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October 27, 1989 - Image 50

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-10-27

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50

Detroit Kehillah

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27, 1989

cess of the decline of Hebrew
in. America.
Teaching Hebrew in the
Diaspora is a complicated
venture. Here I can refer very
briefly to the major
components:
• Those who do not
themselves speak Hebrew, no
matter how devoted they may
be — will find it difficult to
promote the status and the
the
of
achievements
language.
• Most schools, even those
affiliated directly by a net-
work or denomination, lack
genuine inspection — the
authority, the standard, the
time and the ability to inspect
the teachers' work and to in-
struct them.
• The majority of Hebrew
teachers in the United States
are Israelis or ex-Israelis.
This phenomenon is un-
doubtedly one of the major
causes for the closing down of
all higher institutes for
Hebrew teacher training
within the last 15 years. The
most critical problem confron-
ting these teachers crops up
from all surveys and direct
encounters with them: the
vast majority of these
teachers have not had any
training to teach Hebrew as
an additional foreign
language. Undoubtedly, this
is perhaps an important
reason for the lack of success
and achievement in all four
language skills, particularly
— speaking and writing.
I repeat the suggestion
made at the outset that the
administrators of the current
effort make a thorough study
of the experience by the New
York kehillah from
1908-1918. We are not
challenged as they were then.
We are on firmer ground and
could be considered indestruc-
tible. But the events of 70
years ago may have many
lessons for us.
The New York kehillah ex-
periment was excellently ex-
plained in the article in
Universal Jewish En-
cyclopedia by Harry Sackler,
who was among the most pro-
minent Jewish journalists in
the 1930s and 1940s. In his
earnest study of the early
kehillah, he quoted its objec-
tives, which were:
Jewish education and
the maintenance of
religious schools;
Establishment of both
permanent and temporary
synagogues (the latter ob-
viously aimed to supplant
the "mushroom
synagogue");
Arbitration, mediation
and conciliation of internal
Jewish affairs;
Maintenance of an
employment bureau;

Collation of information
and statistical matters per-
taining to Jewish life;
And, finally, cooperation
with the various
charitable, philanthropic,
educational and religious
organizations for the pro-
motion of the common
welfare.
The Detroit study is on the
road to important fact-finding
which will surely lead to
significant decisions. Much
power to the administrators of
the contemplated studies. ❑

Media Message

Continued from Page 1

— is an abomination to
human rights.
It makes a mockery of
the concept of human
rights. We must never
forget that if these modest
first steps toward elections
in the West Bank and in
Gaza are carried forward,
it will be the first time in
Arab history that free elec-
tions have been held in this
part of the world.
I am not in favor of the
occupation as a human
rights activist, but I have to
tell you — there has never
been a freer press in any
part of the Arab world
than the all too un-free
press that today exists in
the West Bank and in East
Jerusalem. For the first
time in Arab history there
has been a relatively in-
dependent press, too cen-
sored by my standards, too
censored by your stan-
dards; and most impor-
tantly — too censored by
Israeli standards.
Israel does not always
comply with its own high
standards of human rights
in the West Bank. But if
one compares the- Israeli
treatment in the West Bank
with any other interna-
tional standard, —
historical or contemporary
— Israel shines by
comparison.
. . . Some of my students
today firmly believe that
Israel, along with South
Africa, are the worst
human rights violators in
the world. They are
reading that, they are hear-
ing that, their teachers are
teaching them that. And
we are not answering.

Because this is to a degree
repetitive, it is additionally
accusatory of the prejudiced
treatment of Israel by the
judges of developments in
that troubled area. There are
occasional Israeli blunders in
the approach to the quest for
peace. Yet, the media guilt is

in the constant selection of in-
cidents as means to level
charges of immorality against
Israel.
The media role has
hampered rather than helped
in the peace process.
Therefore the approaching
judgments which will surely
be indicated at the important
sessions set for the coming
Sunday should hopefully lead
toward the desired fairness
that must influence public
opinion on a massive scale
and the attitudes and actions
of the Arab antagonists and
Israel. Thep* are the
reasonable in the ranks of
both and now we need the
fairminded and unprejudiced
in the diplomatic ranks and
in the media. There is much
to hope for and a great deal to
anticipate as fairminded and
human approaches on the
road to peace. ❑

Ira Hirschmann
In History

S

ix decades filled with
untold tragedies also
have a record of leader-
ship, courage and devotion to
the serious challenges in the
rescuing of victims of Nazism.
Ira Hirschmann was among
our chief activists in rescue
efforts and later in the Zionist
ranks as a redeemer of Israel.
This remarkable man, who
died two weeks ago at 88,
had many notable careers. He
was a leader in business
enterprises, radio, politics,
among his many careers. As
an anti-Nazi activist, as one
of the initiators of the boycott
of Germany upon the advent
of Adolf Hitler in 1933, and in
his leadership in saving vic-
tims of Hitler during World
War II.
He was called upon to play
a role in it. Ineffective as it
proved among the tragedies of
failures in rescue tasks,
Hirschmann introduced a
number of direct contacts
with forces that could aid in
saving lives.
He was especially effective
in tasks that helped rescue
Romanian Jews who would
otherwise be sent to the Nazi
death camps.
His multiple commitments
and accomplishments rate his
life both as a chapter in
American and Jewish history
and in human relations.
He carried on his work in
behalf of the reborn state of
Israel by aiding in resettling
survivors from Nazism and in
support of the Jewish Na-
tional Fund, Israel Bonds and
other causes.
He authored several books,
two on Keren Kayemet the
Jewish National Fund. ❑

,

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