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May 05, 1989 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-05-05

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

PURELY COMMENTARY

Saluting Israel At 41: The Book In Its Arsenal

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor Emeritus

F

rom the time redemption as
statehood was proclaimed, under
the name Israel, on May 14, 1948
— Iyar 5, 5641 — Yom Ha'atzma'ut
became a festival for world Jewry. On
the eve of this celebration, during these
approaching days, we again salute each
other with a Gut Yom Tov, with Hag
Sameach, happy festival greetings.
Yom Ha'atzma'ut 41 continues as oc-
casion to appreciate the immense ac-
complishments, the creativity of a state
reborn into a history of unforgettable
commitments and historic legacies.
The sadnesses that have been im-
posed on that Eretz Israel environment
of glory under the violent name of in-
tifada is not overlooked. It exists and is
acknowledged. The interruption in the
striving for amity is deplorable. It must
be met with the declaration that a
people whose aspirations of the milen-
nia, the prophecies of whose redemption
have acquired reality, does not submit
to terrorism and to threats of destruc-
tion. On the contrary, this redeemed
people reasserts that the aim is to reach
high human goals, uplifting the op-
pressed in Jewry and offering the
benefits of them to neighbors to be lived
with in peace and in amity.
As lessons in such aims we offer an
accounting of what has been achieved,
and we apply it as a duty to continue
the attained and to make it a sense of
glory with the pride with which it is
measured.

Forty-one years are representative
of a very brief period in our history. In
Israel they are a continuity of progress
in the striving to end homelessness, in
the creativity of our people who have
built universities, made advances in
medical research, adhered to high goals
in music, the arts, the sciences.
The people marking an anniversary
in redeemed statehood have great pride
in the knowledge that in this redeem-
ed new land hundreds of thousands,
most of them survivors from Hitlerism,
had a welcome and are now protecting
as "home." Israel continues as the
means of acquiring visas for resettle-
ment. That's how Russian Jews ac-
quired the new Israel home. That's how
Iraqi, Syrian, Iranian, Ethiopian and
Yemeni escapees from oppression can
re-establish themselves with dignity, as
Jews.

There is another symbol in the
redemption that is not to be overlook-
ed. It is "The Book" and it has attain-
ed great power in the people's existence.
It received minimal attention in a
period when people were obsessed with
"gun" and "rock." There is a biennial
Jerusalem Book Fair which by far over-
powers humanly and spiritually the
destructive weaponry. There will always
be a time to give priority to "The Book."
It is thanks to the dedicated
Detroiter, Irwin "'Baby" Holtzman, that
the ideal of it will remain superb. For
nearly two decades he has encouraged
book publishing and Hebrew writers in
Israel. He has been a factor in the
Jerusalem book fairs into which he has

drawn the participation of Wayne State
University Press and the Jewish
Publication Society, among others. He
was a factor again at the book fair in
March.
Bibliophile Toby Holtzman returns
to us from the 11th Jerusalem Book
Fair with an enthusiastic report. He at-

tended the last six of them and his ex-
periences attest to what he terms an in-
ternational emphasis stemming from
the Jerusalem municipality which
sponsors the functions under the in-
spiration of Mayor Teddy Kollek. His
report contains important data to in-
dicate how the event has grown, draw-
ing more than a thousand publishers as
participants. Therefore his report
merits total consideration when he
states:
I have been attending since
1973, The Jerusalem Interna-
tional Book Fair. I discovered
that this outstanding literary
and cultural event is by far the
single largest held in Israel,
both in length (six days) and in
terms of international visitors

doing business. It is sponsored
by the Municipality of
Jerusalem and Mayor Teddy
Kollek considers it his favorite
happening.
As a representative of the
Jewish Publication Society, I
can attest to its active booth at
the fair and a special presenta-
tion of books to President
Chaim Herzog in his library.
The book fair, a biennial
event, began in 1963 with 820
publishing houses from 22 coun-
tries and featured some 15,000
titles on display. This year the
numbers have grown to 1,000
publishing houses from 40 coun-
tries and featured some 100,000
titles.
This year's book fair includ-
ed delegations from Poland,
Hungary and Yugoslavia. Also,
Yuri Zhizin, managing director
of the Moscow Book Fair, at-
tended with three other Soviet
publishers. I was present when
an invitation was extended to
Zev Birger, director of the
Jerusalem Book Fair, to attend
the Moscow Book Fair in
September. Thus does Israel's
cultural presence in the world
extend itself.
I took Yuri Zhizin to visit
Jerusalem's largest Russian
bookstore to show the extent of
interchange of business. After
all, the Israeli publishers go to
Continued on Page 40

