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August 24, 1990 - Image 54

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-08-24

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TORAH PORTION himmimmmm"

Make Our House
Your Home


Justice Depends On Our
Choices, Commitments

Expose your children to the Joys of Judaism.


Special to The Jewish News

The Beth El Nursery School offers children 18
months to six years an opportunity to discover
Judaism through play and celebration. In the
classroom and at Tot Shabbat, they will learn to
feel at home with services.


They'll experience the delight of decorating a Sukkah, cheering the
Maccabis, hissing Haman, setting a Seder table and sharing these
experiences with others.

Catch your children's enthusiasm. Join them
at Family Shabbat Dinners, workshops and
weekend retreats.

Experience the warmth o
the Temple family.

Participate in programs that
will enrich your mind and
spirit from lectures to
musical performances to
parties to meaningful
Shabbat observances.

Do something for your children and yourselves .
Join us this year at Temple Beth El.

For membership and financial information, call:

Tom Jablonski, Executive Director — 851-1100

Ken Korotkin and Stuart Lockman,
Membership Co-Chairmen


At Very Reasonable Prices Call For An Appointment

.' A t('/1 47



Lawrence M. Allan, Pres.




30400 Telegraph Road
Suite 134
Birmingham, MI 48010
(313) 642-5575

DAILY 10-5:30
THURS. 10-7
SAT. 10-3

he ideal of justice is
the theme of the be-
ginning of this week's
Torah portion: "Judges and of-
ficers shalt thou make thee in
all thy gates . . . and they
shall judge the people with
righteous judgement. Thou
shalt not pervert judgement;
Thou shalt not respect per-
son; neither shalt thou take a
gift . . . Justice, justice shalt
thou follow, that thou mayest
live, and inherit the land
which the Lord thy God
giveth thee."
And yet, the same Ibrah
portion that emphasizes the
theme of justice, teaching us
that justice must be diligent-
ly, vigorously and intensely
pursued if it is to be attained,
has an unusual law that
seems incongruent with the
claim and ideal of justice. The
Torah prescribes a ritual that
is to follow the discovery of a
murdered person outside a ci-
ty. If a person is found
murdered in an open field,
and the perpetrator of the
crime is unknown, the
leaders of the nearest city are
obliged to offer a sacrifice of
expiation. All the city elders
are expected to wash their
hands and make the following
public declaration of
disavowal: "Our hands have
not shed this blood, neither
have our eyes seen it."
The rabbis in the Talmud
ask the obvious question: "Is
this just, fair, or even
necessary? Why did the most
respected and revered
members of the community
have to offer this declaration
of innocence? Who accused
them of the crime? Indeed,
who would even suspect them
of such a terrible deed?"
The rabbis submitted the
following answer to their own
questions. What the elders
were saying in their public
declaration was not a denial
of outright murder. They were
disavowing any contributory
negligence on their part.
They were to say: "The victim
did not come to us hungry
and we sent him away
without food; he did not come
to us alone and we offered
him no protection; he did not
come to us friendless, and we
failed to be his friend."
The leaders were the most
respected people in the com-
munity. They represented the

Irwin Groner is senior rabbi
of Congregation Shaarey

entire city. They had to
establish their innocence, for
all society is involved in the
fate of the humblest, the
weakest, the most pathetic of
its members. If things were
otherwise, if in fact the
leaders had been able to pre-
vent the crime and had not
done so, then they would have
indeed been implicated and
Judaism recognizes the in-
terdependence of all lives. We
share responsibility for all.
We are each involved in every
wrong we have the power to
avert and fail to prevent.
As Jews in this post-
Holocaust- area, we are

Shabbat Shoftim:
Isaiah 51:12-52:12.

especially sensitive to the
issues of moral responsibility
that were addressed to all
who could have saved Jewish
lives and did not. We recall
the silence of religious
spokesmen, the indifference
of the leaders of the free
world, the death camps that
were not bombed, the escape
routes that were not opened.
How many of the leaders of
that time could say, "Our
hands have not shed this
blood, neither have our eyes
seen it?"
We turn our gaze to our
country and our age.
Crime has become
America's major problem. It
affects both the affluent and
the poor, the city and the
suburbs, the older and the
younger generations and all
the races that comprise this
The kind of city, country
and society we want is one in
which each citizen seeks
himself as part of the com-
munity, a community of con-
cerned and free and responsi-
ble people devoted to the com-
mon good.
When crime is rampant, we
should strengthen our
assumption of responsibility
for the moral standards of our
city. Like it or not, we are in-
deed involved. Justice
depends not only upon judges,
it rests upon our choices and

In 1876, according to
the Cook's Tourist Handbook,
there were about 8,500 Jews
living in Jerusalem, 4,500
Moslem Arabs and 2,500
Christian Arabs.

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