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December 02, 1988 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-12-02

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PURELY COMMENTARY

Brutal Realities

Continued from Page 2

U.N. resolution 242, which en-
dorses secure and recognized
boundaries for "every state in
the area." The PLO began with
its standard misrepresentation
of 242. It involves the missing
definite article.

The resolution calls for
withdrawal of Israel "from ter-
ritory occupied" in 1967. The
absence of "the" before the word
"territory" expresses U.S. and
Israeli insistence that 242 does
not prejudge the final disposi-
tion of the West Bank, does not
require restoration of the 1967
borders. The Algiers declara-
tion says 242 requires
withdrawal of Israel from "all
Palestinian Arab territories oc-
cupied since 1967, including
Arab Jerusalem."
More important, the PLO ap-
proves 242 only in the context of
other U.N. resolutions "relevant
to" Palestinian issues. Those
resolutions have the cumulative
effect of mandating Israel's
destruction.
They include the 1975 resolu-
tion that characterized Zionism
as racism and aimed at the de-
legitimization of Israel. They in-
clude a demand for interna-
tionalization of Israel's capital,
Jerusalem (which has never
been the capital of an Arab or a
Moselm state.) They include a
demand for return to Syria of
the Golan Heights, from which
aggression came in 1973.
They include partition plan
181 of 1947, under which Israel
was to be three semi-triangles
touching at the tips — without
the Negev, without much of
Galilee, even without the
southern outskirts of Tel Aviv.
(The Algiers declaration of an
independent Palestinian state is
based on 181, which the PLO
charter has called "entirely il-
egal regardless of the passage of
time," Israel attained its pre-1967
borders by winning the war
launched by the Arabs when
they rejected 181.)
The U.N. resolutions that
condition PLO approval of 242
include the one affirming the
"right of return" for Palesti-
nians. That would strip Israel of
an essential attribute of
sovereignty, control of
immigration.
The West's appeasement
reflex confused people to iden-
tify dangerous men like Arafat
as "moderates" who deserve en-
couragement, lest "hawks" (in
the Kremlin closet, in other
Palestinian factions) supplant
the supposedly embattled
"moderates:' So Arafat now
says: accept this plan, or "I can
always come back to our coun-
cil and declare that moderation
does not pay."
This is an urgent appeal to all
fellow Americans, especially Jews, not
to be misled into the ranks of those
determined to build a scaffold for Israel.

44

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1988

More Prejudice:
Making The U.S.
The Culprit

ordan's King Hussein, who
always gains immensely from
American benefactions, now sub-
mits to the Arafat line by charging that
the United States and Israel are respon-
sible for failures to establish peace in
the Middle East. This has been a means
in Israel's enemy quarters to continue
the scapegoating that helps them evade
blame in areas where they successful-
ly mislead, as they do now with pro-
mulgation of a ghost state.
Therefore, the need to refute the at-
tempt to place blame on the U.S. as
means of subjugating the facts. In a
New York Times Op-Ed article (Nov. 20),
"For the Mideast: A False Dawn," New
Republic Literary Editor Leon
Wieseltier wrote:
The Palestinians, who used
to behave like a people with
nothing to lose, are now behav-
ing, more and more, like a peo-
ple with something to lose. That
may mark the beginning of
politics.
The really crushing disap-
pointment was the council's
idea of its interlocutor. The
Palestinian acceptance of
Resolution 242 was addressed
not to Jerusalem, but to
Washington. The logic of Algiers
was: I will recognize the other so
that you will fight him. "The ball
is now in the American court,"
was Yasir Aafat's oddly
American comment.
The Palestine Liberation
Organization's mystical belief in
the power of the United States to
make Israeli policy is unworthy
of such a proud enemy of
imperialism.
Anyway, the occupied ter-
ritories are occupied by Israel,
not by the United States. It is
Israel that the PLO must ad-
dress. Until the PLO says, I
recognize you, rather than, I
recognize them, it will itself be
part of the reason for the abjec-
tion of its people.
This is one way of rejecting misap-
plications in the current dispute. It is
another way of advising the concerned
and those who wish to learn from infor-
mative sources that leveling guilt at the
U.S. does not erase the Arab animosity
— including Hussein's — whose major
aim is the demise of Israel. It is an aim
that will never be attained, and Hus-
sein and the miscreants Hussein is em-
bracing will never succeed.

