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November 16, 1990 - Image 2

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

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

PURELY COMMENTARY

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor Emeritus

History In The Making And Preserving

M

ichigan Jewish. His-
tory Journal will
surely attract na-
tionwide attention when its
30th anniversary edition is
published toward the end of
this month.

Many Jewish communities
throughout the land have
historical societies and there
are many with journals as
their publishing organs. Few
if any have reached the record
of publishing uninterrupted-
ly for 30 years. Therefore, the
special importance of the cur-
rently awaited Michigan
Jewish History Journal.

Published by the Michigan
Jewish Historical Society —
Gilbert Borman has just been
elected as its president — the
journal emphasizes state-
wide Michigan Jewish com-
munities in special features
with emphasis on the occur-
rences in this century. The
editor of the journal, Judith
Cantor, advises us that the

anniversary issue will deal
with such important anniver-
saries as the 95th year of the
Hebrew Free Loan Society.
Dealing with the tradition as
important as Gemilut
Hassadim, already grants the
anniversary's recording of the
Detroit activities, special
significance. For many, the
listing of pioneering in the
Hebrew Free Loan is a
reminder of a district service
to the needy.

Memories of prominent per-
sonalities will be read in the
anniversary journal.

For example, there were the
pioneering founders of the
Pontiac Jewish community
and its synagogue, Joseph
and Rachel Barnett. They
and their family provide a
fascinating Michigan story.

The basic importance of the
anniversary issue, which will
make it a historically valued
text for the permanent
American Jewish archives, is

Judith Cantor

its publishing of a major por-
tion of a most valued book,
the history of the Philomathic
Debating Society researched
and compiled by Prof. Ralph
Raimi of Rochester (N.Y.)
University.

Philomathic was organized
in 1898 and functioned until

1950. Its members were
students of Central High
School. Detroit, being a com-
pact Jewish community, near-
ly all Jewish students were in
Central.
There was a discrimination
against Jewish students seek-
ing admission to the existing
Central debating society, and
the Jews formed their own,
the Philomathic.
Prof. Raimi indicates in his
Philomathic story the title
derives from "love of words."
This is an indication of the
compulsion of that time to in-
clude Latin in high school
curricula, thereby assurring
better knowledge of English.
Prof. Raimi, a native
Detroiter and member of a
prominent family here, made
every available contact to
compile a complete and ac-
curate Philomathic history.
There are experiences about
scores of the most prominent
in our community.
The 200 names of
Philomathic members incor-

porated in the book are
reproduced in the Michigan
Jewish History Journal. They
will surely be subjects of
discussion by families related
to them and in the en-
thusiasm executed by the
Philomathic name now so
well publicized.

Morton Zieve, who was
chairman of the Philomathic
50th anniversary banquet in
1948, and Reuben Levine are
among the authoritative
sources about the debating
society who are boasting
about having been
Philomathians.

To Michigan Jewish History
Journal editor Judith Cantor
goes deep appreciation for the
current edition of the
historical society's magazine
with the enriching contents,
especially the Philomathic
story. She has earned
gratitude for leadership in
striving for the establishment
of a functioning Michigan Ar-
chives.

Jabotinsky's Prophecy In Retrospect

V

ladimir Jabotinsky is
a name that will re-
main distinguished in
Zionist and Jewish history.
He was unyielding in his
demands for justice, and his
disputes with Chaim Weiz-
mann and other leaders led to
his founding of the Revi-
sionist Zionist Party from
which developed the Herut of
Israel and the premiership of
Menachem Begin.
Mr. Jabotinsky was the
militant Zionist who ad-
vocated formation of the
Jewish Army to fight for
Jewish independence. He was
a noted orator. He was a
brilliant writer and author of
important works.
Now we are treated to the
reprinting of what Mr.
Jabotinsky wrote before he
died in 1940 which was
published posthumously

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
Southfield,
Road,
Franklin
Michigan 48034

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

Vol. XCVIII No. 12

2

Nov. 16, 1990

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 1990

under the title "The War and
the Jew." It is an important
memo for pre-war archives. It
needs explaining.
It was written before
Kristalnacht in the horrible
days which led to the
Holocaust. Therefore,
whatever he wrote was either
anticipatory or condemning
of failures to aid Zionism to
help Jews escape the terrors
by settling in what was then
Palestine or failures to rescue
Jews. These intentions were
vital and needed recording.
That's what Vladimir
Jabotinsky did as published
by Altalena Press. It is cir-
culated by the Aronoff Foun-
dation, Bloomfield Hills,
Mich.
The Jabotinsky views in-
clude the demands for justice.
The famous leader also in-
cludes tributes to Polish
Jewry and analyses of aims
unfulfilled. The Holocaust
story was left for others to
write; yet the book has some
special values as a
preliminary to the record of
Nazi atrocities.
The tributes to Mr. Jabotin-
sky in a volume by
Menachem Begin, came from
Dov Shulansky of the
Knesset; Pierre Van Paassen
and Col. John Henry Patter-
son, British Commander. All
were personalities of impor-
tance in pre-war years and
afterward in Jewish and non-
Jewish ranks.

Considering the publication
of a book that has an interest
displayed by Michigan
distributors, encourages in-
troducing it. At the same
time it recalls Mr. Jabotinsky,
as a prophet in Zionism. In
1898 Theodor Herzl predicted
the emerging of the Jewish
State in fifty years. Forty
years later, Mr. Jabotinsky
predicted it would be in a
decade.
In 1938 Jabotinsky
received a letter from a
South African Jewish stu-
dent who contemplated

Vladimir Jabotinsky
is a name that will
remain
distinguished in
Zionist and Jewish
history.

suicide because of the
manifestation of anti-
Semitism at his university.
Mr. Jabotinsky's reply is
a classic in Jewish literary
annals. It attained two ob-
jectives. It rejected any
thought of suicide. It in-
spired hope in the Zionist
ideal. It predicted Israel's
rebirth in a decade .. .
Here is the text of this
historic document:
"Suicide is worse than
cowardice; it is surrender.

Try and analyze any great
or small Schweinerei in
history or in life: you will
always detect that its root
was or is somebody's sur-
render. Surrender is the
dirtiest trick in creation;
and suicide, being the sym-
bol of all surrenders, is like
a call for universal
betrayal.
"In the case of your
generation, it would also
be a silly bargain. Your
generation is destined to
see miracles and collective-
ly, perform miracles . . .
Don't get downhearted
because of butcheries go-
ing on; everything, all
forms of life and death, are
now converging towards
one end, a Jewish state,
and a great exodus to
Palestine. I think, on a very
conservative estimate, that
the next 10 years will see
the Jewish state of
Palestine not only pro-
claimed but a reality; pro-
bably less than 10. It would
be unspeakably cheap and
foolish to forego all this
because there are
Schweinereien at your
university.
"What to do? Forgive me,
but this question, always in
my practice, really means:
Can't you suggest a way in
which I, . . . should at once
become in general with a
special mission of my own?
We need privates, doing

Vladimir Jabotinsky

drab commonplace jobs,
and your age (whatever
your gifts) is a private's age.
Go to HQ and ask for drab
errands to run. We all did
it.
"Mon ami, I should be
thrilled every hour of my
wake and dream, if I had
the luck of being 20 today,
on the threshold of a
redeemed Israel and, pro-
bably, a redeemed world to
boot, no matter what but-
cheries it may cost!"
Thus, the dissenter at
World Zionist Congresses,

Continued on Page 40

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