100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

January 13, 1995 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-01-13

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

ALL i Krim is •nti
i Gar A au Nom

( -

i.

elEggE HELMS

'1
4-

1 M gro hair RiM
RsarioZ

iN

THE tIREIGN

ammierreLoFFiCE

Family-Friendly Policies

Washington is buzzing with talk about "family
values" as conservative Republicans assume the
reins of power in Congress. In one sense, this
strikes a responsive chord within the Jewish
community, which is second to none in sup-
porting values and policies that lead to strong,
secure families.
With that in mind, we will be watching close-
ly to see if the talk about protecting families is
serious — or just a cynical form of political
rhetoric that could hurt the very people it claims
to revere.
Our nation's beleaguered families can cer-
tainly be helped by bolstering certain core val-
ues that have traditionally strengthened the
family. Among these are monogamy, love of chil-
dren and a selflessness that has gone out of fash-
ion in our self-obsessed age.
Such values are consistent with a Jewish tra-
dition that promotes family life, and they offer
a point of commonality between our still-liberal.
community and the conservative activists who
want to remake America in their image. But sta-
ble family life also is related to economic reali-
ties, which the new GOP leadership wants to
alter. How it does so will enormously affect our
nation's endangered families.
Welfare reform will provide an early glimpse
of Republican intentions. Most people agree that
the present welfare system fosters dependence
on government handouts that reinforce the cul-
ture of poverty. But wholesale, indiscriminate
cuts in government programs will wreak hav-
oc for many families. By slashing Aid for Fam-
ilies with Dependent Children or eliminating

food stamps, families already at the margins of
American life — and children whose only crime
is being born into the wrong family — will be
further damaged.
Reforming welfare so it provides incentives
for individuals to learn new skills and return to
the work force is a family-friendly policy. Hack-
ing away at welfare budgets or dumping welfare
programs onto states that are ill-prepared to ac-
cept them comprises shameful aggression
against families.
In November, California passed Proposition
187, which aims to deal with illegal aliens flood-
ing that state by denying them and their fami-
lies basic government services. If Proposition
187 survives court challenges, it will require
school officials to report to authorities the chil-
dren of suspected illegal aliens and bar families
from access to vital health services.
Some Republicans are talking about nation-
al legislation modeled on the California propo-
sition. While illegal immigration is undeniably
a problem in this era of diminished economic op-
portunity, lashing out against illegal immigrants
and their children belies today's pious rhetoric
about family values.
The new Republican leaders are right in ad-
dressing these and other long-neglected prob-
lems. But the onus is on them to demonstrate
their concern for families by ensuring that the
painful changes that await us are carried out
with sensitivity and with genuine concern for
the young, the disadvantaged and the helpless
among us.

Good Environment

It's amazing what a new setting in a new coun-
try can do for a minor Jewish holiday. Ws called
Tu B'Shevat, known as the New Year of the
Trees.
Many have heard of Tu B'Shevat, which be-
gins Sunday at sundown. Fewer remember what
it's about.
Some adults remember this Jewish arbor day
as something from those long-forgotten Hebrew
school years. They recall singing a few Hebrew
• tunes while sticking tiny hands into gooey plas-
• = tic bags filled with dates, carob, raisins and al-
monds.
(/) An abbreviated history that brought them the
• healthy snacks goes like this: Tu B'Shevat, the
15th day of the Hebrew month Shevat, started
= as an agricultural holiday. In the 16th centu-
• ry, Jewish mystics in Safed created a seder, or
Li holiday meal and service, for the commemora-
'21 don.
= Earlier this century, it was a time to focus
on buying trees for Palestine and then Israel.
Now, as ecological concerns continue to height-
en, people add twists such as recycling garbage.

LU

4

In doing so, they are also confirming some im-
portant messages about being an American Jew
toward the end of the 20th century.
First, Jewish holidays can have powerful mod-
em meanings. This is exhibited in Tu B'She-
vat seders, which cull the Midrash to find Jewish
justification for ecological sensitivities.

