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March 19, 1988 - Image 42

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-03-19

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

PURELY COMMENTARY

Self-Betrayal

Continued from Page 2

over Judea, Samaria and East
Jerusalem but they could not
win control of all the land.
Israel lived within the
borders of the armistice of 1948.
But Arab terrorists, fedayeen,
continued to harass it.
I was on sabbatical in
1955-56. I came to Israel to help
in the founding of Bar-Ilan
University. I well remember the
murderous incursions of the
fedayeen at that time. The Sinai
Campaign of 1956 gave Israel a
breathing spell. During the two
decades from 1948 to 1967, it in-
tegrated over a million Jews
from Europe's camps, Arab
mellahs, as well as Zionist
idealists who streamed from all
continents.
In 1967 Israel again found
itself in mortal danger from
Arab lands. In the Six-Day War
it emerged alive after defeating
Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian
and Iraqi armies.
It again survived after the
Yom Kippur War of 1973, when
it was surprised and attacked
by Egypt and Syria.
It will survive the present
unrest as well. But it is not easy
to put up with the condemna-
tion of so many nations whose
national interest requires that
they do not antagonize the 21
Arab states and the hundreds of
millions of Moslems that range
from the Pillars of Hercules to
Paldstain and Indonesia, no
matter how just the cause of lit-
tle Israel.
Meanwhile, the Arab in-
habitants west of the Jordan
have profited from the Zionist
example of establishing a viable
Jewish state. The Palestine
refugees, referred to in the UN
Resolution 242, have become a
Palestinian national entity. They
no longer want to be a pawn in
the political play of other Arab
nations. They want to govern
themselves as an independent
nation. We Jews understand
their yearning and have offered
again and again to negotiate
with them for a solution of the
problem of two people on the
same territory, both of whom
have a right to it. The problem
is not between right and wrong
but between right and right. It
is at present insoluble because
the PLO which claims to be
spokesman for the Arabs has
covenanted Palestinian
sovereignty over all of the land
and the re-exile of its Jews .. .
This is a long excerpt from a very
important outpouring of a deeply-
sentimental statement to a friend who
needed understanding and considera-
tion of a tragedy that must not be con-
tinually imposed on our people.
It is a valuable plea for fairness to
a people in distress.
Jointly with it, the declaration by
Isaiah 2,700 years ago is a compelling
admonition to those who were address-
ed by the Prophet as erring sons who

40

FRIDAY MARCH.18, 1988

betrayed their people.
From Jerusalem to Detroit, deep
sadness reverberates over the very sad
occurrences in Israel.
Violence compels self-protection,
with the young Israeli soldiers reflect-
ing defensively the rocks thrown at
them.
The media lent sensation to every
negative aspect of a tragic confronta-
tion. Now there are rebukes of Israel,
portraying it viciously.
Deplorably, Jews are among their
fellow Jews' severest critics. It is so
urgent that Jews should defend Jews
and their communities. This is where
Isaiah comes in, with his lamentation
over betrayals.
This is the appreciation of the value
of a message just quoted from Prof. Sol
Liptzin. Jewry and Israel are indebeted
to Dr. Llptzin for it.

Paperback Classics
Increase Interest
In Yiddish books

F

or more than 20 years prior to his
death in 1982, Chaim Grade was
regarded as the mentor of Yid-
dish writers and as the virtual inspirer
of the literary Yiddish classicists of his
time. Many viewed him as the author
who especially earned the right to the
Nobel Prize in Literature. This was em-
phasized when, in 1983, he was selected
posthumously for the Pulitzer Prize.
With the republication by
Schocken-Pantheon of Rabbis and
Wives and My Mother's Sabbath Days as
paperbacks, renewed attention is given
to the Grade classics. Originally
published by Knopf, the paperbacked
books are reminders that Grade, in his
lifetime, already was admired by the
chief Knopf editors.
Publication of Grade's works in the
English translations calls attention
also to the identification with them of
his widow, Inna Hecker Grade. She
shared as translator of Rabbis and
Wives with Harold Rabinowitz, and
with Channa Kleinerman Goldstein in
My Mother's Sabbath Days.
The interest shown in the Grade
works by Ashbel Green and Melvin
Rosenthal, Knopf editors, is exemplary.
Compelling interest is created in
these republished works in the com-
munities that have vanished, in the rab-
bis and the faith they inspired under
difficult conditions, in the adherence to
legacies that have made the shtetel a
home in which to continue the tradi-
tions that were treasures. An
understanding of them is a necessity
when searching for explanations of
what had occurred in the intervening
years and the tragedies that are record-
ed in Grade's My Mother's Sabbath
Days.
The portrayals of family life of East
European communities now extinct
become vital as studies of Jewish ex-
periences of the early decades of this
century. These are the emphases in
Rabbis and Wives which deals with life
in the Lithuanian community that has

Chaim Grade is shown here after World War II witnessing the devastation in the Vilna historic
synagogue as he described it in "My Mother's Sabbath Days: A Memoir."

vanished as a victim of Nazism.
My Mother's Sabbath Days is a
memorial to Vilna. the reminders are
of the devastation of the city that was
famous as the "Jerusalem of
Lithuania." This volume revives the
memory of Grade's mother who
represented the inspiration that was
provided for scholars in the years when
learning was a guideline and duty for
the Jews in the shtetel.

The horror experienced by Grade
when he returned to Vilan after the
war, the humiliating experiences at
witnessing the destruction in the
synagogue and environs, is among the
memorable documents in Holocaust
literature. At the same time, the tribute
to scholars and scholarship lends
historic and cultural significance to this
novel.
Novels, stories with reminiscenes,
have much value in the Holocaust
library. Grade's latter work is more
than a novel. It is a lamentation akin

to the scriptural dirge. It is an indict-
ment of the cruelties that have be-
smirched the sanctities of Jewish life.
It is the heartbreaking tale of the worst
in Nazism and its brutalities in the
defilement of the Vilna synagogue.
The extensive tribute to My
Mother's Sabbath Days was expressed
in these columns when the great novel
was reviewed upon its appearance in
English translation in the Dec. 19, 1986
Jewish News.
The paperbacking of Chaim Grade
works add appreciation to the role
shared in them by Mrs. Grade in
translating his works and in encourag-
ing the publishing of them. Herself
steeped in scholarship, a linguist who
has mastered French and English as
well as Yiddish the Slavic langauges,
she has earned gratitudes for her efforts
to assure that the scholarly works of her
late husband, Chaim Grade, should re-
main among the classics in world
literature.

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