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September 30, 1994 - Image 51

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-09-30

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

be entered capriciously or on a
"let's see how it works" basis.
A spouse, in Jewish tradition,
is called a "best loving friend."
However, Rabbi Yoskowitz at
Beth Achim underscores the im-
portance of first becoming a best
loving friend to oneself. "Love thy
neighbor as thyself' is often in-
terpreted as a mandate for self-

"Talk about values
rather than likes
and dislikes."

— Rabbi Herbert Yoskowitz

knowledge. It's impossible to
know and love someone else be-
fore knowing and loving oneself,
the rabbi says.
"I'm not talking about the
clothes that distinguish me as
being a doctor from a steel
worker," he points out. "I'm talk-
ing about getting to know who I
am in terms of my priorities and
values."
But even mature couples with
self-insight encounter trouble in
marriage. When deep-seated
problems develop, husbands and

wives should do their utmost
to work things out, Judaism
teaches.
Rabbi Nelson refers to a couple
close to him who started filing for
divorce, but proceedings became
mired in red tape. Legal expenses
skyrocketed along with frustra-
tions. The couple exhausted
themselves over the process of
separation.
"But their lawyers were very
happy," the rabbi says.
Finally, the husband and wife
realized they were expending a
lot of energy destroying their
bond. They decided to redirect
efforts toward resolving their dif-
ferences constructively.
"Now they're in the process of
rebuilding," he says. "I see them
together celebrating their re-
ligious moments. They spend
synagogue and Jewish time to-
gether."
Although each partner was an-
gry and resentful, they took to
heart a basic Jewish teaching:
"There's original virtue," Rabbi
Nelson says. "There's no such
thing as original sin. The genius
of Judaism is that you can re-
cover from a mistake. It's a very
optimistic faith."

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dews

EEOC Withdraws
Harassment Guidelines

Washington (JTA) — A decision
by the Equal Employment Op-
portunity Commission to with-
draw workplace harassment
guidelines widely viewed as
flawed is drawing mixed reac-
tions from Jewish groups.
The EEOC voted last week to
withdraw comprehensive racial,
gender and religious harassment
guidelines from consideration in
response to protests across the
political and religious spectrum.
Orthodox Jewish groups active
in the debate expressed "profound
disappointment" over the deci-
sion, citing the immediate need
for such guidelines. At the same
time, the American Jewish Con-
gress, the American Jewish Com-
mittee and the Anti-Defamation
League declared the EEOC deci-
sion the best resolution possible.
Most Jewish organizations
agreed, however, that new guide-
lines should be drafted.
Employers use EEOC guide-
lines to set workplace policies.
EEOC last year drafted com-
prehensive workplace harass-
ment guidelines. As part of those
guidelines, EEOC sought to de-
fine unlawful religious harass-
ment as any conduct — verbal or

physical — that "denigrates or
shows hostility or aversion to-
ward an individual because of
his/her religion." Evangelical
Christians and many members
of Congress fought the guidelines,
fearing employers would ban all
religious expression in the work
place in order to avoid harass-
ment claims.
In June, the Senate voted
unanimously to urge the EEOC
to withdraw religion altogether
from the guidelines.
Though also concerned about
the guidelines as they were writ-
ten, Jewish groups across the
spectrum, in conjunction with a
broad coalition of other religious
organizations and the American
Civil liberties Union, disagreed
that the guidelines would force
employers to ban all forms of re-
ligious expression. Thus this
coalition lobbied to have religion
included in the guidelines.
Like all federal agencies, when
the EEOC wants to propose rules
or guidelines, they are published
in the Federal Register and are
subject to a comment period by
all interested parties.
The EEOC received over
100,000 letters. ❑

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