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May 11, 1990 - Image 24

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

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

NOTEBOOK

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0

WE SHOP AT

BRODY'S

• O T LOC KER s



s N VI 0 '



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6690 Orchard Lake Road
In The West Bloomfield Plaza
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
851-6232
These Camps' Shirts Are In New Hot Neon Colors

0
O

0

Continued from Page 22

)

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—4



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—1
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3 LB. SLEEPING BAGS • NYLON STUFF BAGS • CAMPER'S KNIVES

WMTEF•III:

• XER H• R



We Will Meet Any Written Advertised Price!
Why Shop Anywhere Else?

Special
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All Clearance Center
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To 50%!

Offer Expires May 25.

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Only at Keego Harbor 3325 Orchard Lake Rd.
(1 Mile North of Long Lake Rd.) 682-7600.

24

FRIDAY, MAY 11, 1990

Jewish Life

0





I

Sale $99

Reg. $175. Teak Bookcase.
70" x 30" x 11 1/2".
Take With—Unassembled.
3 For $287.

perhaps miraculous, crea-
tion.
And they sometimes think
of Israel as more of a source
of embarrassment — in the
age of the intifada, increas-
ing religious conflict and po-
litical and diplomatic inertia
— than pride.
One of the positive results
of the intifada, though, is
that American Jews have
found a middle ground in
terms of criticizing Israeli
policies. Before, you either
supported Israel completely
or you were labeled a traitor.
Today, with national Jewish
organizations publicly
criticizing Jerusalem's role,
as in the settlers' move into
the Christian Quarter, there
is a maturation process.
American Jews can now be
critical of certain Israeli pol-
icies, while still supporting
Israel, and not be branded as
turncoats.
In the same way, at least
some American Jewish
newspapers have been able
to editorialize, critically, on
Israeli policies, and have
found the response muted.
Does that mean that Jews
are becoming increasingly
open and mature in their
discussions of Israel, or more
alienated from her actions?
In terms of Jewish prac-
tice, I find a hunger for spiri-
tuality among growing
numbers of younger Jews,
but an inability to find
nourishment in the organiz-
ed Jewish community, be it
the synagogue or the Fed-
eration.
The ba'al teshuva (return
to Orthodoxy) phenomenon
is an exception. It is real, it
is growing, and it is having a
major impact, not only on
the Orthodox community
but on the families and
friends of ba'alei teshuva. -
Some of it is a new
awareness and appreciation
of traditional Jewish life and
some of it is an anger and
sadness at the lack of
tolerance among the newly
Orthodox for non-Orthodox
Jews. Amidst all the slogans
of We Are One, the chasm
between us in the American
Jewish community may be
growing wider.
The American Jewish
community of the latter half
of the 20th century will best
be remembered for its fund-
raising. That's what we do
best. But an organized com-
munity based on consensus
and fueled by dollars is
better equipped to throw
dollars at problems than
grapple with them. Rather
than seeking discussion, we
look for the lowest common
denominator.
The most recent, and dra-

matic, test case is the Opera-
tion Exodus campaign on
behalf of Soviet Jewry.
Operation Exodus is rais-
ing new levels of emergency
funding and seeking to em-
phasize the Jewish ac-
culturation process, unlike
the influx of Soviet Jews to
America in the 1970s, many
of whom are now lost to the
Jewish community.
The national effort is
laudatory, but there is little
discussion of the more com-
plex problems. Will we do
any better at making the
new Soviet Jewish immi-
grants more Jewish? And
what kind of Jews do we
want them to be? As Jewish
as us? More Jewish? What
kind of Jews will they and
their children be?
That is the litmus test for
American Jewry.
Part of the problem is tim-
ing. When Soviet Jews ar-
rive here, they want a place
to live, a job, and a chance to
learn English. Their interest
in Judaism, a heritage many
of them know little about, is
secondary. After they have
been here a year or two, they
may be ready to explore
their religious roots. But by
then the community may
have given up on them.
What is needed is follow up
— to provide a program of
Judaic content for these peo-
ple a year or two after they
have settled here.
In some ways, Israel is the
mirror image to our efforts.
The Israelis have little if any
organizational success in
providing the Soviet Jews
the kinds of services we
handle best — housing, jobs,
language skills — but in
terms of Jewish identifica-
tion, they will succeed, simp-
ly by osmosis.
American Jewish life is
still dominated by the
memory of the Holocaust
and the creation of the state
of Israel. And in terms of
fund-raising — the bottom
line for Jewish organizations
—the Holocaust and Israel
continue to provide the emo-
tional fuel to generate chari-
table giving. But that pull,
that attraction, is
diminishing. Israel has been
proven to be less than a
utopia, and the Holocaust is
becoming more distant in
time as survivors pass away.
What is needed is a
positive attraction to Jewish
life, an answer to the ques-
tion Why Be Jewish? that is
not based on blood and guilt.
Judaism has the answers,
a long history and volumes
of holy texts. But American
Jews have to care enough to
ask the questions.



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