as the physician who
specializes in treating cancer sufferers..
Mention Doctor V and many will relate
the kindness with which he approaches
his patients, his courteous manner
when he treats them in the cancer clinic
at Harper Hospital. Therefore, the ap-
peals constantly made by cancer suf-
ferers that they have the benefit of be-
ing cared for by Doctor V. His genius is
not only in his devotion to his special-
ty in medicine. It is also in his patience
and kindness that enchants those who
benefit from his professional gifts.
Another of the selected JNF
honorees may be a person who will be
judged by continuing controversies in
his profession. David Lawrence, Jr. is
often subjectd to criticism resulting
from the manner in which his
newspaper, the Detroit Free Press, treats
Israel, Zionism and Jewish issues. It's
journalistic policies constantly invite
attacks with charges that news is

Vainutis Vaitkevicius

David Admany

treated with bias in its columns. The
most serious charge is that headlines in
the Free Press are tinged with venom
ascribable to the copy reader's anti-
Jewish prejudices.
The charges regarding the Free
Press regrettably are occasionally
justified. It is necessary, however, to
take into consideration David
Lawrence's singular position in his
newspaper as one who has never failed,
when it is in his power, to consult and
speak with the critics and to grant them
a platform in response to attacks on
Jews and in presenting facts and Jewish
viewpoints. He has even arranged for
symposia on debatable questions, mak-
ing it possible for disputes to be aired
and truth possibly to emerge.
This is by no means intended as a
whitewashing of a criticized journalist.
It is a desire to be fair to an editor of
prominence in our community. If it
could be proved that he had the authori-
ty to prevent the coloring of the news
and the venomizing of headlines in the
treatment of Free Press copy, I would
join in the attacks. But as publisher he
is presented with conflicting views by
a large newspaper staff. Few editors ex-
ercise the expressed desire always to
meet with the critics. David Lawrence
is among the few who grants the plat-
form for reviewing differing views. He

David Lawrence

always comments on the results, often
publicizing symposia discussions. For
these qualities he should be commend-
ed. I welcome the JNF decision to in-
clude him among the personalities the
land redemption Zionist agency will
honor on March 28.
The third eminent personality in
the trio to be honored is a man with a
special distinction in the community
and with a background seriously taken
into account. Dr. David Adamany stems
from a Lebanese background. It was not
hidden when it was announced that he
had been chosen for the presidency of
Wayne State University. When that an-
nouncement was made I was still
writing the editorials for The Jewish
News. In our issue of January 20, 1984
I wrote under the heading "Culture
Without Bias":

Plans for the establishment
of an Arabic Studies Center on
the Wayne State University cam-
pus may arouse anxiety over the
possible injection of prejudiced
views in an American universi-
ty environment. Hopefully, there
will be an elimination of suspi-
cion and the encouragement
that apparently is being given to
such a project in collaboration
with Middle Eastern countries

— in this instance Arabic — will
be on the high level of cultural
advancement .. .
WSU President David
Adamany, himself of Lebanese
origin, has a record for fair
treatment of the many elements
who make up the university
population .. .
Just as he had adhered to affirming
his Middle East backgrond, Dr.
Adamany also gave emphasis to the
conviction that good will and coopera-
tion are necessities and that citizens of
differing peoplehoods can live together
in harmony. On Jan. 23, 1984, only
three days after the publication of my
editorial, he wrote:
The editorial on the propos-
ed Arabic Studies Center in The
Jewish News of January 20 has
just come to my attention. I am
very pleased with your personal
confidence in me, and I am
deeply grateful for your support
of this proposal.
As you know, I have also
been discussing the possibility
of a Jewish Studies Program at
Wayne State University with
members of the Federation .
To the representatives of
Arab governments who have
visited me, I have carefully ex-
plained that Wayne State
University is a constitutionally
autonomous university. Funds
given to us, curriculum, and
faculty appointments remain
wholly within the jurisdiction of
our Board of Governors, and we
do not accept funds with condi-
tions relating to these matters,
to matters of faith, nationality or
race, or to political belief or ac-
tivity. This has been well
understood by those
representatives.
To members of both the
Jewish and Arab communities
in this area, I have expressed
the view that cultural studies
centers are important for both

Continued on Page 46

Yad Vashem Responsibility Of World Jewry

A

n international Society for Yad
Vashem has been formed to
assure interest in the memorial
to the victims of Nazism and for the
retention of the records about the
atrocities. An American Society for Yad
Vashem supplements that aim.

All the memorial centers in the
world, including the widely-acclaimed
Detroit Holocaust center and the one
planned with officially approved United
States supervision, patterned after the
Jerusalem massive sanctification, can
not in their totality match the assem-
bled memorials to the martyrs and the
facts about the guilty at Yad Vashem.
Now these societies are confronted with
the duty of protecting the very ex-
istence of the entire honorable proces-
sion. Funds previously provided for the

2

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 26, 1988

functioning of Yad Vashem are no
longer available.

Is it possible that the tens of
thousands of missions to Israel, the
world Jewish movements that convene
in Jerusalem, do not create an obliga-
tion in their ranks not to permit a
single factor in Yad Vashem to be
abandoned?
It was by an act of the Israel
Knesset that the Yad Vashem became
a sacred memorial on the Mount of
Remembrance in Jerusalem and the
spiritual symbol of the unforgetfulness
of the entire Jewish people memorializ-
ing, in every Jewish heart and mind,
the martyrdom of the Six Million. How,
therefore, could Israel reduce the value
of this sanctity by permitting a reduc-
tion of its facilities because there are

not enough dollars available to keep
them functioning?
More than a million people came to
the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem annual-
ly to recite the Kaddish for the martyrs
recorded there. If aware of the danger
to this sanctified memorial, would
many permit an endangering of it?
The Yad Vashem is the repository of
the historic record that came into being
tragically. The memory will not be e-
rased. The association with it is engrav-
ed in the hearts of many millions. The
symbol of it must be perpetuated.
Therefore the pity that a plea must
be registered for the continuation of the
great symbol in its entirety and that
not a single door be closed to its many
functions.
It has become a great duty, for the
created international and American

societies formed in behalf of Yad
Vashem to ask for support to keep Yad
Vashem intact. Under the honorary
chairmanship of Elie Wiesel and the
chairmanship of Dr. Yitzhak Arad the
appeal is circulated not to abandon the
great effort to keep alive the memory
of the nearly 5,000 Jewish communities
that have been reduced to ashes and the
millions who lived there. The request
for help to keep Yad Vashem intact
comes from the International Society
for Yad Vashem, 48 West 37th Street,
New York 10008.
As Rahamanim bnei Rahamanim,
compassionate sons of a compassionate
people, we surely won't betray a great
trust. Fundraising efforts often become
all too commonplace. This one is too
deep-rooted in Jewish conscience to be
treated with disrespect.

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