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December 08, 1989 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-08

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Pragmatic Testing In A Timely Communal Survey


Editor Emeritus


now Thyself' could be
considered the new
motto in the survey
conducted by the Jewish
Welfare Federation as an
analysis of existing policies in
our communal structure.
The many who already have
been tested by the multiplici-
ty of questions addressed to
them acknowledge the
pragmatism of the task under-
taken. In a sense, the entire
study introduces a revolu-
tionizing change in communal
activism. In earlier years, pro-
testing factions in the com-
munity contended that the
Federation failed to adhere to
the democratic way of plann-
ing its serving communal
needs. The mere search for
opinions on needs of the agen-
cies supported from large and
representative elements in
this active area suggests a
new tendency toward

There is another aspect in
the survey that invites deep
interest. Not everything is
tzedakah-minded. The tradi-
tionally obligated always call
for deep interest and
The devotion to the causes
related to the elderly and the
welfare commitments are not
to be ignored. The cultural
aspects must be given equal
concern. The school system
demands deeper interest. Pro-
posed improvements must be
treated seriously. The libraries
associated with them dare not
be ignored.
Functions in the Jewish
Center program have reached
great heights. The Detroit
Book Fair has become a guide
for other communities and is
like a nationally advanced
ideal meriting acclaim.
On occasions, demands are
made for attention to what
may be the lesser in values. In
at least one sphere, special at-
tention is due to the less sen-
sationalized. When interest is

John Mames


or more than a decade,
at the observance here
at Passover time of Yom
Hashoah, commemorating the
anniversary of the heroic
Jewish resistance to the Nazi
terror, honors were accorded to
the most distinguished among
the Righteous Gentiles. Dr.
John Mames' death Dec. 1
after a serious illness cost our
community its chief archivist
of the Christian Righteous
Gentiles. In that activity Dr.
Mames was himself the
righteous historian. He made
it a chief cause in his life not
to forget those who had
rescued Jews, themselves risk-
ing their lives. In such a com-
mitment to an ideal he emerg-
ed as a historian of the
Holocaust, of which he was a
This was only a portion of
his activities in the "Never

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Vol. XCVI No. 15 December 8, 1989



essays and poems, drawing
upon history and current
events. Its Writers Journal has
just appeared as a 33rd year
anniversary issue. It calls for
deep communal interest.
Their achievement is
literary and creative. The
writers and the bubbies and
zaydes in this group are anx-
ious to be recognized as
writers. What they write is
history and experience. They
also express the American
way as well as the Jewish.

Norma Goldman

accorded to the senior citizens,
it is often with pity.

There is a factor in our pro-
gram that substitutes pride
and admiration for pity. It is
an element in the Ten Mile
branch of the Jewish Com-
munity Center where a group
called the Center Writers Cor-
ner keeps creating, writing

In the current volume, for
example, an elderly baseball
adherent wrote an essay on
"Play Ball." He told how, as a
youngster, he was at once at-
tracted to baseball. His devo-
tion to the sport continued.
This essay by Albert Lipton is
as humorous as it is realistic.
The reason for mentioning
such factors in our life is
because it is another
manifestation of progress in
Jewish experience. In the
earlier decades of this century

one of the aims of welcoming
new immigrants was to strive
for their "Americanization."
This is now a forgotten term.
Yet the memory of it in our ap-
proach to our now totally
Americanized community is
unforgotten history.
Our reaction to the Writers
Journal must be communal
glory. That is why the adviser
to that group, Professor Nor-
ma Goldman, who is on the
Wayne State University facul-
ty in the Latin and Greek
department, deserves deep
Another point needs to be
made here. Norma Goldman is
a volunteer. The devotion she
gives her wonderful group of
writers elevates her to the top
rating in volunteerism.
If the scores of writers
published in Writers Journal
were to be listed they would
have to be defined as the
"Who's Who Among the Ac-
complished Elderly in
Detroit's Cultural Communi-

Righteous Jewish Humanist

Dr. John Mames

Forget" identification with
Holocaust concerns. He
organized lectures in schools
on the subject. He delivered
some of the addresses himself
and arranged for large
assemblies in the Holocaust

Yet, the chief activity in
which he acquired national
fame was the Magen David
Mom of Israel, the Jewish
equivalent of the Red Cross.
He was the organizer and for
20 years president of the
Michigan Chapter of the MDA
enlisting support for this
cause. Thanks to the services
he and his devoted wife Eva
gave to it, more than 70 am-
bulances were purchased and
fully outfitted here and were

shipped to Israel to provide
the assistance needed for
Israel's military and civilian
health services.
These activities definitely
earn for John Mames the title
thus chosen for him as the
Righteous Jewish Humanist.
There is very much more to be
said about him and his Eva.
They dedicated their energies
and leadership qualities to a
continuity of efforts as a result
of which the large sums ac-
quired here for MDA were
raised at practically no ex-
pense to the movement. A
$250,000 annual income for
MDA could have involved a
three percent expense — a
record-setting, unmmatched
philanthropic achievement.
John Mames was a very
devout man who treated
synagogue sanctity as a
lifetime's involvement to
which he dedicated himself
without reservations.
His spiritual devotions
became the commitment to
Jewish learning through his
knowledge of the Bible and
everything relating to prayer.
Without in any sense
limiting his devoted duties in
his dental profession he also
was the impassioned scholar,
the Hebraist as well as the
master of other languages,
especially his expertness in
his knowledge of Latin.
The tribute, therefore,
is to a dedicated friend who
was a pious man, a linguist,

a culturally-inspired ideal-
ist with humanistic devotions.
Therefore the title for
him as Righteous Jewish
Humanist. ❑

And Tikkun


nly when calamities
threatened Jewries
on a global scale, was
there anything resembling
near-total unity. These were
always disputes among us. We
differed theologically. We
were never alike sociological-
ly. How could we think alike
when there was always
something to divide us? Even
Therefore, when there is a
revolt against the "Establish-
ment," it can be treated as a
mere formality. In the larger
sphere "the revolt" cannot
even induce skepticism.
Take, for example,
American Jewry. Some, at the
heads of major movements,
may be disliked. There is now
a powerful Jewish press in the
language of the nation in
which we enjoy citizenship,
and there is a free avenue for
criticism. We can't always cor-
rect everything individual
citizens object to, and there
are no longer any secrecies.
But a member of the very
journalistic craft in which we
place a large measure of con-
fidence wants to assume con-

trol of "Establishment." He
wants to become "Establish-
ment." He does it under a
slogan of "correcting . . .
repairing ... mending . ." It
is more than cynicism that
calls such an ambition
Under the title "Tikkun"
the name of the magazine
Michael Lerner edits, he
seeks to mend the communi-
ty. He wants to oust the pre-
sent leadership and himself
become the community.Are
there any substitutes in the
apparent "revolt" who can
take over the educational
systems, the aid to the elder-
ly and handicapped, support
for family welfare cases,
many more functioning
The initiator of the move-
ment for "mending" in
American Jewish life under
the title "Tikkun" had a
peculiar way of defining his
ideology when he said to a
San Francisco audience: "We
need compassion for Jews and
The condition under which
we returned to Palestine were
like jumping from a burning
building. We landed on the
backs of the Palestinians."
Is it possible that such
showmanship fails to
recognize that this form of
braggadacio harms the Arabs
he wishes to shelter even
more than his fellow Jews?

Continued on Page 46

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