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June 24, 1988 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-06-24

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

LIFE IN ISRAEL

When Is A Non-Jew
Actually A Jew?

CARL ALPERT

Special to The Jewish News

H



e FAMILY-OWNED & OPERATED
DRYCLEANERS . . . WITH OVER 40
YEARS EXPERIENCE:
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• Coupon must accompany your incoming
drycleaning order.
• Offer not good on suedes, leathers and
household items.
• Not good with any other coupons
• Expires 6-30-88

• Coupon must accompany your incoming
drycleaning order.
• Offer not good on suedes, leathers and
household items.
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REGENCY

ULEANERO

30711 W. 12 MILE RD. Just East of Orchard Lk. Rd.
Farmington Hills
In The Regency Plaza

471-7273

P'au

36

Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

FRIDAY, JUNE 24, 1988

Sat. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

aifa — Household
handymen in Israel,
like plumbers and
painters, tend to be quite loc-
quacious, and so it was that
our plumber, who spent a few
hours with us making much
needed repairs, launched in-
to a confidential account of
his life story. I have changed
a few minor details to conceal
his identity, for reasons which
will become clear.
We accepted Moussa as an
Arab from the Arab village of
Tamra, but that's not the way
he began life. He claims he
was born into the family of a
young Jewish couple from
Turkey, who made their home
among the Arabs in down-
town Haifa in the days of the
British mandate. His mother
died in childbirth, and his
father did not know what to
do with the infant son.
A Christian Arab neighbor
had by chance given birth to
a son on the same night, and
both women were attended at
their homes by the same mid-
wife. The Jewish father
prevailed upon the neighbor
to raise the child, and the two
boys were raised as twins. The
real father disappeared.
Moussa's new mother gave
him that name because it was
one common to both Jews and
Arabs, and the two boys were
raised together. The family
was loyal to the state of Israel
when it came into existence,
and as a Christian, Moussa
volunteered for military duty.
He was accepted and served.
Only when he was 28 and
about to get married to a local
Arab girl, did his foster
mother take him aside and
tell him the truth. Under the
circumstances, did he want to
go ahead with the marriage?
Moussa made his decision,
married, and raised a family
of three sons and a daughter.
None of them know his secret.
His youngest son, now 18, is
proud of his father's pictures
in uniform, and is himself
now volunteering for service
with the Israel Defense
Forces.
Moussa attends church on
Sundays. He feels no conflicts
as a Christian, but in his
heart, he told us, he
recognizes that his people (he
used the Hebrew word "am,"
which means people or na-
tion) are the Jews.
By this time he finished his
plumbing work, and left.
I told this story at a house
party not long ago, and a

member of the assembled
company told us he had a tale
to match it.
Some years ago a young
non-Jewish volunteer came
from Europe to work in Israel
for a year, as do thousands of
other such volunteers. He fell
in love with both the country
and a Jewish girl, and decid-
ed to convert. He went to a
Reform rabbi here and asked
to be converted. The rabbi ad-
vised him that the conversion
would not be recognized by
the Israel rabbinate, but the
young man undertook the
preparatory intensive educa-
tional course in Judaism, pur-
suing his studies with in-
terest and diligence.
At this stage he decided to
go to England, where his
parents lived, and inform
them of his decision. The rab-
bi gave him a letter of in-
troduction to a Reform rabbi
in Britain, explaining the
course the boy had taken, in
the event that the conversion
ceremony and subsequent
marriage were to take place
there.
Upon the volunteer's return
to Israel, the rabbi here ask-
ed what reception he had had
from the rabbi in London.
"I did not present the letter
to him," came the reply.
"First I went to my mother, to
break the news to her. She
heard me through to the end,
and the she told me she was
not my real mother. During
the horrors of the war she had
adopted me, to rescue me
from the Holocaust, and my
real parents were two Jews
who were taken off to a death
camp. She produced faded and
tattered documents which at-
tested to the truth of her
story?'
The wedding took place,
with full Jewish ceremony
and without any need for
conversion.
Surely, real life in Israel is
more fascinating and more
exciting than any works of
fiction.

Bonds Net
$77 Million

New York (JTA) — A record
$77 million was raised at the
annual State of Israel Bonds
dinner
Sixteen prominent Jewish
fund-raisers were honored
with the organization's Israel
40th Anniversary Gold Medal
for their "distinguished
achievements in efforts for
Israel, in business, philan-
thropy and the community at
large?'

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