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January 06, 1995 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-01-06

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

OK, Folks, It's Over,
Time To Get Back To Work

It seems like, since Chanukah, everyone in our
metro area put his phone on hold, left the voice
mail on guard and headed for this void in life
known as "the holidays."
Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 are big days on the national
and local calendar. But Jan. 3, that's when we
were to begin anew. That is, once we shoveled
our way through heaping piles of "while you were
out" pink slips, clogged voice-mail tapes and, of
course, that coffee-stained "to do" list dated Dec.
22 that still hasn't been attended to.
It would be difficult enough if life stopped only
for the secular society. Even in the Jewish world,
though, everything seemed to be placed on hold
or forgotten at a rest stop on South 1-75.
Time to remember that the issues we left on
that "to do" list are still there to tackle.
Renewed concerns over church-state issues,

intergroup relations, especially between blacks
and Jews, money to educate our children and
now a heightened sense of tension in Israel's
northern security zone. None of these issues,
each one critical, has gone away because of a
week of national holidays.
So, while who won the Orange Bowl and who
was invited to the New Year's party was "im-
portant," the journey of our people continues into
this new year.
It's time to get on with the passions of Jewish
life right away. Whether that hot button is feed-
ing the Jewish hungry, resettling emigres, set-
ting up business in Tel Aviv or just plain working
on your child's aleph-bet or your own spiritual
growth. Dayenu (enough) with the holidays. The
urgency never went away. It's time to move for-
ward.

Letters

Importance Of
Organ Donation

encourage the "Gift of Life."
David M. Techner
The Ira Kaufman Chapel

I want to commend Jennifer
Finer and the Jewish News
for the article written about
Dani Brenner and Erik
Morganroth titled "Stories
of the Heart: Two Families
— Two Sides of Organ Do-
nation."
The importance of this ar-
ticle cannot be overstated for
it not only served to inform
your readers of two families
in crisis, but it also served
as a vital tool to educate the
Jewish community about
the appropriateness of organ
donation.
As a funeral director, I so
often hear misconceptions
and inaccuracies as to Ju-
daism's position on this sub- Erik Morganroth

Rethinking
A Moment

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Dani Brenner

ject. If there could have been
any greater tragedy than that
faced by Rick and Judy Bren-
ner, it may have been in miss-
ing an opportunity to make
something positive out of such
a senseless tragedy.
The support and encourage-
ment that both the Brenners
and Morganroths have un-
doubtedly received as a result
of your article must be over-
whelming. However, the edu-
cation you have provided the
Jewish community will serve
as a valuable tool to ensure that
whenever tragedies such as
this occur, the compassion and
wisdom of our faith will always

In your editorial (Dec. 16) re-
garding a moment of silence, you
ask rhetorically if a moment of si-
lence would deter a drug push-
er or addict, or a young girl, from
getting pregnant. Your conclu-
sion is that a moment of silence
serves no purpose. You seem to
feel that religion should be "prac-
ticed" at home or in a house of
worship, etc.
First and foremost, I ask, from
where should a young person de-
velop a commitment toward val-
ues taught if not from an
awareness of a Supreme Being?
Furthermore, if school is not a
place for organized meditation,
would it not be seen as a place
one can escape from the bonds of
a religious morality? Indeed that
is precisely what modern social
scientists wish to produce. They
wish Western society to be
purged from any vestige of reli-
gion, to be replaced by atheistic
humanism. Indeed, they have no
qualms about teen-age pregnan-
cy as long as abortion is available.
The concept of abstinence as a re-
ligious value is not to be deemed
worthy of a second thought.
The truth is that if God exists
in the home, God is present in
school. Only through the aware-
ness of a Supreme Being who
makes demands upon man for

truth, justice and responsibility
can we hope to have young peo-
ple who make decisions against
passion and peer pressure. Also,
it is sufficient if only one child
were to be influenced by a mo-
ment of silence.
Furthermore, even a human:-
ist can use the moment to reflect
upon his or her value system to
reinforce it at the onset of school.
The reason this is most effective
in school is because school is seen
as the environment of the child,
as opposed to home which is the
domain of the parents. If the child
begins with thoughts of his val-
ue system and how he should
conduct his day by it, then many
decisions in the day would be in-
fluenced by this thought.
Thoughts are powerful. Ideas,
not machines, drive civilizations
through the people inspired by
them. The absence of a moment
of silence creates a vacuum in the
values of the child in the child's
own arena of growth. A child ex-
isting in an amoral secular envi-
ronment is more apt to make a
wrong decision than one who has
thought about his value system
and its ramifications in his life.
Thoughts inspired Napoleon
to conquest. A fit of hatred drove
Hitler to genocide. Could not a
thought of virtue drive many
young people to wondrous
heights?
The best time for these ideas
are at the beginning of the day
when the mind is fresh and un-
encumbered. It is also better to
do so with others so as not to
think that having values makes
one "weird." Furthermore, by do-
ing this silently, no alienation of
minorities would occur, since
everyone can do the same thing
at the same time in his own, pri-
vate way.
Absent this moment of silence,
school is a environs driven only
by materialistic goals and func-
tion alone. With no ideals to in-
spire other than the spirit to
make it big or succeed, the child
is no more than a sophisticated
animal learning to master sur-
roundings. If that is the case,
then there exist other alterna-
tives that seem to allow better
mastery of one's future. Drug
dealing is more richly rewarding
than a high school diploma in the
short run. Promiscuity is sensu-
ally more rewarding than rela-
tive prudishness. The environs
of the child become governed by
other laws and mores rather

than the ones we seem to agree
are universal. A moment of si-
lence speaks to each child loud
and clear. This is not a jungle.
There are values to be adhered
to. There is a Supreme Morality
and Being to answer to. There
are greater goals to reach than
having some clothes and some
crack cocaine.
Rabbi Chaim Moshe Bergstein
Farmington Hills

Understanding
Church-State

Why is such a simple concept as
the separation of church and
state so difficult for people to un-
derstand? Why are there such ef-
forts to interpret a philosophy
that could not be more direct in
its meaning and so simple in its
implementation?
Now that the holiday season
is past we have another year to
reflect on the role we have both
as Jews and as American citizens
in a free country.
The renewed interest from
some corners in bringing prayer
back into the public schools, and
the annual struggle many pub-
lic-school parents endure in
shielding our children from at-
tempts to bring "the holidays"
into the classroom, warrant con-
tinued efforts to ensure that all
public schools teach religious
freedom as guaranteed by the
Constitution, and not religion.
When does an attempt to ex-
pose public-school children to re-
ligion cross the line and violate
the separation directive? At the
point one makes the decision to
make the attempt. Some argue
that as long as each religion is
given "equal time," no harm is
done. However, there can never
be equal time because each
teacher will unintentionally bring
his own biases and his own inner
beliefs to the topic. The subtle
emphasis of one religion over an-
other will send signals to im-
pressionable minds that one
religionmay in fact be superior
to another.
The celebration of Jewish hol-
idays in a public school that is
100 percent Jewish would be as
wrong as the celebration of Chris-
tian holidays in a public school
that is 100 percent Christian.
That is why it is important that
we not be dragged into the equal-

.

CHURCH-STATE page 8

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