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May 11, 1990 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-05-11

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

PURELY COMMENTARY

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor Emeritus

Rejecting Falsified Messianism, Acclaiming Humanism

F

or nearly two dec-
ades, Jerusalem mayor
Teddy Kollek set an ex-
ample for all mankind by the
fairness with which he
treated the world's religions
practiced under his ad-
ministration with the
greatest respect due to all
believers of all faiths.
A deeply prejudiced group
with tactics bordering on bias
seeks to undermine the digni-
ty with which Kollek ad-
ministered Jerusalem for
many years. It compelled the
unprejudiced Kollek to assert
that false messianism has
always been a source of trou-
ble for the Jewish people.
Therefore, the unanimous re-
jection of such falsehoods by
all in Jewry except the pre-
judiced with an added rebuke
to those in the Israel govern-
ment who encourage it.
That Kollek should have
found it needful to condemn
the prejudiced actions of a
limited group of Jews as
stupid is cause for dutiful en-
dorsement of condemnation of
the ignorant. The stupidly
prejudiced are seeking sup-
port everywhere including
the United States. There is
expensive advertising in the
New York Times in which
they appeal for support for an
anti-Israel and anti-Zionist
campaign. It emerges as anti-
Israel and also as Jewish
anti-Semitism.
What has actually happen-
ed is that the ignorant and
stupid contributed toward a
falsifying of true messianism,
thereby reducing the impor-
tance of the universality of
the messianic ideal. It is im-

portant that the human
values should be emphasized.
The eminent biblical,
Talmudic and spiritual
authority Rabbi Philip Birn-
baum gave an important
evaluation of the messianic
ideal with this view of the
concept:
Jewish eschatology is
linked with the messianic
hopes and the belief in the
ultimate regeneration of
humanity. The final goal of
world history is the transi-
tion of man to a higher life
and the annihilation of the
forces that oppose the mes-
sianic reign.
Many elements of later
Jewish eschatology are
already found in the pro-
phetic books. Throughout
the biblical prophecies the
blessings of the future are
on this earth. "It shall
come to pass in the latter
days that the mountain of
the Lord's house shall be
established as the highest
mountain, towering over
every hill. All nations shall
stream toward it; many
peoples shall come and
say: Come, let us climb the
mountain of the Lord, to
the house of the God of
Jacob, that he may instruct
us in his ways, and we will
walk in his paths. Out of
Zion shall go forth instruc-
tion, and the word of the
Lord from Jerusalem. He
shall judge between the na-
tions . . . They shall beat
their swords into plow-
shares, and their spears in-
to pruning hooks; nation
shall not lift up sword
against nation, neither

Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek.

shall they learn war any
more. They shall sit each
under his own vine and
under his own fig tree, un-
disturbed" (Isaiah 2:2-4;
Micah 4:2-4).
The great event pre-
paratory to the messianic
reign is kibbutz galuy yoth
(the ingathering of the ex-
iles) and the return of the

-

scattered homeless people
of Israel to Zion.
There is an additional note
in the Birnbaum concepts
which demands acceptance as
an emphasis on its
humanism:

Describing the messianic
era according to Jewish
tradition, Maimonides

writes: "At that time there
will be neither famine nor
war, neither envy nor strife.
Prosperity will be abun-
dant, comforts within the
reach of all. The one preoc-
cupation of the entire
world will be to know the
Lord . . . as it is written:
The earth shall be filled
with the knowledge of the
Lord as the water covers
the sear
Eschatology in an in-
dividual and personal
sense deals with the
destiny of the soul after
death, the nature of future
reward and punishment,
the resurrection of the
body. It has never assumed
in Judaism the character
of a dogmatic belief. The
scene of heavenly judg-
ment has been transferred
from the hereafter to the
annual day of judgment at
the beginning of the year.
Such is the essence of mes-
sianism as the great ideal
that is rooted in humanism,
that is universal in the treat-
ment of and hope for all
mankind, without prejudice
to any people or faith. In this
commitment is imbedded the
rejection of the stupid and ig-
norant and the granting of
just rights to all in mankind.
Such is the ideal of faith that
is genuinely messianic and is
a fulfillment of Zionism that
is the redeemed Israel with
justice for all.
In this concept is incor-
porated the hope for a unity
among nations.
A challenging definition of

Continued on Page 40

Memory And Conscience In Facing The Holocaust

M

emory is the pre-
dominant factor in
relating the
Holocaust accounts. In
reconstructing them there are
agonies while interpreting
the worldwide reactions.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
(US PS 275-520) is published every
Friday with additional supplements
in February, March, May, August,
October and November at 27676
Franklin Road, Southfield,
Michigan.

Second class postage paid at
Southfield, Michigan and addi-
tional mailing offices.

Postmaster: Send changes to:
DETROIT JEWISH NEWS, 27676
Franklin Road, Southfield,
Michigan 48034

$29 per year
$37 per year out of state
75' single copy

Vol. XCVH No. 11

2

May 11, 1990

FRIDAY, MAY 11, 1990

Therefore, there is also the
conscience of peoples and
their commentators.
It is inevitable not to ignore
the revisionists who deny or
would like to reduce the im-
mensity of the experiences
and the consequences.
Judith Miller wrote her
One By One By One Facing
the Holocaust with a notewor-
thy authoritativeness. Not on-
ly had she been the head of
the Cairo Bureau for the New
York Times, but she devoted
her research to all the
elements involved in the ac-
counts she reported.
There are times when a
summary of a book in an
advertising sense emerges
with a definitive emphasis.
This is the case with the sum-
mation of the Judith Miller
Facing the Holocaust in which
the publishers, Simon and



Schuster, provide important
analyses.
The countries in which the
horrors and the Holocaust
aftermath are recorded —
Germany, France, Austria,
the Netherlands, the Soviet
Union and the United States
— provide a history deeply
moving as indictments. The
guilt is revealed in all its
heartlessness in the accounts
provided in the following:

In each of the six coun-
tries, Miller offers fresh
perspectives on a subject
which in so many ways
defies comprehension. In
Germany, for instance, she
focuses on reunions of
Holocaust survivors in
their former hometowns,
where they and their Ger-
man hosts have in many
cases made considerable

progress toward coming to
terms with the past.
Austria, on the other hand,
remains largely unrepen-
tant and virulently anti-
Semitic, clinging to an in-
accurate and self-serving,

Guilt in its massive
accumulation is
preserved in a
historical record.

self-image as the Nazis'
first victim. Even here,
however, there are signs
that the international out-
cry following the election
of the former Nazi officer
Kurt Waldheim as presi-
dent is beginning to affect
the country's conscience.
In France, the 1987 trial
of Klaus Barbie — the in-

famous SS officer known
as "the Butcher of Lyons"
— threatened to demolish
with tales of cowardice and
betrayal the cherished na-
tional myth of a glorious,
unified resistance to the
Nazis. The threat was
never realized, and the
French showed much less
interest in the trial than
had been expected. Indeed,
Miller shows us a country
which, in the interest of na-
tional unity, has sadly
chosen not so much to
avoid confronting its war-
time past as to become in-
different to it.

In the Netherlands,
where Anne Frank has
become a national saint
and the Dutch like to think
of themselves as almost
Continued on Page 40

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