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September 16, 1988 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-09-16

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

I OPINION I

1:3A tri
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0

Humanism

Continued from Page 7

as the smaller minority who
seek to be sincere Orthodox
Jews.
We need a definition that
tells the truth about the
Jewish people and enables
Jews to be honest about who
they are and what they are.
And once we have arrived
at this definition through
public discussion on an inter-
national level, we need to
speak loud and clear with one
voice to the Jewish world. It
may be the case that our pro-
clamation will be welcomed
by thousands of Jews who
have been uncomfortable
with the traditional monopo-
ly of official definitions.
The resolution approved
by the International Ex-
ecutive of the Federation to be
presented for discussion,
amendment, and approval by
the Brussels conference,
states:
"Who is a Jew? After
more than 30 centuries Jews
continue to debate this
question.
"This debate is no
academic exercise. At stake is
the integrity of millions of
Jews who do not find their
Jewish identity in religious
belief or religious practice,
but who discover their
Jewishness in the national
experience of the Jewish peo-
ple. At stake, also, is the
Jewish identity of thousands
of men and women, in Israel
and in the Diaspora, who
want to be Jewish, but who
are rejected by the narrow
legalism of traditional
authorities.
"We, the members of the
International Federation of
Secular Humanistic Jews,
believe that the survival of
the Jewish people depends on
a more generous view of
Jewish identity than tradi-
tional religion allows. We

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Continued from Page 6

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"Therefore - in response to
the cruel and self-destructive
definition of the Jew now pro-
claimed by the Orthodox
authorities - and in the name
of the historic experience of
the Jewish people - we affirm
that a Jew is a person of
Jewish descent, or any person
who declares himself to be a
Jew and who identifies with
the history, civilization, com-
munity and fate of the Jewish
people."

■■•■••■••■ ••••1 LETTERS I

get

LU

welcome into the Jewish peo-
ple all men and women who
sincerely desire to share the
Jewish fate, regardless of
their maternal ancestry and
regardless of their religious
beliefs. We challenge the
assumption that the Jews are
primarily a religious com-
munity and that certain
religious convictions and
behavior are essential to full
membership in the Jewish
people.
"On the contrary, the
Jewish people began as a na-
tion, a nation with many
diverse and opposing beliefs
and personal convictions. It
evolved into an international
people, with a culture and
civilization all its own.
Judaism, as the national
culture of the Jews, is more
than theological commit-
ment. It is language, a vast
body of literature, historical
memories and ethical values.
It is a treasure house of many
options.
"We Jews have a moral
responsibility to embrace all
people who seek to identify
with our culture and destiny.
Will the children and spouses
of intermarriage, who desire
to be part of the Jewish peo-
ple be cast aside because they
do not have Jewish mothers
and do not wish to undergo
conversion?

at the trial, I changed my
story in order to testify that
the card was a forgery.
I have reviewed the
videotape of my presentation
at the conference to which Mr.
Sher refers, the October 1987
meeting of the Southwestern
Association of Forensic Docu-
ment Examiners (SWAFDE).
At that time I had already
concluded based on testing,
that the key prosecution
evidence against Demjanjuk,
the Trawnicki I.D. card, was
a KGB forgery. In fact, I was
already scheduled to be a
witness for the defense.
The SWAFDE meeting was
organized by forensic
documents examiner George
Throckmorton and myself to

show other experts how easy
it is to be fooled by a forger of
historical documents, based
on our involvement in the
"White Salamander" murder
trial in Salt Lake City. We
had spent a year researching
how the suspect, Mark Hof-
mann, used genuine inks and
papers to forge historical
documents so successfully
that a dozen world-renowned
experts had declared them
authentic, 150-year-old Mor-
mon documens.
At the SWAFDE meeting, I
gave an extemporaneous, 13.5
minute account of the Hof-
mann trial, at the conclusion
of which I made the comment
to which Mr. Sher refers:
"Had I not been involved in

c-J

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