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August 11, 1989 - Image 40

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-08-11

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

PURELY COMMENTARY

Misconceptions

Continued from Page 2

ed upon are the right of
every individual to hold of-
fice and the right of free
speech.
Insofar as holding of of-
fice is concerned, there are
obvious limitations. An in-
dividual who would have
liked to be a judge within
the community could not
say "I want to be a judge,"
and run for that office. In
ancestral times, the in-
dividual who desired to
serve in such capacity
would have had to show
competence in Jewish law
before being eligible for the
position. Appointments to
this position were based on
merit rather than on
popularity.
Once individuals became
members of the Sanhedrin
(Rabbinic Court), they took
part on an equal footing in
the deliberations of the
court. For capital cases the
court, comprised of
twenty-three judges, work-
ed on the basis of a majori-
ty vote — specifically, a ma-
jority plus one, or thirteen.
Thirteen votes were re-
quired for conviction in a
capital case. The defendant
would be declared guilty,
and the appropriate penal-
ty was meted out.
A king was not elected;
he was either appointed or
assumed the throne as the
next in line in the dynasty.
Prophets were not elected;
they attained their position
within the community bas-
ed on personal merit, as
judged by God.
Insofar as freedom of
speech is concerned, in-
dividuals within the
Judaic theorcracy were
prohibited from uttering
statements that were either
blasphemous or insurrec-
tionist. Aside from this,
any speech that was in-
sulting, degrading, deceit-
ful, or irresponsbile was
prohibited. This is as true
today as it was then, except
that it is impossible to en-
force .. .

The variety of subjects
analyzed by Rabbi Bulka is
seen in the very nature of the
factualism tackled by the
author. He deals with the
special events involving
festivals and family obliga-
tions. Included are conver-
sions, foods, personal and
communal relations.
As an indication of the
variety of matters relating to
women and their functions
there is this admonition
against misconceptions en-
titled "Mother's Milk"
disproving that it is "dairy":
Milk from cows is con-
sidered dairy, but mother's

40

FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 1989

milk is actually neutral, or
pareve (neither meat nor
dairy.) A mother who has
fed a young child some
meat need not wait before
nursing that child. There is
absolutely no considera-
tion that this is a mixture
of meat and milk, and
there would be no reason
to make such separation
even as a matter of educa-
tion for the child. Meat
must be separated from
cow's milk; meat and
mother's milk go together.
Likewise, an adult who
for whatever reason drinks
mother's milk need not
wait the usual time interval
before eating meat.
There is a multiplication of
most illuminating explana-
tions of Jewish concepts in
this excellently researched
volume. -
The hundreds of essays pro-
vide an education in ac-
cumulated Jewish values.
In What You Thought You
Knew About Judaism Rabbi
Bulka accumulated
knowledge that will be
welcomed as a thrillingly
enriching contribution to
Jewish scholarship.

Ecumenism

Continued from Page 2

in unfamiliar lands where
they were complete
strangers, always at the
mercy of other nations.
Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak has said
the Palestinian demand for
the "right of return" is
totally unrealistic, and
would have to be solved by
means of financial com-
pensation and resettlement
in Arab countries. He said
the superpowers and the
Arab world would have to
bear the cost of solving the
refugee problem. He is
right.
It is in such a relationship
that the status of Jews in
Arab countries should not be
kept a secret. There was a
spontaneity in Arab persecu-
tions of Jews that marked ex-
pulsions, confiscation of pro-
perties and possessions of
Jews in their lands, in what
could be termed a total an-
nihilative act. In the Flacks'
studies is included a chart of
the estimated Jewish popula-
tions in Arab lands.
While the study under con-
sideration was of the
ecumenism in the Christian-
Jewish relations and the em-
phasis on the Zionist aspects,
the totality of the issues
results in consideration of the
entire current Middle East
concerns. The facts provided

assist in clarification of other-
wise muddied issues.
Therefore the ZOA-published
documentary merits
acknowledgement as a pro-
perly introduced argument in
the Arab-Jewish disputes.



Chazanut And
Memories

T

here is a continuing
record of Detroiters
with ambitions to
write and to publish. Some
have attained high marks in
recognition accorded them. It
is certainly unnecessary to
' repeat that chief among all of
them was Prof. Richard
Ellmann.
Among the earliest with
ambitions was Jacob
Schkolnick, the elder of the
Schkolnick family. He was
creator of the family's men's
clothing business that started
on Hastings Street. Jacob
Schkolnick had mastered
English. He wrote his life
story and his tough luck was
the lack of a publisher. The
grandchildren undoubtedly
have preserved his
manuscript.
My most regrettable ex-
perience was with a novel
dealing with the life of the
Prophet Isaiah. Abe Kaplan,
who was editor of the Detroit
Jewish Chronicle for a few
brief months, let me read it
and I urged the Jewish
Publication Society to publish
it. It was a high-styled
literary work and the failure
to get it publisihed was a
source of deep regret.
Hopefully it was not
destroyed.
Abe Kaplan was a very
devout man and his relative,
Judge Harry B. Keidan,
helped him get placed on the
Wayne county staff with
assurances he would always
be able to observe the Sab-
bath. His Friday workday
ended at noon to enable him
to prepare for the early
synagogue service on Erev
Shabbat. He was always ex-
cused for Holy Days and
holidays and he gave up his
vacations to assure such
cooperation.
At the moment, two new
Detroit products have • ap-
peared. One is about Hazanut
-- synagogue cantors, by
Mark Slobin, who has earned
academic acclaim as an
authority on Jewish folklore
and popular Yiddish songs
and now on the subject of the
chazan. The second is a sim-
ple story worth calling atten-
tion to because they are an
immigrant's memories trans-
lated from the Yiddish.
From Tuteres in Bukovina
to Rivington Street on the

east side of New York, then
from a ladies' waist-making
shop to a farm near Detroit —
that's the story Sam Geltner
made available in an English
translation.
Because he wrote it 30
years ago in Yiddish, it has a
special interest for his fami -
ly and friends in this
community.
There is action galore in a
tale the family would not per-
mit to be lost in the Yiddish
of the author.
Because the Detroit Yid-
dishist was able to transmit
his tale in a dramatic fashion,
it has an interest for students
of immigration problems.
There was action when he
was in the restaurant on Riv-
ington Street on the day of his
arrival in this country. Then
there were the actions in the
ladies' shirtmaking and the
strike, as well as the union
organizing. The farm life also
is depicted.

Because he wrote
it 30 years ago in
Yiddish, it has a
special interest for
his family and
friends in this
community.

His wife, Rose Geltner,
made it a duty to have the
book translated and printed.
Anita Abraham translated
the story into a readable book
and Charles Firke assisted in
its editing.
Most compelling in tackling
the most immediate literary
works by Detroiters is the
story of chazanut, the highly
commendable Chosen Voices
— The Story of the American
Cantorate by Mark Slobin,
son of Mr. and Mrs. Norval
Slobin of Southfield.
This is high class literature,
comparable to Slobin's earlier
literary achievement, Tene-
ment Songs — Popular Music
of the Jewish Immigrant. The
latter was widely acclaimed
as a work of high scholarly
research. The current work
just issued by the University
of Illinois Press, will be a
highlight at the next Jewish
Book Fair. Author Slobin,
who is a professor of music at
Wesleyan University, has con-
ducted high scholarly
research about the cantorate.
The current work about the
cantorate gives an account of
the professions, its
significance in the synagogue
and religious services. They
are the Shlichim Tzibur who
inspired the worshippers.
There has been neglect in
depicting the roles of musical
interpreters of prayer. Slobin
gives a historical account of

the centuries when the cantor
shared with rabbis by inspir-
ing faith and making prayer
an elevating factor in life.

To Teach
Children Of Life

A

re there limitations to
the writing of stories
for children?
Should they be only the
happy, the hilarious, the
legendary, the fictional?
Should there be an
avoidance of knowledge about
the problematic?
Should they be kept in ig-
norance when Alzheimers
strikes an elderly person in a
story?
As publishers of children's
illustrated books, Kar-Ben
Copies have made available
scores of stories about Jewish
festivals and experiences. In
the latest, entitled Grand-
ma's Soup, Nancy Karkowsky
introduces the young readers
to a Jewish family and their
traditional meals.
Then comes a moment of
sadness. Grandma, who was
always the marvelous cook
and wonderful hostess, sud-
denly indicates forgetfulness.
Her memory fails her; she
doesn't recognize her grand-
daughter; she had spoiled the
soup.
The evidence of a decline is
one of deep sadness.
This proves that in selec-
ting reading material for
children even the very young
need explanatory guidance.
Meanwhile, Grandma's Soup
serves the purpose in the well
written Krakowsky book, pro-
perly illustrated by Shelly 0.
Haas. ❑

I NEWS I

Program To Air
Despite Protest

New York (JTA) — Despite
a storm of protests and
criticism, plans to air the
Public Broadcasting Service's
controversial documentary
"Days of Rage: The Young
Palestinians" continue, and
programming that will frame
the film is now under
production.
The PBS affiliate in New
York, WNET-TV, last week
taped a panel discussion,
which will be edited and
presented after "Days of
Rage." Crews from WNET are
also in Israel, shooting
footage for additional pro-
gramming to be shown both
before and after the film.
The estimated cost of the
"wraparound" programming
for "Days of Rage" is
$150,000,

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