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December 03, 1993 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-12-03

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

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A Gift Of Chanukah Unity
From All The Children

Over 500 Chanukah contest entrants!
Our 25 winners are featured in today's Jew-
ish News. And later this month, all of the art work
will be on display through the end of Chanukah
at the Jewish Community Center's Jimmy Pren-
tis Morris facility in Oak Park.
Of course, everyone who turned in an entry
wins. As long as there is at least one entry, we all
win. There's been a great deal written, taught and
said about Chanukah, about how it's become used
too much to fill the void created by the Decem-
ber frenzy of Christmas.
This is also a time of the year when we seem to
give more and pay more attention to those who
would, otherwise, go without. People fill grocery
bags for the hungry, we volunteer in soup kitchens,
buy clothing and toys for the needy, especially for
children, so they shouldn't go without.
For those who can give, it feels good. It's as some
would say "what this holiday is all about."
But here's the difficulty. Hunger, being with-
out toys, without clothing isn't just a November-
December condition. Social service professionals
know all too well that families are more prone to
ending up on the street during the wanner months
of the year than in December. Domestic violence
cases rise with the temperatures. The need for
good nutrition and the security of a new stuffed
animal for a child is as important in April as it is
in December.
Popular culture, the Americanization or rather
the assimilation of charitable giving or caring

focuses our warmth on December. Maybe we need
to run a poster contest on the cover several times
a year so we don't forget that as individual Jews
and as a community of Jews our responsibility to
be a light unto the world does not start nor does
it end in December.
Community? How about seeing Judaism as a
civilization, a continuance. The holiday of
Chanukah is a small but important part of that
civilization, that continuance. Indeed, how many
times have we talked about the difficulty of
bringing Jews of different backgrounds, different
educational levels together? The truth is, it's very
difficult. There's still a great deal of energy placed
in our own Detroit Jewish community on differ-
ences, instead of what we have in common.
In this issue are posters from children of vary-
ing age groups and backgrounds. Some are
Orthodox; some are Reform; some are unaffiliated.
All are together, drawing about the same theme.
There is some light to feel here in these pages, and
when the 523 are displayed at JPM, the commu-
nity can be proud.
This is the civilization of Judaism without dif-
ference, without condition, at a level of unity.
Our gift this Chanukah is that our children,
through their art work, showed us how to reach
that level.
That unity should flicker with strength and
warmth, not just in December when custom
dictates it, but throughout the year. El

A Mickey Mouse History
Will Make The Past Fictional

History has always been rewritten, whether by
the victors, the losers or the revisionists who chal-
lenge the accepted versions of what has been
written about the past. But a current approach
toward history has now gone too far:
The past, no matter how gruesome or shame-
ful, has become yet another commodity in the
market-driven culture of the West. It has become
something to be hustled and sold and promoted
by hucksters who wrap themselves in the smooth
veneer of $1,000 suits and in data from the latest
focus groups.
ci)
The evidence is not encouraging:
w
• In Poland, the Wolfs Lair, the Nazis' Eastern
Front command post during World War II is being
converted into a theme resort. The hotel's staff
will dre ss in replica uniforms of the Luftwaffe and
11/ the Wehrmacht, and there will be dancing nightly
1— at "Hitler's Bunker Disco."
,7,
• In Germany, an amusement park with the
theme of East Germany under Communism is
being built near Berlin. "Bartenders" and "chain-
L ° bermaids" will double as mock agents of the secret
police. Visitors overheard criticizing the "govern-
' merit" will be thrown into "jail."
• In the United States, the Walt Disney Corn-
pany has announced it will build a giant park with

,

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4

an American history theme in Manassas, Va.
Slavery, industrial capitalism, the battles over
civil rights and the Vietnam War will all be de-
picted, say Disney officials, with a realistic
verisimilitude. But with Mickey, Donald and Goofy
serving as visitors' maitre d's through our some-
times glorious, sometimes ignoble past, one must
wonder just how "real" Disney's America will be.
By letting the marketplace become the medium
through which history — or, at least, a version
of history — is transmitted, the past is being tar-
nished, corrupted and given no more inherent
value than a hamburger at MacDonald's or a
stereo at Circuit City. History, now an item to
be exchanged, swapped, traded and sold, is being
neutered of values, lessons and potency.
To turn a Nazi command post or American labor
history into grist for some accountant's bottom
line is to demean all it represented, whether it was
represented decency or evil (for even evil has a
certain sanctity, and this, too, can be demeaned.)
Worst of all, bottom-lining and sanitizing the
sorrows and the pains and the dreams of those
who came before us means that we must be pre-
pared for the strong possibility, as did philosopher
George Santayana, that what preceded us may
yet be replicated in the future. ❑

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Opinion

The Brady Bill
And Gun Control

Protecting Freedom

Halting The Slaughter

RUTH LITTIVIANN STAFF WRITER

KIMBERLY UPTON STAFF WRITER

S

omething just doesn't
make sense. .
America already has
gun controls — more
than 20,000 if you add up all
state and federal laws. But odd-
ly, gun-related fatalities in the
United States have not de-
creased with more legislation.
In fact, they've increased.
For instance, when Congress
passed the Gun Control Act of
1968, America's murder rate
was 6.9 per 100,000 people. By
1992 it had risen to 9.3 per
100,000 people. Twenty-five
years ago, 5,245 homicides in-
volved handguns. That com-
pares to 12,489
last year, ac-
cording to the
Federal Bu-
reau of Investi-
gation's
Uniform Crime
Reports.
Given these
facts, it is logi-
cal to suspect
that gun con-
trols have not
helped reduce
crime. Is it,
therefore, so
crazy to won-
der 'why Con-
gress passed
the Brady Bill
last month?
At best, a five-day waiting
period is useless. At worst, it
will only exacerbate the prob-
lem. Here's why: Innocent, re-
sponsible citizens will
encounter more red tape when
trying to buy a weapon for self-
defense. In effect, they will lose
ground to criminals, who rarely
obtain firearms through legal
channels.
Criminals will buy guns off
the streets, thereby bolstering
the already crime-ridden un-
derground market; innocents

PROTECTING page 8

G

uns scare me. And they
should scare you, too.
As a long-time advo-
cate of gun control and a
ban on assault weapons, I am
a staunch supporter of the
much talked about Brady Bill,
which creates a federal law
mandating a five-day waiting
period for the purchase of hand-
guns.
The law has an expiration
date of four to five years —
which is conceptually enough
time to allow law enforcement
agencies to properly update
computerized systems for
background checks.
Michigan al-
ready has a
system in place
for checking
potential gun
owners, which
may — or may
not — exempt
the state from
enforcing
Brady. In the
meantime,
some bills to
strengthen gun
control here
are expected to
surface early
next year in
the Michigan
Senate.
These bills call for a
statewide ban on the sale of as-
sault weapons and make adults
liable for casualties attributed
to children who use their guns.
"The majority of people don't
want to be confronted by an
AK-47 while driving up 1-75,"
explains state Sen. Lana Pol-
lack, D-Ann Arbor, also a mem-
ber of the year-old state group,
Enough-Is-Enough: Women
Against Gun Violence.
Ms. Pollack and other gun
control supporters believe the
Brady Bill makes a statement
HALTING page 10

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