FRONTLI N ES
Detroit gave much to Leonard Schwartz,
and he was able to give something back.
The Ebsteins fought the right fights,
but ultimately moved to the suburbs.
Supermarket maven Marvin Biltis
takes the helm at Farmer Jack.
Shamir meets with religious leaders to discuss "Who is a Jew": "A central key to our own Jewish definition."
Clarifying The Law Of Return
Will Advance Jewish Unity
RABBI MENACHEM PORUSH
ttorney Schwartz invites account-
ant Bloom to lunch. He knows
that Bloom is observant of the
dietary laws, and so he makes sure to
choose a venue that permits his colleague
to accept his invitation comfortably.
In short Schwartz is a mentsh. He is
considerate of Bloom's feelings. He doesn't
rant and rail about how he was coerced in-
to a stifling experience due to Bloom's
narrow-minded obsessions, and he doesn't
threaten to boycott the accountant.
If societies recognized this simple rule
of interpersonal relationships, there would
be no misunderstanding today regarding
the correction in the Law of Return that the
new Knesset has every intention of adopt-
ing very soon.
We proponents of this vital change are
not looking for a fight with large numbers
of our Diaspora brothers and sisters. We
love all Jews deeply. Our efforts are aimed
precisely at ensuring a core unity amongst
our scattered remnants by insisting that a
single standard be operational in the
Jewish State, and not several standards, a
recipe for instant disunity.
Every rational person recognizes that
a sovereign state has the obligation of
defining that most fundamental criterion,
`who is a citizen?' according to some
uniform set of regulations and
characteristics. What confusion would
prevail if the American embassy in Rome
would issue citizenship papers and a
passport to a baby born there of two U.S.
parents, while the embassy in Paris were
Rabbi Menachem Porush is a leader of the
Agudat Israel Party.
to grant the same documentation to anyone
whould could recite the Pledge of Alegiance
by heart and who knew who the first presi-
dent had been.
Make no mistake, Israel already has its
standard. The Law of Return, which grants
automatic Israeli citizenship to any Jew
who so desires that status, is a wonderful
statement of Israel's function (as a refuge
for all her potential citizens) and fate (as
a Jewish light unto the nations). It also
demands, however, that we define that
emotive term, 'who is a Jew' for the law to
make any sense.
The Knesset — not some claque of
white-bearded rabbis such as myself — has
declared that amongst other critria, a Jew
is someone born of a Jewish mother. When
the Reform movement declared by fiat that
a Jew is also a person born of a Jewish
father, as it did a few years ago, it is they
who have consciously challenged not only
millenia-old and proven standards, but also
the legislative body of the state of Israel.
That is certainly their prerogative to
do, but it is nothing short of chutzpa to
criticize us for simply fine-tuning our law
when it is they who have raced beyond the
pale of normative Judaism in adopting
standards that would make Attorney
Schwartz blush in shame.
I love and respect all Jews, and I believe
in my heart that my 30 years of service in
the Knesset has contributed in some to our
accomplishments to date. I am deeply
troubled by the bitterness engendered by
this issue in the Diaspora.
Amending the Law of Return to include
Jews who are converted in a traditionally
acceptable manner is a peculiar issue with
tremendous potential for damage. On most
Continued on Page 11
Family fun for celebrating
the ancient miracle of Chanukah.
John Conyers is known for many
things, but not as a friend to Israel.
the best way
"Chanukah Dreidel" by Israeli artist
Michel Schwartz, courtesy of
Life In Israel
December 2, 1988 4:43 p.m.
Sabbath ends Dec. 3: 5:47 p.m.
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS