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September 01, 1989 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-09-01

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End Of Innocence

fifty years ago today, Europe and, eventually, the entire planet,
was plunged into an event of such proportions, of such terror,
of such tragedy that our lives have not been the same since.
On Sept. 1, 1939, the Germany of Adolf Hitler invaded Poland. Two
days later, France and England — the latter after years of hopeful
appeasement with the Nazis — entered the conflict. World War II
would not end for another six years, a time in which the
unimaginable became real and the real became a staggering,
unbelievable nightmare.
By 1945, 50 million people would be killed; in Russia alone, 15
million, half of them civilians, would die. In the death camps of the
Third Reich, about 10 million people would be slaughtered, including
six million Jews, 67 percent of the Jewish population of Europe.
Geopolitical alliances would be created that would prove altogether
temporary and illusory once the war ended. And the entire strug-
gle would culminate in a new age, one that started in Los Alamos,
was tested at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and held out the possibility
of being even more fearful than what had just preceded it: the Atomic
For the Jewish people, with a long history of tragedy, this was
the most painful, not only in its scope but in the fact that while Hitler
and his countrymen set out to destroy the entire Jewish people, the
rest of the world shrugged its shoulders. This was a lesson not lost
on the Jewish people, and has been reflected in the stubborn strength
of the State of Israel.
Among the casualties of the war were our basic perception of
human nature and the notion that advances in technology parallel-
ed growth in human advancement. The architects of Dachau and
Auschwitz were not lunatics or primitives. They were the dutiful sons
and daughters of one of the most "civilized" nations on earth, a coun-
try that had produced Hegel and Einstein and Goethe. But Germany
used its technology for destruction, to create efficient methods of
murdering innocent men, women and children in gas chambers.
Germany's legacy to us now, in a world grown more cynical, is
of the human possibilities of unfathomable savagery. And now, 50
years after the beginning of a war that certainly did not end all wars,
we mourn. We mourn for the six million murdered Jews and for all
others who perished in the path of evil.
But we also mourn for ourselves, for our knowledge that humans
have the ineluctable power to extinguish the stars as well as reach
out to them, that human nature is not what we once thought it was,
that brutishness is as much a part, maybe even more of a part, of
our species as a yearning for peace or elegance or or harmony.
And so, on this day, a half century later, we remember and we

dards that have been expected of PBS.
PBS knew it was sitting on a powder keg with "Days of Rage."
It has tried to defuse it by embracing the film in a "wraparound."
But a seven-minute film about Israel's need for territorial security
and a 12-minute film about Israeli anguish over the human rights
problems entailed in squelching the intifada, all followed by a
40-minute panel discussion about "Days of Rage" and the Middle
East in general, do not necessarily counter the controversial
90-minute film.
PBS has mistaken balance for refutation. "Days of Rage" is its
own best refutation. If this is the best that can be said on behalf
of the Palestinian cause, then that cause is, indeed, in very deep
Rather than shy away from controversy in the future, PBS should
consider dealing with it more directly, perhaps a weekly program
devoted to a controversial topic. An hour-long program could con-
sist of two 25-minute films that unabashedly espouse specific views,
followed by a 10-minute panel discussion of the issues. The quality
of the films would be high; the specific purpose of the evening would
be to educate, not to persuade; the length of the show would be taut,
not Olympian. And the entire program would be conceived as a whole
from the start, not gerrymandered and finessed as has been done
with the "wraparound" and other programming involving "Days of

f YoVR

So y cA N



'Days Of Rage'

A Flagrant

ext Wednesday, the Public Broadcasting Service and its local
affiliate, WTVS Channel 56, will air a film that will do great
honor to neither. "Days of Rage: The Young Palestinians"
is touted by its independent producer/director/writer Jo Franklin-
Trout as a "look into the realities that led to the rebellion;' a rebellion
otherwise known as the intifada. If that were true, both Ms. Franklin-
Trout and PBS would have something of which they could be proud.
A careful elucidation of "realities" in the Middle East is desperate-
ly needed.
Instead, what will be broadcast is nothing less than pro-
Palestinian propaganda, and bad propaganda at that. The 90-minute
film distorts history, past and present. It myopically focuses only on
Israeli hawks and doves and on Palestinian moderates. It ignores
any complicity on the part of the Arab states for the sad, often pitiful
plight of Palestinian refugees who have spent far too many years
in refugee camps. And it falls embarrassingly short of the high stan-

We are writing in response to your
article of Aug. 11 which sites a study
contending that a majority of people
who call themselves "Centrist Or-
thodox" condone pre-marital
The generally accepted definition of
an Orthodox Jew is one who believes
that both the oral and written Torah
are God given and cannot be tampered
with. One of the most fundamental
principles in Judaism is the sacred
nature of physical intimacy within the
context of marriage. Thus, for a per-
son to say he is Orthodox in one breath
and to condone pre-marital relations
in the next is a flagrant contradiction
in terms.
While it is true that Orthodox Jews,
being human, may at times err, this





does not change their essential percep-
tion of the immutable nature of Ibrah
and Halachah. When one condones a
Ibratic transgression, thus denying
that it is indeed prohibited at all, then
one has stepped beyond the pale of Or-
thodox Judaism.

Rabbi Leizer Levin
Rabbi Chaskel Grubner
Council of Orthodox Rabbis
of Greater Detroit


'flue Colors'
Was Insightful

Thank you for Elizabeth Ap-
plebaum's insightful investigative
report, "True Colors" (Aug. 18). She
was unemotional in providing per-
sonal stories about fellow Jews who
are bravely dealing with their sexual
Continued on Page 10

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