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August 17, 1990 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-08-17

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PURELY COMMENTARY

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor Emeritus

Assuring The Dignity Of Jewish Loyalties

M

illenia of humilia-
tions, centuries of
persecutions,
endless falsifications of
Jewish lifestyles that are the
very source of our people's ex-
istence have all become the
experiences shared with the
nations whose tolerance was
endured through the ages.
There was always much to
test Jewry as long as there
was faithful resistance to the
accumulated hatreds; there
was the strength to survive.
Dangers lurked only when
Jews themselves became
partners with their an-
tagonists in fostering the
evils engineered to harm us
and even to destroy us.
Sadly, Jews themselves are
continuing what is judged as
evidence toward the under-
mining of the Jewish posi-
tions in the current crises.
The best evidence of the
abandonment of Jews by Jews
is the manner in which em-
phasis is given to menacing
forces that are mainly
children. There is no recogni-
tion given to children being
used as rock throwers. There

is no admission of the fact
that when rocks are hurled as
weapons at soldiers, and
soldiers resort to defense,
there are casualties. When
children are casualties, it is
tragic. When their parents
use them as weapons, it is
more tragic.
Perhaps there is a corollary
in an Associated Press story
from Washington to the evil of
rock throwing.

NEWS ITEM: (AP) — A
90-count indictment has
been handed down against
two teenagers accused of
throwing stones at cars on
the Capital Beltway
around Washington . . .
The two 18-year-olds face
up to 30 years in prison on
the charge of assault with
intent to murder .. .

Is it possible that the Arab
forces against Israel would
like to turn the Jewish state
into another Lebanon? Daily
reports from that area
describe the horrors of war-
fare among rival factions and
every hour in the struggle is

tative in Lebanon said the
Lebanese civil war has kill-
ed 40,000 children and
destroyed an entire
generation. The represen-
tative, Andre Roberfroid,
said: "In this country, in 15
years of war, no less than
40,000 children have been
killed, many more wound-
ed, handicapped or crippl-
ed. Fifteen years is the age
at which childhood ends
. . . This means that one
complete generation of
children in Lebanon has
been actually living all its
life in an environment of
war and aggression."

Chaim Herzog

described in press reports as
a "blood bath."
Added anxiety is caused by
a brief item involving the
children in the Wall Street
Journal, necessary even if it
dates back to June 6, 1990,
which is revealed under the
headline "Lebanon's Destroy-
ed Generation":
The UNICEF represen-

Such items are buried
somewhere in the press, as
was this one. But when an
Arab child becomes a casual-
ty in the rock throwing
against Israel, the headlines
are staggering. That's when
the Jewish abandoners of the
Jewish state who are so deep-
ly moved by peace passions
begin to condemn fellow Jews
as being inhumane.
Is it any wonder that Presi-
dent Chaim Hezog became so

seriously concerned over such
tactics as to write an appeal
for justice to fellow Jews.
Pressure to negotiate with
the PLO is often accompanied
by so much abuse heaped
upon Israel that there is the
increasing necessity to refute
the attacks. Too often the
assaults on Israel stem from
prejudiced Jews who virtual-
ly demand Jewish acceptance
and recognition of the PLO.
The Herzog explanations
urgently ask for understan-
ding of facts and adherence to
realities in the mounting
criticism of his nation.
As an appeal to reason,
President Herzog urged
elimination of bias and a fur-
thering of just treatment of
Israel in a message to Theo
Klein, former head of the
Council of French Jewish In-
stitutions, in which he stated
in part:
I agree with you that if
Diaspora Jewry or any
part of it does not accept
the policy of the State of
Israel, it is not only per-
Continued on Page 38

Jacob Marcus' U.S. Jewry: Episodic Memoirs

A

n immense literary
achievement, defined
as the magnum opus
of its illustrious author Jacob
R. Marcus, began to rate
global interest in a matter of
weeks after the release of its
first volume by Wayne State
University Press. Dr. Marcus
gave the title United States
Jewry to his history of the
Jews in America. While this
is its main consideration, it
evidences an approach and at-
tainment that is universal.
The four-volume United
States Jewry will be in
thousands of pages. The en-
tire work is about American
Jews from 1775 to 1980. The
first volume numbers some
850 pages. They include 86
pages of a revealing index.
This at once serves as a

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. XCVII No. 25 August 17, 1990

2

FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, 1990

challenge to discriminating
readers to study and learn the
extent of the research incor-
porated in a notable work by
a scholarly historian who
already has a score of works
to his credit.
Many recorded historic in-
cidents will satisfy the
curious readers. In one sense
they could absorb it by glanc-
ing through the few illustra-
tions in the first volume.

Lorenzo Da Ponte

The caption to this photo
arouses more curiosity. It
reads:
Lorenzo Da Ponte
(d. 1838), an Italian Jewish
immigrant, was Mozart's
librettist. He taught Italian
at Columbia and furthered
Italian opera in this
country. Da Ponte was a
convert to Christianity.
Courtesy, American Jew-
ish Archives.

Is it possible that the world
famous name Wolfgang
Amadeus Mozart, (1756-91)
has a role in the history of
U.S. Jewry? Dr. Marcus
enlightens the reader with
the following interesting
account:

Almost a decade before
Schlesinger came here
with his portfolio of piano
classics, Bnai Jeshurun of
New York had a choral
group which met in the
"vestry" (basement) and
sang publicly on festive oc-
casions (1828). As early as
1820, Jews were associated
with Philadelphia's Music-
al Fund Society — a philan-
thropy of sorts — as
members and players. The
city at that time could even
boast of a music store own-
ed by a Jew. The Society
gave concerts, helped
musicians in need, and fur-
thered the cultural life of
the larger community.
That same decade, in
1829, Lorenzo Da Ponte,
Mozart's librettist, brought
Italian opera to the city.
This immigrant was one of
the country's most exotic
and glamorous per-
sonages. Da Ponte had
been born into a Jewish
family in the town of
Ceneda, near Venice, Italy.
His original name was

Emanuele Conegliano. It is
not improbable that he was
a member of that Con-
egliano family which pro-
duced distinguished physi-
cians, statesmen, and
students of rabbinic
literature. In all likelihood,
he received a good Jewish
education, including of
course instruction in
Hebrew.
At the age of fourteen,
young Conegliano was
converted to Roman
Catholicism and took the
name of his sponsor,
Bishop Lorenzo Da Ponte.
The brilliant young
neophyte was ordained to
the priesthood, but later
renounced his order,
although he would remain
a Roman Catholic through-
out his life. Da Ponte, a
friend of Casanova, was
banished for profligacy
from Venice, where he was
living during the 1770s.
He then turned to Vien-
na, the capital of the
powerful Hapsburg Em-
pire, and there became a
"Poet to the Italian
Theatre," writing libretti
for operatic composers.
"The Marriage of Figaro,"
"Don Giovanni;' and "Cosi
fan Tutte" were the results
of his collaboration with
Mozart. In 1790, this
unstable but brilliant poet,

Jacob Marcus

teacher, and man of letters
had outstayed his welcome
in Vienna. Three years
later he was settled in Lon-
don, writing more libretti,
managing opera com-
panies, selling books and
speculating. Constantly
making enemies wherever
he went, Da Ponte knew by
1804 that he was through in
England as well. He ship-
ped his family off to
America and followed soon
after.
The scores of episodes ac-
cumulated for this history in-
clude religion, the arts and
crafts. They call attention to
the theater, and on that score

Continued on Page 38

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