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March 27, 1992 - Image 140

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-03-27

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1 9 4 2-1 9 9 2



The premiere issue

contained full-page


from leading




Fred Butzel, Rabbis Franklin
and Hershman, Dora Ehrlich,
Henry Wineman, Dr. Stephen
Wise, Israel Goldstein (presi-
dent of the Jewish National
Fund), Eleanor Roosevelt and
Its program and policy bold-
ly stated that: "We promise to
give our people the latest news
and historical data concerning
the Jews all over the world.
We pledge to help build up the
morale of the Jews in this war-
torn world by fostering that
spirit of brotherhood which
will assure amity and good-
will among all faiths of the
United States, the world's
greatest nation."
The paper immediately an-
nounced its principles through
its articles. The front page of
the first issue carried a
photograph of Fred Butzel,
"Michigan's First Citizen," as
head of the Allied Jewish
Campaign. Thus, the Cam-
paign and The Jewish News
began together.
The top right corner carried
the famous Minuteman
emblem for Victory Stamps
and Bonds, and the paper also
included an article on "Our
Sons in the War," and "Honor
Roll of Our Men in the Ser-
vice," which would become a
regular feature for the dura-
tion of the war.
Each issue carried news of
the Allied Jewish Campaign,
the war, Palestine and inter-
mittent struggles against
American anti-Semitism. The
Jewish News continued to
assert with explicit clarity Mr.
Slomovitz's Zionist values and
his lifelong battle against
anti-Semitism. It asserted, too,
the patriotic sentiments of
American Jews.
At the same time, the ar-
ticles received from the JTA
on the murder of the Jews in
Europe increased. As in vir-
tually all English newspapers
from 1942-44, and unlike the
Yiddish press, articles on the
catastrophe averaged 6-7 lines
and reported that Slovakian
Jews had lost their citizen-
ship; or that one Jew in
Kaunas had been shot trying
to escape the ghetto; or that
Jewish homes were marked
with yellow stars.
That Slovakian Jewry had
been all but annihilated, or
that the Jews of Kaunas
systematically massacred did
not yet reach the public. The
scope of the Holocaust re-
mained unimagined.
Even after the destruction of
the Warsaw Ghetto, a small
article of six lines, received

from the JTA in Stockholm,
appeared on page 15 stating
that the Nazis had begun "the
extermination of 35,000 Jews
in Warsaw."
More substantive were the
regular columns by William
Shirer about the war, not the
Holocaust, and the local ar-
ticles by Mr. Slomovitz. The
coverage grew, far out-
distancing the other English
papers and by the end of 1943,
The Jewish News did report
the slaughter of Jewish com-
munities in Poland, Slovakia,
Greece and Russia in more
detailed and lengthy articles.
That tragic news appeared
juxtaposed to the regular
photographs of Palestine and
Jewish pioneers in action.
By 1950, The Jewish News
had maintained regular
features like Danny Raskin's
"Listening Post" and Boris
Smolar's "Between You and
Me." It had also clearly
delineated some of its signifi-
cant editorial principles.
Education ranked among the
more important of those
In 1927, while still with the
Chronicle, Mr. Slomovitz and
several of Detroit's Jewish
educators, like Ber-
nard Isaacs and
Shloime Bercovich,
had initiated Jew-
ish Education
Month to take
place in the first
month of autumn
(Tishrei). In June,
1943, in the midst
of congratulatory
lists of religious school
graduations and confirma-
tions, The Jewish News ran
Bernard Isaacs' editorial
criticizing the status of Jewish
education in Detroit. Mr.
Isaacs did not disparage
educational institutions, but
Jewish parents who, he said,
believed themselves exempt
from learning and had become
indifferent to their children's
He sounded a motif that
would echo throughout the
history of the newspaper — a
call to educate and a
challenge to parents to renew
their Jewish commitment. In
1946, for example, Mr.
Slomovitz introduced "Jewish
Education Month 5705" by
enjoining Jewish parents to
"sincerely reaffirm faith in
the indestructibility of Israel
by restoring the Jewish
schools to a place of prime im-
portance in Jewish life."
The goal of Education
Month, he wrote a year later,

was to restore "dignity for our
children." In that article he
deplored the educational
situation of Detroit Jewish
children, revealing that some
two-thirds of them received no
Jewish education. Along with
Judge Theodore Levin, chair-
man of Federation's Educa-
tional Planning Commission,
he urged parents to enroll
their children in a Jewish
There followed a list of
names, addresses and
telephone numbers for the
United Hebrew Schools, the
Jewish Folk School of the Far-
band, the Poale Zion, Sholem
Aleichem Folk Institute,
Workmen's Circle Schools,
Yeshiva Beth Yehudah and all
the congregations as well as
the two day shcools.
Jewish education, then,
became one of the ways The
Jewish News fulfilled a service
to the Jews of Detroit. But by
far the strongest and most
persistent editorial theme per-
tained to Zionism. From its in-
ception, the paper espoused
the Zionist cause and its
values. Each issue contained
numerous photographs of
Palestine and then of Israel.
Public endorsements of
the paper and Mr.
Slomovitz came im-
mediately from
Zioninst leaders
like Abba Hillel
Silver and Dr.
Chaim Weiz-
mann, in 1942 the
president of the
Jewish Agency for
Palestine. And when Israel
became a state, the front page
of The Jewish News carried a
photograph of a pensive Dr.
Weizmann, the provisional
president of the infant state.
"We Acclaim the Reborn State
of Israel," read the banner
headline. The first five pages,
all written by Mr. Slomovitz,
detailed how Detroit Jewry
had also acclaimed the state.
In 1956, as Israel faced
another crisis, the stirring ar-
ticles and photographs in The
Jewish News, urging Detroit
Jews to "be generous in your
giving," produced palpable ef-
fect as the Allied Jewish Cam-
paign achieved its greatest
success since 1948.
One year later, in 1957,
Philip and Anna Slomovitz
traveled to Israel on a special
assignment for The Jewish
News and the Detroit Free
Press. A collection of articles
datelined from October
through December 1957, most
by Philip, appeared in a

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