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December 09, 1988 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-12-09

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The UJA: The Dramatic Fifty Year Heartbeat


Editor Emeritus


truly historic occurrence is now
being observed in this country.
It is the 50th anniversary of the
United Jewish Appeal.
If it is judged as merely a philan-
thropy, there should be speedy correc-
tion. It is very much more and vastly
different from the tzedaka of the
hebraically charitable and philan-
thropic. It is a heartbeat.
As anniversaries go, United Jewish
Appeal is one of the numerous. The
American Jewish Committee came in-
to being with the Kishinev pogrom of
1904. The Anti-Defamation League was
organized by the B'nai B'rith during
the horrible Leo Frank tragedy in
Georgia. The UJA emerged as a unified
effort in fund raising in the year of
Kristallnacht. That's when the Joint
Distribution Committee, related causes
and the United Palestine Appeal
created a united front to come to the
rescue of Jews hounded and persecuted
by Nazism. The unity was the means of
providing for the oppressed to find

relief, to have a measure of success in
funding new homes. It was much more
than that.
It was the heartbeat of the Jewish
people. It stemmed from the heartache
caused by the inhumanity that became
a curse for mankind. It was the agony
into which the Jewish people was im-
mersed under the most despicable
tyranny while the great nations of the
world remained silent to the cry for
help. There was need for a new unity in
Jewry and the newly created United
Jewish Appeal had a desire to attain it.

In principle it was realized.
Therefore its continuity for 50 years
with the present honorable status as
the leading force for philanthropic ac-
tion in support of the Jewish statehood
is encouraged. In the totality of the
aspiration for a unified idealism the
agony and the heartbeat were marked
by the bloodstains. The people who were
to be rescued did not have an
unhampered road to freedom. In the
world ranks there was more
heartlessness than compassion. The
heartbeat was, like its heartache,
limited for Jews.




Yet, in its way UJA remains the
heartbeat that unified. It rejected
disunity; it demanded consolidation of
forces and proclamation to mankind
that the planned destruction of the
Jewish people will always meet with
disapproval and resentment.
We were not yet fully united. There

were the frightened and the panicked
who would not speak out. The UJA ad-
monished that divisiveness was
Whatever the negatives in these
recollections, it is the heartbeat that in-
spired the formation of the UJA. That's
what must encourage and demand the
continuity of such an inspired purpose
for Jewish activism.
The Detroit Jewish community was
and continues in the front ranks of the
UJA in the aim of rescuing oppressed
fellow Jews and assuring protection for
the State of Israel in the crucial eras of
ongoing threats to security.
The Detroit Allied Jewish Cam-
paign, the local adjunct of the UJA, in
an instrumental force for justice and for
the community's identification in all ef-
forts to eliminate whatever menace con-
fronts our people.
The UJA has therefore become the
militantly philanthropic symbol for
security, for state building as means of
assuring vitality for the redeemed Zion.
The three-lettered UJA is the symbol
for pride in Jewish identification attain-
ed in the unity that must be treated as
a compulsion for Jewish existence.

Elegy On Book Burning: Holocaust Genesis


ristallnacht, with its memories
of horror now accounted for by
what could be judged as a
repentant humanity, is being treated as
the genesis of the Holocaust. There
were the earlier years from the very
commencement of the Hitler curse, that
augmented the genesis. Recalling the
book burning that was engineered on
May 10, 1933, by Josef Goebbels, the
beginnings dated to the earliest periods
of the collapse of decency in what had
been treated as a civilized world.
Therefore so much more to remember
with the anger and disgust that was oc-
casioned by what was then and lasted
for many years as an indifferent
The May 10, 1933, conflagration in-
cluded the assembling by the Nazi
savages of the widely acclaimed
classical works by Sigmund Freud,
Thomas Mann, Heinrich Heine, Helen
Keller, Albert Einstein, Jack London,
Karl Marx — the creative literary
achievements by Christians as well as

