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December 22, 1989 - Image 50

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-22

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

I COMMENT I

Chanukah Holiday
Celebrating What?

MOSHE DANN

Special to The Jewish News

A

JULES R. SCHUBOT

jewellers — gemologists

EMBE

+%41,

GEM S

3001 West Big Beaver Road • Suite 112 • Troy, Michigan 48084 • (313) 649-1122

JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Happy
Chanukah
NOW 2 LOCATIONS
Park West Plaza
On the Boardwalk

Northwestern Hwy.
Southfield

Orchard Lake Rd.
W. Bloomfield

Mon.-Sat. 10-6
Sun. 12-5

Mon.-Sat. 10-8
Sun. 12-5 — Dec. 18-23

352-0030

50, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1989

851-2828

WE SHIP
FURNITURE
iiral Imre ,

6453 FARMINGTON ROAD
W. BLOOMFIELD

855.5822

We are winning.

gilwalicAN
soc
cANcER
iEw `

-t the time of the Has-
monean revolt, Jews
in Israel were
, threatened by (1) the en-
croachments of a foreign
culture, (2) internacine strife
between religious/political/so-
cial factions, (3) political
domination by a foreign
power which denied them
independence.
The revolt occurred when
the material level of existence
in Israel had risen substan-
tially, when the Jews had
been able to rebuild the in-
frastructure of their society,
and when the foreign power
imposed new restrictions, par-
ticularly in religious
practices.
The revolt was sparked by
what was seen as an affront
to religious sensibilities: forc-
ed idolatry. But it moved
quickly to confront fun-
damental questions of na-
tionalism and the preserva-
tion of basic freedoms, issues
which brought broad popular
support.
The revolt also sought to
turn back the cultural inva-
sion of a foreign power which,
despite its benefits, also
brought with it values and
beliefs that were unfavorable
to Judaism. The rabbis, led by
Mattityahu and his sons,
(who were probably con-
sidered by some to be ex-
tremists) perceived a growing
threat from assimilationists
who they believed had utter-
ly compromised Judaism. For
the rabbis, there was no other
choice than resistance. The
massive popular support they
were able to mobilize,
however, became included in
a vicious political struggle for
power.
The assimilationists had
won, however, much earlier,
as witnessed by their in-
fluence in every aspect of dai-
ly life. The revolt could not
alter the inroads made by the
foreign culture, any more
than it could suppress the in-
tense rivalries within the
Jewish community. United
only against external
enemies, the revolution
quickly deteriorated into im-
itations of its adversaries.
The revolution became in-
stitutionalized and self-
serving, substituting a
cheapened nationalism for

Dr. Moshe Dann, a former
Detroiter and a former
assistant professor of history,
is now a tour guide in Israel.

what might have been a
spiritual renaissance, and en-
ding in the destruction of the
Temple and the transforma-
tion of Jewish civilization
itself.
Emphasis
on
political/military victories led
away from a more transcen-
dant vision of the purpose
andplace of the Jewish people.
On battlefields there is
always the possibility that
the enemy makes mistakes. A
cruse of oil necessary or
rituals is a detail nearly
forgotten, but it offers a
metaphysical perspective of
the
world.
Physical
achievements, while impor-
tant, cannot sustain, cannot
overcome despair and doubt,
cannot heal wounds of the
soul. ❑

11

I NEWS 1■•■•■

Austria Votes
Compensation

New York (JTA) — After
decades of intractability on
the question of compensa-
tion to victims of Nazi
crimes, the Austrian
Parliament passed legisla-
tion that will enable Jews-
forced to flee Austria to
receive social security
benefits.
The 48th Amendment to
the Austrian Social In-
surance Law will make it
possible for Holocaust sur-
vivors who were born in
Austria before 1930 to claim
social security benefits.
Whereas previous legisla-
tion had set the cut-off date
at 1924, the new amendment
will allow thousands of
former Austrian citizens to
receive an on-going monthly
payment of approximately
$400.
"This is a tremendous
breakthrough," said Israel
Miller, president of the
Committee for Jewish
Claims on Austria. "For
years, the Austrians have
claimed that they were not
part of the Nazi empire, that
they were a victim country"
and therefore were not
responsible for compensa-
tion payments.
But according to Elan
Steinberg, executive director
of the World Jewish Con-
gress, such legislative ac-
tions hardly fulfill Austria's
obligations to its former
citizens.
"The legislation," said
Steinberg, "simply does not
meet the repeated four-
decade-old demand of the
Jewish world."

El

41

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