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November 11, 1994 - Image 54

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-11-11

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When They Thought They Saw
Lord Byron On The Russian Streets


Q: Does Halachah make a distinc-
Bnai brit is found in one place
tion between the bracha, blessing, in the Siddur. The alphabetical
said before eating bread on Shabbat hymn, Omnam Ken, composed
and on other days of the week?
by Rabbi Yom Tov ben Yitzhak
A: No. One is
(who died in


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obligated to say
the bracha, Ha-
motzi lechem
whenever eat-
ing bread and
bread products
matzah, bagels
and pita.

Q: Did the Ger-
man writer Goethe
have anything to
do with Jews?
A: The great-

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ed on Yom Kip-
pur eve, in the
mem line con-
tains the
The B'nai
B'rith organiza-
tion was found-
ed in New York
in 1843.

Q:As an intel-
lectual heavy-
weight, I'm
enjoying watching
est of German
The Flintstones on
poets, Johan
video at *least 10
Wolfgang von Any way you cut it, the bracha is the
times each day. It
Goethe (1749- same.
would be a yabba
1832), lived in
dabba doozy of a
Frankfurt-am-Main, one of the day if Tell Me Why could come up
oldest and most active centers of with a Jewish connection to Fred and
Jewish life in Germany.

Interested in the Bible as a
A:Her name was Betty Rubble,
young man, Goethe tried to learn but the power behind the throne
Hebrew and the Judeo-German was Bea Benaderet.
dialect of the Frankfurt Jews,
Ms. Benaderet, born in 1894,
and he often went to the Frank- for years played on television as
furt ghetto. During one visit, the the agitated neighbor of George
ghetto caught fire. As
gentile youngsters
taunted and jeered
the Jews, Goethe
helped extinguish the
His view of Jews
apparently changed
through the years.
Later in his life,
Goethe opposed legis-
lation to improve the
legal status of Ger-
man Jewry.

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Markish was born in 1895 in
Volhynia in Russia. He served in
World War I, then began a career
that would lead to his reputation
as one of the country's foremost
modern Yiddish poets.
From 1921 to 1926 Markish
traveled extensively throughout
Poland, France, England and
Palestine. Among his works of
those years were poems express-
ing the suffering in the anti-Jew-
ish pogroms in the Ukraine
during the Russian civil war.
In 1926, Markish returned to
Russia, where he completed sev-
eral novels including Dor Oys,
Dor Ayn (Generation Out, Gen-
eration In), Farklepte Tsiferblatn
(Sealed Dials) and Dem Balgufs
Toyt (The Fat Man's Death).
With the death of Lenin and
rise to power of Josef Stalin,
Markish — like every Soviet
writer who wanted to stay alive
— also wrote a number of poems
glorifying the dictator, including
the truly awful Ode to Stalin,
asking the sun why it bothers to
shine "when we have Stalin."
In 1939, Markish received the
Order of Lenin.
Neither his award nor his po-
ems did him any good. In 1939,

Q: What is the origin
of the name of the orga-
nization B'nai B'rith?
A: Bnai brith (or



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bnai brit) means "chil-
dren of the covenant,"
a term for the Jewish
people. The covenant
referred to is that be-
tween God and the
Jews, as recorded in President Clinton speaks to the recent B'nai B'rith meeting in Chicago.
the Torah primarily in
Exodus 19-24.
Burns and Gracie Allen before Stalin had Markish arrested. To-
God also made individual landing the role of the voice of gether with other Jewish artists,
covenants with the patriarchs Betty on the popular cartoon. She Markish was charged with Jew-
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that died in 1968.
ish nationalism and murdered
were made the legacy of their de-
Q: Is it true there was once a fa- Aug. 12, 1952, the infamous
mous Jewish poet who bore a strik- "Night of the Murdered
scendants, the Jewish people.
Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nasi (sec- ing resemblance to Lord Byron?
Poets." ❑
A: Yes. His name was Peretz
ond-third centuries CE), redac-
tor of the Mishnah, composed a Markish, and he was said to look
prayer (recited in the preliminary so much like famed British poet Send questions to "Tell Me Why"
morning service) in which he Lord Byron that people would lit- c/o The Jewish News, 27676
refers to-a ben brit ("child of the erally stop him on the street to Franklin Rd., Southfield, MI,
comment on the resemblance.
48034 or send fax to 354-6069.

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