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November 16, 1990 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-11-16

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Continued from Page 6

its self-conscious intention to
be interfaith. The 21 Chris-
tians, Moslems and Jews,
each of whom has a commit-
ment to the peaceful resolu-
tion of our world's problems,
met during the late spring
and early summer to plan our
trip. While we took advantage
of the Middle East Council of
Churches office to arrange
our close to 30 interviews
with Israelis and Palesti-
nians, we specifically sought
and achieved visits with per-
sons and groups identified as
useful for such a visit by
David Gad-Harf and Sharona
These included Mapam,
Tehiya, Agudat Israel, Labor,
Likud and Efrat (a West Bank
Jewish settlement), Neve
Shalom, Yad Vashem, and the
Melitz Center for Messianic
Studies. While it is true that
David and Sharona did not
plan our agenda, we took
their suggestions seriously
and were pleased with the
I shared with Alan Hitsky
my perception that the situa-
tion is very complex and that
peace will only come when
Israel's borders are secure
and the Palestinians feel
there is justice for them. This
requires not a blind advocacy
for one against the other, but
a commitment to both. It
seems not to have served Mr.
Hitsky's journalistic purposes
or those of The Jewish News
to reflect that appreciation.
If we are to be more effec-
tive citizens of this country
and share the burden of work-
ing for peace, we will have to
want to understand each
other and not assume that a
"critical" voice is the expres-
sion of an antagonist or an
enemy. In my experience,
those who have truly cared
for me have risked sharing
critical observations in the
confidence that I might
benefit and possibly grow
I hope that those of us who
made our trip will be able to
engage others in our corn-
munity who share a common
concern for peace in the Mid-
dle East. Being discounted in
such an article only serves to
further isolate and estrange
people who need to talk with
one another.

(The Rt. Rev.)
R. Stewart Wood, Jr.
Episcopal Bishop of Michigan

`Critical Clergy'
Remarkably Thin

The headline of your Nov. 2
Close-Up story says it is about
socially-conscious Christian
clergy entering "the Middle
East fray," but the article is
remarkably thin on facts

about Bishop Wood's actual
trip: Where did his group go?
What did they see? Whom did
they talk to?
The article and pictures
seem to be window dressing
for extensive generalizations
from Rabbi Rudin — who
wasn't on the trip.
I am impressed by Bishop
Wood's statement that the
peace dialogue in Israel is
richer than it is in the U.S.
The editors of The Jewish
News should ask themselves
if they are really serving their
readers by trying to frighten
them about "liberal Chris-
tian church leaders."
American friends of Israel, if
they are true friends, must
remember that Israeli public
opinion is not monolithic.

Lois Leonard

Ann Arbor

Article Continued

Your article "Critical
Clergy" contains numerous
misstatements; eg., four
Jewish persons (not two) were
group members; Christ
Church-Detroit's membership
is one quarter second- and
third-generation Syrian
Americans, not "largely
More disturbing than the
factual misstatements was
the insinuating juxtaposition
of paragraphs about the trip
led by Bishop Wood and
paragraphs about other
"Christian" trips by people
who "don't want to deal with
Israel," only meet Israelis on
the "far left" and "don't know
how to be anti-Israel without
being anti-Jewish."
Bishop Wood's group met
with representatives from six
Israeli parties including
Likud, Labor and Tehia; and
people representing the spec-
trum of Israeli and Palesti-
nian politics and life.
The debate we observed in
Israel about what policies
would best insure Israel's sur-
vival is far more vigorous
than in America. Your article
discounts the view of Israelis
who urged U.S. pressure for
peace talks to end the occupa-
tion and provide peace and
security for Israel and the
The same issue's editorial,
"Local Denials," defends Ze'ev
Chafets' book (about Detroit),
saying critics have "respond-
ed, not to the criticism but
against the critic." I think the
article "Critical Clergy" suf-
fers from the same blind
I believe your readers
deserve a complete and ac-
curate report of the trip
Bishop Wood led, and one free
of the innuendoes against

him and Messrs. Brown,
Grossman, Simons, White
and Ms. Barlow.

Lucinda Keils

The Naivete
Of Christian Groups

Your Nov. 2 article on the
trip to Israel organized by the
Episcopalian-led group
reflected well on the naivete
of many Christian groups and
clergy. All too often these
well-intentioned and compas-
sionate people perform a
disservice to the cause of
peace because of their
preconceptions and assump-
tions which are frequently in
Much as we criticized this
trip and the agenda, it must
be noted that there is one
Episcopalian clergyman in
the Detroit area who con-
tinually is a voice of reason
and a good friend of Israel
and Jewish causes. I speak of
the Reverend Harry Cook of
Clawson. Many readers are
familiar with his column in
the Detroit Free Press where
he has often defended Israel
and taken on Christian
groups with his support of
church/state separation,
especially during the
December holiday season.
When the tour organizers
asked to speak at Reverend
Cook's church, he realized the
probable bias of their presen-
tation and invited Rabbi Ar-
nie Sleutelberg of Congrega-
tion Shir Tikvah to speak in
rebuttal, which he did along
with Sivan Maas of the Israel
Program Center. The result
was an effective response to a
very one-sided position. Just
as we criticized the state-
ments of the Jews on this trip,
so too we must also praise at
least one Episcopalian for his
enlightened perspective.
Iry Wengrow


Another Kind
Of Episocpal Priest

I thought you would be in-
terested in another kind of
Episcopalian priest: Father
Herbert Catlin, or Herb as he
is known to most people, leads
a tour to Israel every year.
The group consists of local
Bay City people and people
from a congregation in Toledo
(Father Chris Leudde).
Two years ago, five of us
Jewish Bay Cityans, in-
cluding our rabbi, went along.
I've been to Israel four times
and it was the best tour I ever
took. Herb uses an Israeli
(Jewish) guide and time is
split between Jewish and
Christian sites. He uses only
Jewish hotels.

Beth Cook

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