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July 01, 1988 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-07-01

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

I OPINION I

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Commitment

Continued from Page 7

am involved daily with
Reform Jews whose commit-
ment to Israel is
demonstrated on every level.
Although we offer numerous
program opportunities and
travel alternatives, many of
my congregants have visited
Israel on missions sponsored
by the Jewish Welfare Federa-
tion and other organizations.
We are proud of those
members of our temple who
every year serve in leadership
positions throughout our com-
munity. In their service to the
Jewish people, they are not
always identified as Reform
Jews. They are Jews, whose
religious identification is
Reform, committed to Israel
and the Jewish community.
When I shared my response
with Professor Cohen, he in-
dicated that on an individual
congregational basis, leader-
ship is the issue. If we accept
the data, perhaps we can sug-
gest that programs and
philosophy of national leader-
ship need to be translated
with greater efficiency to a
congregational level.
As Professor Cohen in-
dicates, we also must
recognize that there are areas
of conflict that cause dissen-
sion. He observes that, "more
than any other denomination,
Reform Jews in the sample
reported the largest degree of
antipathy to Israeli Or-
thodoxy . . . The image of a
more Orthodox Israel has had
opposite effects on Orthodox
and Reform Jews."
In Jerusalem several weeks
ago I visited my uncle's grave.
Rabbi Morton Berman was a

Reform rabbi who made
aliyah. His life was dedicated
to Israel. In an international
incident, a wall was built
around his grave by ultra-
Orthodox Jews who did not
want to have a Reform rabbi
buried near their sages and
family members on the
Mount of Olives. As I stood
with my aunt by his grave, I
could not help but feel a deep
sadness. How tragic when
Jews treat each other with
contempt.
Liberal Jews are sensitive
to the issue of he need for an
Israel that is religiously
pluralistic. Although we do
not and should not support
those areas of Israeli society
that denegrate our presence,
we also must be responsive to
the idea that a strong Israel
is vital. Each time the Law of
Return is brought to the
Knesset, every Reform and
non-Orthodox Jew feels the
attack.
Reform Jews will continue
to identify strongly with
those areas of Israeli society
that are most compatible.
"We are one" still defines my
response to Israel. However,
being "one" does not mean be-
ing silent on issues of great
concern.
Our recent trip concluded in
Jerusalem at an absorption
center. In the nursery were
children from Ethiopia, the
Soviet Union, America and
South Africa. More Jews of
every religious persuasion
need such visits. As Reform
Jews, if we are percentage
points behind, the task is
simply a greater challenge.

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14

FRIDAY, JULY 1, 1988

Vienna (JTA) — Pope John
Paul II, on a five day pastoral
visit to Austria, has angered
Jews, aggravating deep re-
sentment over his meeting
with President Kurt Wald-
heim by referring to Austria
as a "victim" of Nazism,
rather than the collaborator
it was.
He further shocked and in-
censed Jews by omitting from
remarks he made at the site
of the Mauthausen concentra-
tion camp last week any ref-
erence to Jewish suffering in
the Holocaust.
"The only Jew he mentions
who suffered is Jesus Christ,
and he did not suffer at
Mauthausen," Austrian Chief
Rabbi Paul Eisenberg re-
marked in a radio interview
here.
At Mauthausen, where he

conducted a solemn mass, the
pope decried "the lunatic
ideology which set into
motion a whole machinery of
contempt and hatred of
others. They tortured their
victims, broke their bones,
cruelly abused their bodies
and their souls."
The next day, speaking to
80,000 people at a prayer ser-
vice in Lorch, near the
Czechoslovakian border, the
pope said, "Not far from here
is Mauthausen, where Chris-
tians, Jews and others were
persecuted for many reasons,
including their religion."
Elan Steinberg, executive
director of the World Jewish
Congress, declared in a state-
ment, "The failure of Pope
John Paul to make any speci-
fic reference to the suffering
of the Jews while visiting the

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