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Vol. XCIV No. 15


December 9, 1988


What the Nazis did was a replica of
the crimes of the Middle Ages, the bur-
ning of the Talmud that was approved
and actually ordered by the popes dur-
ing the centuries of persecutions.
A prejudicial and, in fact, hatefully
motivated policy of Talmud burning
registers a very ugly record of many
years' duration. It could be judged as
having been responsible for the
adherence to this policy in France, Ita-
ly and neighboring lands, and in
At a time like the present, when a
positive ecumenism is growing, with
very friendly communications between
Catholics and Jews, it is distressing to
recall the saddest periods of Jewish suf-
ferings in eras of Vatican influence. But
book burning has been one of our
tragedies, even in modern times, and is
not to be condoned. What was Talmud
burning in the Dark Ages and book bur-
ning under Nazis must not be permit-
ted to become book destruction in our
time, even in the minutest forms in
schools and universities. Therefore the
need to learn the lesson for the benefit
of the generations.

It was on June 17, 1242, that copies
of the Talmud and valuable Hebrew
manuscripts were burned in Paris.
That's when Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg
wrote the elegy which is incorporated
in the Kinot, Tisha b'Av lamentations
for the Ninth of Av marking the
destruction of the Temple. In his Tisha
b'Av elegy on Talmud burning Rabbi
Meir mourned:
0 (Law) that has been con-
sumed by fire, seek the welfare
of those who mourn for you, of
those who yearn to dwell in the
court of your habitation. Of

those who gasp (as they lie) in
the dust of the earth, who grieve
and are bewildered over the
conflagration of your par-
chments. They grope in the
dark, bereft of light, indeed,
they wait (in longing) for the
daylight that will shine upon
them and upon you.
(Seek too) after the welfare of
one who sighs and weeps with
a broken heart; who bewails in-
creasingly the pangs of your
agony — And who howls like
jackals and ostriches and cries
out bitter lamentation for your
How was it that (you, 0 Law,)
given (by God), the Consuming
Fire, should be consumed by
fire of mortals, and that the
heathens were not singed
through your burning coals?
How long will you lie (resting) in
profound tranquility, 0 lover of
pleasure, while the faces of my
young ones are covered with
You sit in arrant haughtiness
to judge the sons of God in every
cause, and to bring (us) before
your tribunal. Moreover, you (0
Law,) even decreed the burning
of the edicts and the statues
(which were given) with fire,
therefore, blessed be he, who
shall requite you. 0 (my Holy
law,) was it for this that my
Creator delivered you with
lightning and fire, that at the
end fire should blaze upon your
0 Sinai, is it for this that
God, rejecting the loftier (peaks),
has chosen you, and (his glory)

has shone in your confines?
(Was that) to be an omen, that
the Law would (one day) be
humiliated and descend from its
Behold, I will tell you a
parable. The Parable is of a king
who wept at his son's wedding
feast, (for) he foresaw that he
would die, such was your fate,
foretold in your own words. 0
Sinai, instead of putting on a
(noble) mantle, cover yourself
with sackcloth, change your
garments (and) put on widow's
clothes! I will shed tears until
they swell as a stream, and
reach the graves of your two no-
ble chiefs.
And I will enquire of Moses
and Aaron, (who were) on
Mount Hor: "Is there then a new
Law, is that why they burnt your
columns?" In the third month
(Israel was exalted) and the
fourth turned conspirator to
destroy your objects of delight
and all the perfection of your
(Titus) mutilated the Tablets
of stone and even repeated his
folly by burning the Law in fire.
Is this (the fulfilment of) the dou-
ble reward. My soul is amazed —
How can ever again food be
sweet to my palate after my
beholding what your
plunderers have gathered?
Men whom you have rejected
from entering your assembly,
burnt the spoil of the Most High
in the midst of the market-
square, like (the fabric of) a con-

Continued on Page 46

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