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March 31, 1989 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-03-31

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

I MEDIA MONITOR

Are Bar Mitzvahs
Tax Deductible?

ARTHUR J. MAGIDA

Assistant Editor

W

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AAAERICAN
CANCER
SOCIETY

i•

riters at The Atlan-
tic are not an easy
lot to impress, but
the magazine's managing
editor admits in the current
issue that while recently
perusing volumes of Tax
Court Reports he was "most
impressed" by "the in-
domitability of the human
spirit. lb be sure, many of the
cases in these volumes in-
volve faceless conglomerates
arguing over such things as
depletion allowances and in-
vestment tax credits, but the
cases that really stand out in-
volve private citizens who
have decided to stand up for
what they believe to be their
rights, and who in most cases
haven't got a prayer."
One of those petitioners to
the United States Tax Court,
which hears appeals regar-
ding decisions of the Internal
Revenue Service, was so-
meone who should have been
familiar with prayer — a
Philadelphia rabbi named Ar-
nold H. Feldman. A few years
ago, Feldman and his wife,
Carole, invited all 725
families of their synagogue
Congregation Shaare Sha-
mayim, to the bar mitzvah of
their son, David. They then
deducted as a business ex-
pense the entire cost of the
reception.
The Feldmans argued,
reported The Atlantic's Cullen
Murphy in an article on the
tax court, "that while the bar
mitzvah of a lawyer's son
might be a purely social
event, the bar mitzvah of a
rabbi's son 'is an integral part
of [the rabbi's] professional ac-
tivities? It was further noted
that dung the reception cer-
tain people had been ap-
proached and persuaded to
contribute money for 30 new
stained-glass windows in the
synagogue's sanctuary."
While rejecting the
Feldmans' appeal, Tax Court
Judge Herbert L. Chabot
stated, that he did "not pro-
pose to set down a general
rule . . . that one can never
convert a basic life-cycle fami-
ly celebration into a business
expense."

A Call For
A New Zionism

The writings of Leonard
Fein, the founder and long-
time editor of Moment
magazine have been absent
from the monthly since he
sold it 'to its current

editor/publisher, Hershel
Shanks, a few years ago. But
Fein returns to Moment's
pages in its April issue — and
is promptly scolded by
Shanks.
In an article entitled, "A
New Zionism," Fein states
that it is time American Jews
lowered Israel from the high
pedestal on which they have
placed it. This elevation of

Leonard Fein:
Time for a "new Zionism?"

Israel, he said, has protected
Israel from honest, "mature"
criticism from U.S. Jewry. In
turn, says Fein, this has made
Israelis contemptuous of
American Jews. "Whether
arising out of classic Jewish
self-hate," he writes, "or from
some other sources, Israelis
believe themselves to be
unlovable; hence, they cannot
respect those who love them,
. . . cannot respect a love that
appears to them as mindless
as it is intense [as U.S. Jews'
toward Israel]."
This endorsement of
anything Israeli, said Fein,
such as its 1982 invasion of
Lebanon, has estranged
many American Jews. Worse,
he said, it risks the complete
alienation from Israel of the
next generation of U.S. Jews.
Fein proposed three cor-
nerstones of a new Israeli-
Diaspora relationship:
• Assure that all American
Jewish children learn
Hebrew.
• Undertake joint social
projects together.
• "Call things by their
rightful names."
In his monthly column,
Shanks called Fein's pro-
posals "simplistic" and his
analysis "fallacious." Mo-
ment's current editor mar-
shals data to illustrate that
American Jews' support for

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