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February 16, 1990 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-02-16

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

EDITORIAL I

The Challenge
Of The Budget

Resettling Soviet Jews, whether in Israel or Detroit, is an expensive and time-
consuming propositiori. Communal leaders are correct in placing it at the top of
their fund-raising and service-delivery agendas. The challenge, however, will be how
well the Jewish Welfare Federation and its agencies can progress with other impor-
tant projects.
While enjoying a temporary reprieve, the Home For Aged faces a series of
obstacles that may require significant infusions of additional funds. Expansion of
the Jimmy Prentis Morris Jewish Community Center to service a growing clientele
— and to serve as the keystone in stabilizing the Southfield-Oak Park Neighborhood
Project area — will necessitate community subsidies, as new membership and pro-
gram revenues are not likely to offset the costs of properly staffing and maintain-
ing the facility. A task force studying the scope and quality of Jewish educational
opportunities will issue its report shortly with the likelihood of a reallocation, and
expansion, of funds needed to implement its findings. And as Federation leaders
pore through the results of a recently completed demographic study, new areas of
local need will be uncovered, with requirements for funds.
Clearly, additional funds must be raised within the community. But with dollars
at a premium, the Federation and its agencies mus't take a closer look at the ex-
panse side of their ledgers, too. Can each program be justified? Each year? Do agen-
cies start with a zero base or, ultimately, are they given a percentage increase above
their previous year's allocation? Are several agencies providing similar services?
Can this duplication be eliminated?
It is only through raising additional funds, and implementing a budgeting system
that is truly zero-based or program-based, that all of the community's important
needs will have a greater likelihood of being satisfied.

A Serious Look
From Hollywood

I

n cinematic history, the 1980s should be known as the decade of
Spielbergian special effects and pandering to juvenile tastes. Adult
sophistication, thorny subjects, the careful delineation of plot were the ex-
ception, not the rule.
Thus, it comes as a great irony — and a tremendous relief — that in the last
weeks of the decade, Hollywood released three films that run counter to much of
the conventional wisdom that dominated Tinseltown for the previous 10 years.
Further, these films — Music Box, Triumph of the Spirit, and Enemies, A Love
Story — all have a common theme, the Holocaust, a leitmotif of ultimate horror
and morality that flies in the face of the pubescent inclinations that dominated
Hollywood for all too'many years. (See Movies, Page 40.)
The films wrestle with sin and guilt, with remorse and survival. They offer
no easy answers to any of these, because the Holocaust is not an event that
elicits answers, but one which will always provoke questions, the sort that con-
found and disturb at the deepest, most private levels of being.
The teams that produced these films should be applauded. They did not suc-
cumb to the all-too-easy temptation to portray Jews, Nazis and Nazi collab-
orators as either all-good or all-bad. Gradations appear in their characteriza-
tions; degrees of culpability and innocence and judgment infuse all three films.
If the usual stereotypes had been followed, the films would have depicted the
Holocaust as nothing more than a parody of a morality play. But thankfully
they transcend this, and thankfully, they also give the Holocaust a needed pro-
minence in mass culture. As Holocaust survivors and other witnesses die off,
there is a very real threat that the horror will either fade from the public
memory or be changed to suit revisionist versions of history. Films such as
Enemies, Triumph and Music Box, while fictional accounts of the Nazi horrors,
will help ensure that the Holocaust is neither forgotten nor revised.

6

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 1990

LETTERS

Yavneh Offers
Top Education

Yavneh Academy's program
of early intervention against
substance abuse ("Yavneh
Students Know All About
Drug Abuse" Feb. 2) is mere-
ly one illustration of Yavneh's
enlightened approach to
education.
As parents of a child at
Yavneh Academy, we could
not be more pleased with its
curriculum and spirit. By
meaningfully integrating
Jewish values with secular
education, the school is able
to promote academic and
moral excellence at the same
time. The founders and sup-
porters of Yavneh, which in-
clude the rabbis and lay
leadership of the Reform com-
munity, should be applauded
for providing the Jewish
children of Detroit with an ex-
citing new choice in day
school education

Sam and Gigi Fried
West Bloomfield

No Demjanjuk,
`Music Box' Ties

According to the Nobel
Peace Prize-winning
Holocaust authority, Elie
Wiesel, the new movie, Music
Box is "a welcome addition to
the cinematic literature of the
Holocaust."
I will not take issue with
Wiesel's assessment. How-
ever, I strongly disagree that
Music Box is a movie about
the real-life case of my father
as the film's creator, Joe
Eszterhas, has led us to
believe.
To depict the John Demjan-
juk case, Music Box would
have to show exculpatory
evidence being concealed
from the defendant and toss-
ed out in the Justice Depart-
ment's trash; the defendant's

lead appellate counsel and
former Israeli judge, Dov
Eitan, dead from a
mysterious 15-story fall out a
window and hig co-counsel,
Yoram Sheftel, partially
blinded in an acid attack; an
eyewitness and Holocaust
survivor pressured by the pro-
secution into keeping silent;
prejudicial news coverage of
the trial, in violation of
Israeli law; the defendant
standing trial on stage; and
on the day of sentencing, a
crowd of spectators chanting
"Death! Death! Death!"
Such a film also would have
to deal with the reality of pro-
secution photo identification
procedures which have been
called nearly farcical, and a
prosecution case riddled with
contradictions and
inconsistencies.
None of these aspects of real
life is found in the Music Box,
which therefore cannot be a
film about the Demjanjuk
case.
But perhaps justice is not
Eszterhas' strong point.

John Demjanjuk Jr.
Brooklyn, Ohio

Glass Booth Review
Missed The Point

The Feb. 9 issue of The
Jewish News, carried drama
critic Edward Karam's review
of Man In The Glass Booth,
the inaugural production of
the Jewish Ensemble
Theatre. Unfortunately, and
incredibly, that review is
nothing more than an agoniz-
ed self-serving of the critic's
transparent predisposition to
find something wrong with
the production, or a revealing
of his own myopia.
Buttons from a shirt? Hor-
ror versus bewilderment? Ex-
cessive finger play?
Assuming the inherent

Continued on Page 10

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