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April 27, 1990 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-04-27

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

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12

FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 1990

Scholar

Continued from from Page 5

power only because they
were learned or had money.
East European Jews also
faced constant persecution
and restrictions, Gitelman
said. There were quotas on
Jewish doctors and lawyers
and there was the constant
fear of pogroms. This
resulted in a general
"suspicion of non-Jews and
non-Jewish culture."
American Jews aren't
plagued by persecution and
poverty, as were the Jews of
Eastern Europe, Gitelman
said. American Jewish socie-
ty also is more pluralistic,
offering the opportunity for
a combined Jewish and gen-
eral education and even
allowing one to integrate a
professional life with
Judaism because most Jews
are not obligated to work on
Shabbat.
At the same time,
however, recognized Jewish
authorities do not exist as
they did in Europe; Ameri-
can Jews do not look to a
single religious voice.
Jews in the United States
also have lost "the sense of
obligation" that defined the
East European Jewish com-
munity, he said.
A mitzvah is not a good
deed, as is commonly
thought. It is a command-
ment. "And Americans don't
like to be commanded. If we

do something, we're doing it
out of the goodness of our
hearts.
"To do something in
America, you have to feel
good. That sense of obliga-
tion (to do good deeds)
whether we get a plaque or
not, whether we feel good or
not, is gone."
American Jews also have
lost Yiddish and Hebrew
language and literature,
Gitelman said. Jews today
depend upon translations for
classic Jewish works; be-
cause of their lack of Yiddish
knowledge, "we don't have a
common language with
many of our fellow Jews. We
force them to speak Eng-
lish."
In Europe, a person could
not ignore his Jewishness. In
the United States, one must
choose to be Jewish and
many are opting not to be
Jewish, Gitelman said.
More and more Jews are
intermarrying and most
intermarried couples do not
raise their children as Jews.
Jews in America are seeing
increased drug addiction,
alcoholism and divorce, he
said. Less than half the Jew-
ish community belongs to a
temple or synagogue.
"Many Jews go to shul not
to talk to God, but to talk to
each other," he said.0

Separatist

Continued from Page 1

sponse to a question from the
audience, is that blacks have
to end the unholy alliance
between Israel and South
Africa. Jews have to demand
Israel break ties with South
Africa because South Africa
is killing blacks."
Kenyatta said ties bet-
ween blacks and Jews are
one-sided if Israel's dealings
with South Africa continue.
"This is what I said on the
show, and that is all I said."
He denied making any other
statements, or that the tap-
ing broadcast Saturday was
edited.
WGPR officials refused to
comment on the show.
Kenyatta has a weekly
radio show on the Detroit
Public Schools station,
WDTR. He was expected to
discuss Israel and South
Africa on his program last
night with school board
member Alonzo Bates.
Kenyatta says he blames
Jews for problems in the
world just as he blames any
other white group.
A WDTR spokeswoman
said the station has received
several complaints about
Kenyatta's show and has

asked him for information
about his program. The sta-
tion changed management
after being criticized for
broadcasting black
separatist and pro-Christian
programs.
The Malcolm X Center is
part of the New African
Peoples Organization, which
advocates the establishment
of a separate country for
black people in the southern
United States. The organiza-
tion has centers in New
York, Los Angeles and
Atlanta, Kenyatta said. He
refused to discuss member-
ship figures. The Malcolm X
Center sells the anti-Semitic
Protocols of the Elders of
Zion in its bookstore.
Kenyatta said the group
works with the Nation of
Islam of Rev. Louis Far-
rakhan -- "We have no great
ideological problem with
them."
In reference to Far-
rakhan's controversial
statements about Jews and
Judaism, Kenyatta said he
agrees with Farrakhan
"when his statements are
read in context. I believe
many of his statements have
been taken out of context."0

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