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May 27, 1988 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-05-27

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Embarassing Rebuke

public rebukes as last week's White House statement. Some of this
is understandable. But the rebuke should have been handled more
quietly, more diplomatically and much more behind-the-scenes. All
in all, it was poorly timed, poorly done and in the poorest of
diplomatic taste.

American frustrations with Israel's coalition government are
becoming highly apparent. In his travels to the Middle East to nudge
those nations toward something resembling peace talks, Secretary
of State George Shultz has been caught in one of the paramount
dilemmas of the Labor-Likud coalition: Foreign Minister Shimon
Peres is willing to consider the sort of international conference pro-
posed by Shultz; Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir rejects the Shultz
plan in favor of bilateral talks.
The problem with coalitions is that they demand consensus. Ob-
viously, none has yet emerged regarding a peace process — any peace
process — in Israel.
This is not to say, of course, that any greater consensus has emerg-
ed on the Arab side of the peace equation. Syria and Jordan have
been fairly noncommittal; the PLO is playing its usual game of high
rhetoric, low principles and agile evasiveness about its ultimate in-
tentions, and Egypt has been quiet about the whole mess.
But it is Israel — and certain Israelis — who are bearing the brunt
of Administration criticism about the lack of progress toward the
negotiating table. That Washington favors Israel's Labor Party was
apparent during Shimon Peres' recent trip to Washington. A White
House statement heaped encomia upon Peres, a man with "a vi-
sion for the future" who has "the courage and wisdom to say 'Yes'
when real opportunities arise?'
The obverse of the pro-Peres passage was an oblique swipe at his
coalition partner, Yitzhak Shamir. Progress has been rendered "im-
possible?' stated White House officials, by "those leaders who are
negative, consistently reject new ideas, and fail to exploit realistic
opportunities to bring about negotiations ... " These recalcitrant
leaders, concluded the statement in a not-so-veiled reference to
Israel's November elections, will ultimately "have to answer to their
own people for the suffering that will inevitably result."
The statement is unseemly for at least two reasons. One, the U.S.
has issued no such criticism about Arab leaders, none of whom have
been any more forthcoming than Shamir. And two, it implicitly en-
dorses Peres in the fall elections. Democratic governments, such as
the U.S., should know it is far from their prerogative to interfere
in the electoral process of other democratic nations. Trying to oust
a drug czar-dictator such as Gen. Manuel Noriega is one thing; try-
ing to oust, albeit only by inference, a democratically elected prime
minister is quite another.
Perhaps the U.S. issued the pro-Peres/anti-Shamir statement
because it expected more from Israel, a nation with which
it shares a close alliance and common values. From dis-
appointments spring frustrations; from frustration spring such

Moving Forward

Leon Cohan's tenure as president of the Jewish Community
Council has come to a close. Cohan's three years as the chief layman
for Detroit's representative Jewish body has elevated the Council
to a new level, both inside and outside the Jewish community.
With a change in leadership, both on the professional and lay
levels, the Council stands at a crossroads. Changes in its constitu-
tion should, hopefully, make the body more democratic, more respon-
sive and more visible to the community it serves.
Under the guidance of Cohan and former Executive Director
Alvin Kushner, the Council took advantge of its 50th anniversary
this year to hold major events that introduced Jewish and other
ethnic minority families to each other. As it enters its second 50 years,
the Council must continue this type of activity and broaden the scope
and the impact of its agenda.


A Symptom

In recent years, we have
been treated to a seemingly
endless stream of articles con-
demning intermarriage as a
major element in the destruc-
tion of our community. Will
we ever recognize that inter-
marriage is not the problem?
Intermarriage is, in fact, a
symptom of a much greater
problem. For most members
of our community, religion is
simply not an important part
of their lives and therefore
they have little compulsion to
marry another Jew. Pointing
fingers and chastising these
Jews is evading the issue.
Judaism is the only thing
that can keep the Jewish com-


FRIDAY, MAY 27, 1988

munity intact. So where is
our Judaism? We put on
fashion shows in our
synagogues. We give our
children ostentatious bar
mitzvah parties devoid of
religious substance. We put a
tremendous value on display-
ing our wealth, yet we cannot
come up with enough money
to fund our religious schools.
How embarrassing. Has
there ever been a time in our
history when religious educa-
tion has had so little impor-
tance? With the monetary
resources available to this
community, every Jewish
child could have a free
religious education.
If the members of our com-
munity think we can survive
on the outward trappings of
Jewishness they are sorely

mistaken. Many of our
children are raised to appear
Jewish but do not have the
covenant in their hearts. For
them there will be no guilty
feelings should they inter-
marry. Instead of constantly
berating these Jews, we
should try to keep them close.
lb blame them for the failings
of the Jewish community is

Richard D'Loss


As president and co-owner
of Raskin Food Company, Inc.,
I would like an opportunity to
respond to a letter sent to you
on April 15, 1988. Your

original complaint letter was
in reference to my company
lacking in compassion for the
very small Jewish communi-
ty located in and around the
Petoskey, Mich. area, by not
sending their local grocery
stores' Passover merchandise
for the holidays.
After an investigation, our
records show that we did send
Carter's IGA a minimal
Passover order. The order was
delivered as ordered by
Carter's, with the exception of
the ' five-pound bundles of
matzah. The reason for this
exception was that we receiv-
ed this order very late in the
Passover season, when all of
our supply had already been
exhausted. We knew that
they needed matzah, so we
substituted with matzah

crackers, which apparently
did not satisfy them.
We did not receive an order
for any other staples which
make for a grand Seder
celebration. A few of these
other products might be cake
meal, cake mixes, macaroons,
gefilte fish or horseradish. My

Continued on Page 10

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