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November 03, 1989 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-11-03

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Man Of Peace


he recent announcement that the Dalai Lama, the spiritual
and political head of the Tibetan people, had received the
Nobel Peace Prize came on the heels of an extraordinary
meeting between him and a small group of rabbis and Jewish authors
and scholars.
The meeting was initiated by the Dalai Lama, who was curious
about Judaism and, especially, about Jews' survival during their long
years in exile.
The Jews' encounter with the Dalai Lama also epitomized the
value of inter-religious dialogue unblemished by defensiveness of
triumphialism. Unlike Christian-Jewish dialogue that often occurs
against the backdrop of Christian claims of Jesus' messianism or
of Jewish claims of chosenness and, invariably, against the trauma
of the Holocaust, the Tibetan-Jewish exchange was entirely fresh.
It was a theological tabula rosa, with both sides eager to explain
and teach and understand and neither attempting to persuade.
As an encounter between a people who want peace and a man
who represents peace, it deserves the hope that the lessons of dialogue
that it illuminated will inform and inspirit future dialogues between
all religions, not just Buddhism and Judaism.

ing, but the psychological cost is even higher. The 22-acre center in
mid-Manhattan was built about 50 years ago. America was just
then beginning to emerge from the devastating Depression, and
New York was still considered to be the center of all that was glam-
orous, sophisticated — and profitable — in the world. The city was
the hub of so many worlds — social, financial, artistic, political —
that it was almost a planet unto itself. And Rockefeller Center,
with its splendid shops and restaurants and skating rink and soar-
ing, graceful skyscrapers, symbolized New York at its most
cosmopolitan and worldly.
But that was another time and another New York. The city is no
longer on the urbane cutting edge it once was, and America is no
longer the economic giant of the past.
It seems that America is for sale to the highest bidder and, for
now, the bidding is usually made in yen. In a totally free-market
economy that encircles the globe, this may be appropriate and in-
evitable. But the type of assets recently sold to the Japanese also
carries an archetypal memory — an American memory — that de-
serves to have remained in American hands.

Yen And Now


he Japanese are coming; the Japanese are coming!
There's nothing new about that. It's beginning to seem
that almost since V-J Day, the Japanese have been coming
to these shores; their weapons this time, economic and not
military. First came those cheap toys and generally useless
gadgets of the late 1940s and early 1950s, then a couple of tran-
sistor radios that, on a good day, could pick up more than two
stations, and finally, Hondas, Toyotas and Datsuns and Sonys,
Toshibas and Panasonics. The Japanese were not great innovators,
but they were the best of imitators, a trait that eventually gave
them clout in the world marketplace and immeasurable pride back
Now comes one of the harshest blows of all: A Tokyo real estate
developer has purchased the controlling interest in New York's
Rockefeller Center. The financial tab — $846 million — is numb-


Misguided Meeting
With Dalai Lama

The Jewish participants in
the encounter with the Dalai
Lama (Oct. 20) showed a great
lack of critical thinking,
whether due to their enamor-
ment with the leader or their
overwhelming desire to
The fact that the Tibetan
Buddhists have never
persecuted the Jewish people
does not make their religion
closer to ours than are Chris-
tianity and Islam. (The latter
have definite roots in
Judaism even if rejecting
Judaism's basic principles.)
The Dalai Lama and the
monks painfully fudged the
question of monotheism; it
was never made clear in the
article whether their many
gods are messengers of a
supreme force or some sort of



committee. If the Buddhists
are idol worshippers, then
"the divinity with which they
are in touch" can not be the
same as that with which we
are, contrary to Arthur
Green's assertion.
The participants praised
the Dalai Lama's spirituality,
though at least one —
Laurence Kushner — admit-
ted his suspicions of the
religion's mishigas. It must be
stated that even if the
theology doesn't appeal to our
western, monotheistic way of
thinking, and even if the way
of life is contrary to ours, it is
this spirituality that is attrac-
ting Jewish souls.
As long as any clergyman
who purports to be a rabbi
leads a congregation who are
prey to misconceptions such
as believing "only in this cur-
rent life and not in the
hereafter" (as Kushner states

many contemporary Jews do
believe) and does not set them
straight, searching Jews will
look for an ultimate meaning
in life in greener, if not
showier, pastures.

Fayge Young

Oak Park

Yeshiva Clarifies
Land Problem

I would like to make a
clarification in the article of
Oct. 27, regarding the Oak
Park school board, Gotham
Tower and the Yeshiva
Whereas, Gotham Tower
continues to hold a land con-
tract with the school board on
the entire parcel at 24600
Greenfield, Yeshiva Gedolah
some years ago purchased
from Gotham and paid in full
for the part of that parcel that
contains the building and

some adjacent land. The deed
for that parcel is recorded in
the Yeshiva Gedolah's name.
It is correct that this pur-
chase would be contingent on
Gotham continuing to fulfill
its land contract obligations,
but as stated in your article,
we are confident that these
obligations will be met.

Rabbi Peretz Rushnawitz

Yeshiva Gedolah of Greater Detroit

The Pollard

Ruth Mason's interview
with Anne Pollard, as
reported in The Jewish News
(Oct. 23), is revealing in what
is and is not stated. Had
Jonathan and Anne Pollard
admitted spying for Russia, or
some friendly Arab country, it
is likely that their
punishments would not have
been as severe. Though the

Pollards did cooperate with
the government, revealing
details of their amateurish
operation of supplying
classified information illegal-
ly to Israel, they apparently
did not cooperate enough.
They failed to name names, to
provide their eager in-
quisitors with evidence of a
Jewish conspiracy to help
Israel illegally. Hence, the
harsh prison sentences.
Anti-Semites have always
been enamored with the con-
cept of a "Jewish conspiracy."
This concept appeals to an ir-
rational mind, serving as
justification to inflict cruelty
on a human being. Anti-
Semitism has always been a
powerful and intimidating
force, picking and choosing its
In the face of this force, the

Continued on Page 10

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