Walter Reuther In Weizmann Institute Archives

R

euther is a name that will
always be treated as a dominant
figure in labor unionism.
Whether for any single member of this
important family group or as a militant
family striving to unify labor's forces,
the name is inerasable from the
unionization tasks of this century. The
most dominant person in that group
was Walter Reuther, and recollections
of him by his daughter assume an im-
portant place in labor union history.
Reuther: A Daughter Strikes (WSU
Press) by Elizabeth Reuther Dickmeyer
is the story of the labor leader whose
organizational skills marked the foun-
ding of the UAW, who confronted
threats to his movement and to his very

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
(US PS 275-520) is published every Friday
with additional supplements the fourth
week of March, the fourth week of August
and the second week of November at
20300 Civic Center Drive, Southfield,
Michigan.

Second class postage paid at Southfield,
Michigan and additional mailing offices.

Postmaster: Send changes to:
DETROIT JEWISH NEWS, 20300 Civic
Center Drive, Suite 240, Southfield,
Michigan 48076

$26 per year
$33 per year out of state
60' single copy

Vol. XCV No. 10

2

FRIDAY, MAY 5, 1989

May 5, 1989

life with the courage defined in his
daughter's tributes.
With the massive material
available from her father's accumulated
records, as well as the memories of the
struggles in which the Reuthers were
involved, this biographical account
marks a most valuable enlightenment
in the history of unionization and the
war that existed in the early years of
this century between capital and labor.
The sit-down strike in the Flint auto
plants, the gangsterism that marked
many of the threats to labor, the deter-
mination with which Walter Reuther
carried on his mobilizing activities —
many unforgotten occurrences are
unveiled here giving an assurance of
eventual success.
The most eminent Americans of his
time were associated with Walter
Reuther. The list of those who visited
in his home included Eleanor Roosevelt,
John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr.
in addition to many world leaders.
Elizabeth Reuther Dickmeyer was
invited by her parents to associate with
them in a visit to Israel in 1969. The
occasion was the dedication of a chair
for the peaceful use of atomic energy at
the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot,
Israel. It was established in perpetuity
in Reuther's honor. The genesis of plans
for this honor was the fund-raising
event that marked the establishment of
the Reuther Chair at Weizmann In-

stitute. It is described as follows in the
author's report of the function:
Before our departure, the
Weizmann Institute and a
250-person international com-
mittee sponsored a fund-raising
dinner, attracting 1,500 persons.
At the dinner, Israel's Foreign
Minister Abba Eban extolled
father's contributions as a social
statesman.
Ludwig Rosenberg, presi-
dent of the German Trade Union
Federation, added: "It is not in-
cidental that this chair,
established for the advancement
of mankind has been named in
honor of Walter P. Reuther, who
has stressed the importance and
demanded the full utilization of
atomic power for economic and
scientific progress, [but] did not
weaken in suporting all ap-
propriate means to protect men
against the threat of martial use
of atomic energy."

The reported friendship that
developed with Meyer Weisgal and his
family contains an especially in-
teresting account that was related to
Elizabeth Reuther Dickmeyer by
Weisgal's wife, Shirley. It's a pity that
more is not related about Shirley
Weisgal, who possesses a sharp wit and
is a marvelous storyteller. In her talks

Walter Reuther

with Shirley, Dickmeyer reveals the
following about the Weisgals' daughter:
We flew to Tel Aviv. After
touring the city, we dined at the
home of President Meyer
Weisgal. The occasion gave
father the opportunity to meet
political and labor leaders like
Becker, Dayan and Barbour.
Weisgal's wife befriended
mother and me. Sensing our
Continued on Page 40

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