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July 26, 1991 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-07-26

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

EDITORIAL

Israel's Choice

The pressure on Israel from the United
States to take part in a Mideast conference
has been intense, unrelenting and, to some
degree, unnecessary.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir cannot
say "no" at this point, having been
outflanked by Secretary of State Baker and
his constellation of Arab leaders, including
Syria's Haffez al-Assad. But the Israeli
leader could have forestalled this predica-
ment by issuing a statement some weeks
ago to the effect that while the Israeli
government fully supports the right of
Jews to settle anywhere in Israel, funding
for new settlements on the West Bank
would be delayed during the current econ-
omic crisis.

This face-saving gesture would have been
economically prudent as well as diplo-
matically wise. Instead, Mr. Shamir finds
himself with little room to maneuver in a
game that, for Israel, means life itself.
Israel has always advocated direct
negotiations with its Arab neighbors as the
only solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Today, the prospect of such negotiations is
closer than at any other time, as Foreign
Correspondent Helen Davis reports on
Page 1.

It is easy for us, caught up in the drama
of this historic moment, to urge Jerusalem
to take the plunge. One might ask: why
worry about seemingly minor details — the
composition of the Palestinian delegation,
the role of the United Nations observer, the
timing for the reconvening of a conference

— when the larger issue seems to be that
the Arabs are, at last, ready to resolve
their differences through words rather
than wars.
But there are powerful reasons to be
cautious, and it is only the resolution of
detail upon detail that opens the path to
wider possibilities.
Jerusalem does not believe that Syrian
President al-Assad has been transformed
into an Anwar Sadat, or that he and his
Arab colleagues have given up their goal of
eliminating the Jewish state. And Israel is
wary of Washington's coziness with Arab
leaders and its testiness with the dem-
ocratic process in Jerusalem, not to men-
tion the administration's threat to
withhold a $10 billion loan guarantee.
Still, Israel has always yearned for peace
with its Arab neighbors, and the prospect
of direct negotiations, despite the pitfalls,
is compelling. Israel must move forward,
and make good its long-expressed convic-
tion that once talks between the parties are
held face to face, every issue is open to
discussion.
Along the way, Jerusalem has every
reason to be suspicious and paranoid.
Israel's leaders are not beholden to James
Baker or George Bush, Haffez al-Assad or
King Hussein. Instead, the Shamir
government must answer to its own
citizens, especially its youth, for that is
what democracy is all about.
We can only empathize with Israel's
predicament, support its cause and pray for
its leaders' wisdom.

LETTERS

Hidden Children
Of Holocaust

We want to give credit to
Amy Mehler for an article
written with sensitivity on
the children who were hiding
during the Holocaust (Jewish
News, July 12). However, as a
matter of record there were
some inaccuracies that need
to be corrected.
First, the statements at-
tributed to Ina Silbergleit in
regard to the "common
psychological and emotional
characteristics among child
survivors" were in fact made
by Francine Rosemberg who
had been particularly in-
terested in that aspect of the
workshops at the New York
Conference for Hidden
Children on May 27-28.
Also, Ina Silbergleit's fami-
ly stayed together for almost
a year after the Warsaw Ghet-
to Uprising and were
separated, and her ather and
brother were killed during
the Warsaw uprising of 1944.
Her mother never left her in
a convent and there were
never any questions in Ina's

6

FRIDAY, JULY 26, 1991

mind about her Jewish
identity.
Francine Rosemberg, on the
other hand, was separated
from her parents for a year
and a half, but then was
taken to a seminary in Lyon,
in southern France, where
she joined her parents in
hiding. She was not told she
was Jewish until after the
war, and the comment at-
tributed to Mrs. Silbergleit
about deciding not to wear
either a mezuzah or a cross
because her mother would not
let her wear both together
belongs to Francine.
She also made the point
that for the hidden children
there had been two separa-
tions: one from their parents;
the other from the rescuers
they had become attached to.
The effects of this had been
stressed at the New York
conference.
Finally, in relation to the
passage about hidden sur-
vivors' tendency to discount
their experience, the first
comment was stated by Erma
Gorman ("I felt I didn't
deserve to be acknowledged

because I wasn't tortured like
other Jews were"); the second
("I existed," and "I am a
human being too) was made
by Helen Bennett.
We want to thank The Jew-
ish News for helping publicize
the experiences of the hidden
children, a subject that
heretofore has not been delv-
ed into. It is important for
people to continue to learn
about the history of the
Holocaust, of which the hid-
den children are a part, and
the article is a good contribu-
tion in that direction.

Francine Rosemberg
Ina Silbergleit

The Lessons Of
Synagogue Merger

So, then what? The propos-
ed merger between Congrega-
tions Beth Achim and B'nai
Moshe will be voted on next
month. Whether the proposal
passes or fails, it will send a
message that some changes
are necessary.
If the proposal passes, it ap-
pears that there will be a suf-
ficiently large contingent of

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11

I LETTERS

the membership of Beth
Achim who are opposed to the
merger to start another con-
gregation. If the proposal
fails, the continued existence
of Beth Achim will depend on
increasing its membership. In
either case, the following
points should be noted:
A recent Jewish Federation
survey indicated a large por-
tion of the metropolitan
Detroit Jewish population
resides in the Southfield, Oak
Park and Huntington Woods
area. A Southfield based
synagogue must seek new
members from this area in ad-
dition to areas further west.
A congregation should be
able to utilize the skills and
resources of its congregants to
reduce expenses. Members
should be actively solicited for
their help and advice, and of-
fers of these would be
accepted.
Many successful congrega-
tions have frequent youth and
family programming ac-
tivities throughout the year.
They involve the entire fami-
ly, from small infants to
great-grandparents. This type
of programming must be ex-
panded to retain current and
attract new members.
Ritualistic changes regar-
ding women should be made
in accordance with the desires
of the membership, rather
than be driven by a proposed
merger. Such changes could
attract members, but should
be decided by the
congregation.
To be interested in a
synagogue, one must first
know it exists. This requires
positive exposure to the
public (by increased use of
local newspapers) to inform
and invite them to our ac-
tivities. A congregation can-
not afford to not pursue new
members.
Since a shul requires finan-
cial stability, feasible fund-

raising activities must be
planned and carried out. If
done properly, these activities
can also be used to excite the
interest of potential members.
We believe that a lot can be
learned from this entire ex-
perience. It will be a wiser,
more financially sound and
better-informed Southfield-
based synagogue that will
result.

Steven and Sherri Kass
Huntington Woods

Mr. Bush And
Jewish Settlements

Jordan, in 1948, drove out
all Jews who could flee and
killed the rest when they took
over Judea-Samaria and
Jerusalem's Old City. Its
desecration of places sacred to
the Jewish people was
obscene.
Israel, in 1967, did not drive
out the Arab population and
left Arab holy places
untouched.
Now, Mr. Bush insists it is
an "obstacle to peace" for
Jews to return to again live in
the heartland of the
4,000-year-old Jewish
homeland liberated from the
Arab occupation. His ad-
ministration demands that
Arabs, and only Arabs — no
Jews — be allowed to live
there .. .
For a real peace, little
40-mile-wide Israel should not
be made any smaller. Judea,
Samaria, Gaza and
Jerusalem must remain an
inseparable part of Israel
with its borders at the great
Jordan River rift.
Jordan must be recognized
as the Arab Palestine state,
home for all those called
"Palestinians." that to
President Bush.

Hymie Cutler
Michigan Committee
for a Safe Israel

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