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July 09, 1993 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-07-09

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

Editor's Notebook


Catching Sabbath
n Cable Television



When the Sab-
bath ended af-
ter 10 Saturday
night, the Hav-
dalah candle
was lit with the
children long
At asleep; and the
house had a
great deal of peaceful
My wife and I curled up
with something good to read,
\ and it felt especially good
' knowing that we had an ex-
tended weekend ahead of us
'with the July 4th holiday
coming up.
It was during this time that
I broke the silence in the
;house by turning on the tele-
vision. A so-called infomani-
( ac, I just wanted to check in
with CNN, as if the world
couldn't move an inch with-
out me. On the way to CNN
on the cable dial, I had to do
/)a. double-take. There on the
cable access station were peo-
ple that I know.
They were the members of
the Michigan Miracle Mission
I and this was a video of the
i / April 18-28 trip. Much has
been said and written about
r the success of this mission of
11 1 , 300 Detroit area Jews, a
")n on-soliciting mission. In
/truth, the soliciting started
, weeks after the mission end-
ed with good overall results.
There was, however, a
scene in time captured by
that video that also deserves
a follow-up. On the Friday
night we were all in
Jerusalem, the Detroiters
marched en masse from the
outhern entrance to the
Wall. It was a time of high
emotion. Men and women ap-
proached the Western Wall,
some with tears welling up.
Women covered their eyes
nd said prayers. Some
weren't sure what they
should say or pray, but that
was okay; they closed their
eyes and felt a difference. A
difference is one of the acts
that makes the Sabbath so
'Important. It's not doing what
We do the other six days of the
week; it's different.
Certainly, there were some
who might not have felt any-
(' thing that evening. For them,
'\ it was important that they
''saw what others were expe-
There was a troubling feel-
\ ing, one that still stays with
'me. Several people quite


openly said this was the first
time they had lit candles in
years, since their children cel-
ebrated bar or bat mitzvah.
Some said they remember
their bubbie covering her
eyes, and that's all they re-
membered. Why is it only the
memories of our grandpar-
ents should apply to Friday
night rituals? Why isn't it
something we can know for
ourselves? At the rate we are
going, our children aren't go-
ing to know from our bubbies
and zaydes. Maybe they'll
know from a frame or two in
a videotape.
For the past several weeks,

the waning of spirituality. For
the first time, at last year's
Council of Jewish Federations
General Assembly, break-out
groups were held covering is-
sues of spirituality. Many said
these were among the best
conversations of the entire
But these just can't be con-
versations. Lighting candles,
learning Bible, Jewish histo-
ry, Hebrew, those are all part
of our long-term mission. And
that's where all of us could
stand a little more follow-up
and follow-through. Judaism
is not a religion that ends at
age 13, starts up again when

Wm Among the

most troubling
stories I have
heard in recent
years was the
4 1989 case in-
volving Palesti-
na Isa of St.
Louis, Mo. She
was 16 years old when she
was murdered by her father,
"Die quickly, my daughter.
Die!" Zein Isa said as he
stabbed Tina six times, then
muffled her screams by plac-
ing his foot over her mouth.
Tina's mother, Maria, held
her daughter while Mr. Isa
killed her. Tina begged her for
Initially, it was reported
that Mr. Isa had murdered
Palestina because she be-
trayed Muslim tradition. She
had a boyfriend, was popular
at her high school and want-
ed to be like any other Amer-
ican teen.
But now reports just re-

also knew which of his
friends belonged to the
There are those who tell
us to take pity on the likes
of Zein Isa.
They tell us they deplore
terrorist acts, of course. But
at the same time they insist
it is not the terrorists them-
selves we should hate.
Instead, they say, we
should be encouraged to un-
derstand the roots of their
suffering. Perhaps they
were forced out of their
homes in their youth. Per-
haps they have been unable
to fmd work for years. Per-

It's a horrible but
unmistakable les-
son we learn from
the tragedy of
Palestina Isa.

Michigan contingent enters through southern gate to approach the Western Wall.

buses of Miracle Mission peo-
ple have held "reunions" usu-
ally in a social way to keep
the continuity going. At the
same time, some of those bus-
loads have been reached by
the Allied Jewish Campaign
for a contribution.
We'd like to suggest that

the faith,
won't happen.

something else not be forgot-
ten and that's the spirituali-
ty of Judaism that many
experienced for the first time
in Israel. That too needs to be
followed up.
When Shoshana Cardin,
the president of CLAL, was
in town recently she told us
that the sense of urgency for
fund raising in the Jewish
community will lessen with

we have children, ends after
they celebrate bar or bat mitz-
vah and then starts up again
in our old age.
The continuity Federation
is seeking from this commu-
nity cannot be measured only
in dollars. It's also a matter
of faith. Without the faith,
growth won't happen. Hit the
pause button on the VCR,
and let's take a long look at
the prayer at the Wall. It's
more than a photo opportu-
nity; it's the flame that burns
Sorry about the soapbox
here. Next time, the TV stays
off on Saturday night. A TV
shouldn't be turned on as rit-
ualistically as a Havdalah
candle. Still, it was interest-
ing to see a video of the Sab-
bath beginning in Israel, as
ours just ended.
Realize that the Sabbath
doesn't end for us when a tape
fades into another scene. It
continues from generation to
generation; it continues. ❑

leased by federal authorities
say this may not be the case.
Instead, they suggest Tina
was murdered so she wouldn't
talk. Zein Isa is allegedly a
member of a new Abu Nidal
outpost in Missouri.
In 1989, the State Depart-
ment labeled Abu Nidal the
most dangerous terrorist or-
ganization in the world. Abu
Nidal's group is said to have
committed more than 90 ter-
rorist acts, including the 1985
attacks at the Rome and Vi-
enna airports, which left 18
dead and 100 wounded, and a
1986 attack on Istanbul's
Neve Shalom synagogue,
where 21 were murdered.
An FBI report says that
Tina was not interested in her
Palestinian heritage and did
not approve of her father's as-
sociation with Abu Nidal. She

haps they lead a difficult
and dismal life.
Enough with the excus-
As the case of Palestina
Isa teaches us, these men
are murderers, plain and
simple. And nothing they
have experienced or suf-
fered or endured will ever
justify their murder of in-
nocent civilians.
It's a horrible but unmis-
takable lesson we learn
from the tragedy of Palesti-
na Isa: If this is what Pales-
tinian terrorists do to their
own family members, to
their own children, imagine
how they must feel about
"the enemy" — Israelis and
Jews and Zionists.
What, one wonders, are
they capable of doing to us? ❑

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