In Every Generation
This Wednesday evening, the questions will come, all four of them:
Queries about the holiday being celebrated, about its symbols and
their meaning. And then will come an entire evening devoted to ex-
plaining the mysteries and the portents of Passover, the holiday of
liberation, the religious holiday celebrated more than any other by
Perhaps no other Jewish holiday is as fully and as patiently —
and as faithfully — explained as Passover. Every generation passes
on its own traditions about the holiday. And this is as it should be.
The Haggadah instructs us to tell the next generation about the Ex-
odus, for the freedom of the ancient Israelites is also the freedom
of today's Jews. Without that hurried exit from Egypt, Jews might
still be, in some sense, in thrall and bondage.
In reality, some Jews still are: The Jews of Iran, who emigrate
with skill — and luck; the Jews of Arab nations like Syria, where
many live in fear; the Jews of Central America, where many live
surreptitiously; and, still, the Jews - of the Soviet Union.
As some Jews await their freedom, we celebrate ours and pray
for theirs. At Passover, we must not only express our gratitude, but
our commitment to help our fellow Jews in need.
One lesson of Passover is to focus on the basics in life, devotion
to family and Jewish traditions, and to discard the excesses that sur-
round us, symbolized by the chametz, or leavening, of materialism.
We must channel our passions for good so that, once joined to
our faith, they will liberate not only ourselves but those around us.
In that way our feats will be heard of by future generations as they,
too, sit down to celebrate the seder.
Centers in Oak Park and West Bloomfield and at United Hebrew
Schools' headquarters in Southfield. Non-perishable foods left at
these locations on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will be distributed
by the Hunger Action Coalition.
The project has received the endorsement of the Council of Or-
thodox Rabbis of Greater Detroit and Conservative and Reform rab-
binical groups in the area. Of course, donations are not limited to
the observant. All contributions of non-perishable foods will be
The Jewish Community Council should be lauded for this effort
to fulfill two mitzvot: preparing the home for the festival of Passover
and helping our fellow man.
The books have yet to be closed on the 1989 Allied Jewish Cam-
paign, yet Detroiters are being asked to dig deep into their wallets
The 60-day emergency appeal for $2.5 million to resettle Soviet
Jews is a daring commitment — and risk — for Detroit:s Jewish
leadership. Detroit's "Passage To Freedom" campaign comes or the
heels of the most successful Allied Jewish Campaign in history.
Volunteers and contributors might resent the timing, but there is
little choice. The stakes are high.
The Soviet government did not ask world Jewry when it wanted
to accept 40,000 Jews. We have shouted for decades to let our people
go, to let them escape the shackles, anti-Semitism and discrimina-
tion of the Soviet Union. Should we now ask the Soviets to keep our
brethren, to close the gates again?
Let no one ask in 40 years: "What did our community do when
the Soviets opened the gates?" We pledged after the Holocaust,
Now is not the time to wrangle over priorities, destinations or
the Jewish attachment of the refugees. Now is the time to get them
Gift Of Chametz
All who are hungry, let them come and eat.
These ancient words of the seder take on new meaning this holi-
day season. The Chametz Project sponsored by the Jewish Communi-
ty Council gives observant Detroiters an opportunity to fulfill the
words of the Passover Haggadah in a meaningful way.
As explained in the feature article in this week's L'Chayim sec-
tion, Jews who either dispose of or symbolically sell their chametz
— leavened foodstuffs — before the Passover holiday can donate the
food to the poor.
Drop-off points will be established at the Jewish Community
FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 1989
The Shamir Shuffle
Israeli Prime Minister Shamir's trip to Washington had been
portrayed as a "showdown" by some in the media, but his meetings
with the Bush administration went about as well as they could have,
given that the United States and Israel disagree on some fundamen-
tal issues regarding the Middle East peace process.
The administration portrayed the meeting in a positive fashion,
welcoming Israel's "new" proposal to push the peace process forward.
In fact, Shamir's plan to allow the Palestinians to elect a leader-
ship that would negotiate some form of self-rule under Israeli authori-
ty was not new, but was treated as such by Secretary of State Baker.
All sides can point to gains. Shamir had hoped to appear
cooperative on this visit, which he did, without giving away the store,
which he didn't. Palestinian leaders were pleased with President
Bush's statement that he opposes "Israeli sovereignty over, or per-
manent occupation of, the West Bank and Gaza." And the United
States was happy to be back in the middle as broker between the
Arabs and Israelis.
The hard truth is that none of the principals seem to be in any
great hurry to move the process along. Everyone knows there is lit-
tle flexibility or chance for meaningful negotiation, but there is a
perception of movement and that seems to be most important.
Secretary Baker has his work cut out for him. Israel's call for
elections is contingent on the intifada first coming to an end; the
Palestinians have made clear that they will not end the violence until
Israel enters into negotiations. The most reasonable approach is for
the United States to continue its plan to create a new atmosphere
of progress based on small, positive steps from both sides.
Meanwhile, Yitzhak Shamir returns home from the lion's den
steadfast in his refusal to trade land for peace or to talk to the
Palestine Liberation Organization. He has proven once again that
he is more often underestimated than outmaneuvered.