j

"IVaveling Salesmen
In Search
Of A Synagogue

mi

embers of the Tribe (Bantam
Books) by Ze'ev Chafets ("On
the Road in Jewish America"),
referred to in this department of The
Jewish News last month, dealt with a
nearly forgotten American experience
— that of the synagogues frequented by

Rabbi Gamze

the peddler and the traveling salesman.
This American Jewish ideal has its im-
pressive counterpart in Detroit and
Chafets gave it deserved prominence.
Upon his retirement from the Israel
diplomatic service, Ze'ev Chafets return-
ed for a visit to his native city of Pon-
tiac, Mich., and Detroit was among the
communities on his pilgrimage to be
with "members of the Tribe" in Jewish
America. The Downtown Synagogue at-
tained major interest for him.
Downtown Synagogue, established
about half-a-century ago by the promi-
nent Agree family, is the pursuit of an
American tradition dating back to col-
onial times with a continuity for
travelers unto the duty assumed by the
Detroit house of worship.
The tradition for this community
enabled peddlers and later traveling
salesmen, visiting small villages and
small cities, to ask Jews they met and
especially merchants they dealt with to
assist them in organizing minyanim for
daily prayers and when they desired to
recite the Kaddish on a yahrzeit. That's
how Downtown Synagogue came into
being as an aid to the visiting salesmen.
Rabbi Noah Gamze of the
Downtown Synagogue, locatd at 1457
Griswold, emerges among the dominant
personalities among members of the
tribe assembled by traveloguer Ze'ev
Chafets. As guide of the visit to the
synagogue by author Chafets, Gamze is
both spiritual leader and organizer of
the functioning house of worship. The
participants in the services become an
interesting cast of characters, there is
a devotionalism of unusual interest
even though the size of the congrega-
tion is small. Therefore there is a sur-
vivalism that is effective although there
is a continuous struggle to keep the
synagogue active even with minimum
minyanim.
Chafets' impressions of Gamze and
the Downtown Synagogue's janitor Sam
Glass will fascinate the reader. There
is also a revelation of how such a
synagogue operates and how the rabbi
manages to secure a minyan. Here is a
Chafets' quotation explaining the in-
gathering of worshipers and their
characteristics:
The doorbell rang and Sam,
still shaking his head and mut-
tering in astonishment, went to
answer it. The afternoon mi-
nyan was beginning to arrive. It
has been increasingly difficult

to find a quorum in recent years.
This more than anything, is
what prompted Noah Gamze to
venture out into the inner city to
search for new recruits. Comb-
ing the Cass Corridor, a greasy
stretch of flop-houses not far
from Wayne State University, he
discovered several dozen down-
on-their-luck Jews.
"They don't always attend
our services, of course, but occa-
sionally some of them drop by.
They have the status of paid
guest worshipers;' Gamze told
me.
"How much do they get
paid?" I asked.
"Two bucks a shot," he said
benignly.
There were a couple guest
worshippers in the congrega-
tion that afternoon. Gamze in-
troduced me to Willie "The
Barber" Schwartz, a nonunion
man with a patch over one eye
and a suspicious glare in the
other. Curtis Dennis introduced
himself. A thin black man in his
fifties, he was dressed in a war
surplus leather bomber jacket,
work pants, and a Detroit Tigers
baseball cap. Curtis Dennis is a
convert to Judaism and a major
player in Gamze's game plan for
achieving a daily minyan.
The Chafets account tells a story
about a black convert to Judaism who
serves as an assembling assistant to
Gamze in the enrollment of worshippers
for a minyan.
That's an indication of an evolution,
from. traveling salesmen to resort to
captives who are of age to form a mi-
nyan acceptable for a service.
Perhaps this will be a caution to a
new Downtown Detroit observing group
recently formed here with the
Penobscot Building as its synagogue.
There is no limit to uniqueness in
Jewish life.

Lighting candles on Chanukah.

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