Taking A Stand
The nearly 3,000 persons representing more than 800 Jewish
communities at last week's Council of Jewish Federation's General
Assembly focused considerable time and attention formulating
responses to the proposed change in the definition of who is a Jew
in Israel's Law of Return.
High-level delegations departed for meetings with Prime
Minister Yitzhak Shamir. Resolutions contained uncharacteristically
strong language. Petitions, claiming the proposed amendment, if
passed, "will tarnish the image of Israel as it assigns millions of
us to an inferior status which we do not deserve and will not accept
— certainly from any temporal body" were circulated.
Clearly, as past CJF President Shoshana Cardin told those at-
tending, this issue may be the most divisive world Jewry has faced
While no formal action was taken against those religious par-
ties and organizations pushing for the amendment in their bargain-
ing with Shamir, informally, Generally Assembly participants were
vowing to withhold support from Orthodox institutions in their com-
munities that advocated the amendment. In particular, the Lubavitch
movement was singled out for its support of the amendment. Other
Orthodox groups, including the Rabbinical Council of America, have
opposed the amendment on the grounds that this is a religious rather
than a political issue and should not be determined by the Knesset.
In Detroit, Lubavitch leaders have offered many important in-
sights and observations — off the record — about their position on
the amendment. However, they have declined to have their full view-
points presented, under their own names and the name of their
organization, in the columns of this newspaper.
We invite them to inform our readers now, while the debate rages,
of their positions regarding amending the Law of Return in the
Knesset and encourage those in our community seeking additional
information to contact Lubavitch leaders directly.
sumed, quite naively, that what happened outside a nondescript Book
Depository Building in a major Southern city was the sort of thing
that happened only in Balkanized nations with names that rolled
with great difficulty off the tongue.
It is easy to mythologize John Kennedy: He was handsome, wit-
ty, articulate. He brought a new glamor to a somnolent White House.
He had two sweet children and a charming wife. But, alas, he did
not have a charmed life. He could arouse the nation, but he could
not, in the end, save himself.
But Kennedy did manage to transform, however briefly, the Oval
Office into the "bully pulpit" championed by Teddy Roosevelt. He
gave the nation, especially its youth, an invigorated purpose and
idealism. Down that deep abyss opened by Kennedy's death went
much of that idealism. The Peace Corps — Kennedy's dream — still
lives, but its ethic of service has largely been subsumed by that self-
centered crew known as "Yuppies." Kennedy's successors in the
White House have proven to be largely uninspiring. And America
itself is no longer the great colossus; not with the Japanese breathing
down our necks economically and the homeless in our streets sham-
ing us morally.
For many Americans, no matter how old, their youth ended with
the Kennedy assassination. The world never again seemed to have
so much potential or opportunity, so much pizazz. In his personal
life and in some of his international policies, Kennedy brought a
recklessness that may not have befitted his office. But there is little
denying that he also brought a vitality — and an ability to inspire
— that the nation has not seen since. And that it sorely lacks.
25 Years Later
As nations go, a quarter century is not much time. But during
the 25 years since the fateful November of 1963, America has
changed so much that it can be said to little resemble its former
self. With the assassination of John Kennedy in Dallas, the nation
was more than traumatized. It was derailed.
The events in Dallas made Americans look into the soul of their
nation. What they found they generally did not like — the violence,
the hatred, the pent-up furies of a nation that had for too long as-
In regad to your article by
Heidi Press on the different
programs in the Detroit area
for the learning disabled
(Nov. 4), I was saddened by
the exclusion of P'tach. This
year we celebrate our 10th
year of existence.
We have grown to a full day
program of both Judaica and
secular studies. For the boys'
program, which is hosted by
Yeshivath Beth Yehudah, we
offer a program through
grade 8. In the Sally Allen
Alexander-Beth Jacob School
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 1988
for Girls, we offer our services
to girls through the 12th
The main objective of P'tach
is to mainstream all of our
students into their proper
classrooms with their peers.
We achieve this through the
use of our resource rooms.
Our teachers are specially
trained in the area of learn-
ing disabilities to make use of
all the new and innovative
techniques to teach these
special students .. .
Michael I. Hochheiser
Chairman of the Board
P'tach Michigan Chapter
Of Painful Past
For a Holocaust survivor
like myself, the effort to
define who is a Jew is a
reminder of a painful past.
"Who is a Jew" was the first
step in the genocidal design of
The Orthodox rabbis use
bloodline to determine
Jewish heritage, another
variant of the "biological"
definition of who is a Jew. The
contemplated revision of the
Law of Return would be deep-
ly divisive, according to Mor-
ris B. Abram, chairman of the
Conference of Presidents of
Major American Jewish
For me it would also have a
practical implication. It
would divide my family. I
have three children, two
daughters in their 30s, whose
mother is Jewish, and a
17-year-old son, David, whose
mother is not of Jewish
Neither my parents nor I
have ever been religious. In
order for David to be a Jew
under Orthodox rabbinical
definition, my wife and I
would have to become Or-
thodox Jews. For us to do so
would require an act of decep-
tion. We would have to pre-
dent to be religious and Or-
thodox — another remem-
Continued on Page 12
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