Tu B'Shevat packs a powerful
modern message.

Second, the scope of the Jewish calendar calls
for celebrating much more than the big four:
Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Chanukah and
Pesach. There are many significant and beauti-
ful observances, such as Tu B'Shevat, between
these opportunities of Jewish celebration.
Third, what is learned in Jewish day schools
or afternoon schools has a purpose. It prepares
one for a life of Jewish activity.
That's not a bad package of lessons from a mi-
nor holiday. Happy Tu B'Shevat.

Letters

Wise
Decision?

Shame on you Temple Emanu-
El. With all the current research
and the worries over Jewish con-
tinuity, you eliminate one thing
you had going for you, a profes-
sionally trained Jewish educator,
Ira Wise.
Consider that research has
shown the future of our children
is in the finest Jewish education
that can be offered, both formal
and informal. You had an edu-
cator who offered a combination
of both and knew how to inte-
grate them.
Shirley Barish
Houston, Texas

Great Hope
For Peace

Like the rest of the Jewish corn-
munity, I watch with great hope
as developments unfold in the
Mideast peace process. I have
waited most of my adult life to
see Israel living in peace with its
neighbors. Now that dream is
closer than ever.
However, with each historic
step in the current peace process,
debate rages in our community
— is this the right thing for Is-
rael to do? Is it too dangerous?
Are the Israelis unwise to con-
cede this point or accept that pro-
vision?
With so many reasons to dis-
agree with the process, why
should we support it? Because we
owe it to ourselves as Jews, to our
friends and brothers in Israel and
to our children to recognize the
importance of this opportunity.
We need to face our own fears
and recognize that this long and
difficult process is a watershed
for the region and for our people.
We have hoped for and
dreamed of peace in Israel for
decades. Those looking for the
current diplomacy to result in a
quick, nearly contained peace
package are unrealistic. We are
early on in a process that involves
not just the statesmen, but the
citizens of several religious eth-
nic groups. It involves not only
Jews in Israel, but those in the
Diaspora as well, not only Pales-
tinians in the territories, but Is-
raeli Arabs, and Druze, too. It
will without doubt change the
lives of the millions of people in

the region; it has the potential to
improve the lives of many more.
And peace would bring a rad-
ical improvement. I have had the
privilege of watching Israel grow
for 46 years. Its desire for peace
has been matched only by its de-
termination to be strong and se-
cure. The greatest regret of the
Israeli people since 1948 has
been that their neighbors forced
them to sacrifice sons and daugh-
ters in so many wars, instead of
allowing them to live in peace.
After so many years of struggle
and pain, I can understand the
waves of optimism, fear, anger
and hope that have swept over
the Israeli people in the last year.
But we must acknowledge
that in the face of enormous
risks, Israel is showing remark-
able courage. We cannot clear the
path for Israel, nor give explicit
directions to its leaders, despite
our intimate connection to Israel
and our concern for its future.
The decisions and their conse-
quences are the responsibility of
Israel's leaders and voters. What
we can do is remain unified in
our support of Israel's efforts as
a whole. Establishing the initial
dialogue and implementing sub-
sequent agreements with its
neighbors requires all the
tremendous emotional and diplo-
matic resources of Israel. We are
part of those resources. By stand-
ing with Israel every step of the
way, we strengthen it. We must
give the process a chance, let the
journey proceed, and continue
our prayers that Israel will
achieve a safe and secure peace.
Max M. Fisher
Franklin

Cheder Story
Questioned

The report captioned "Lubavitch
Face Assault and Battery
Charges" (Dec. 30) is shocking.
The facts are, quite simply,
that a strapping young man (who
happened to be black) threw a
rock through the closed window
of a cheder classroom, smashing
the window. The children saw
him running away and identified
him, but the teacher was unable
to do anything more. The next
day this young man returned,
again threw a rock at the win-

CHEDER STORY page 26

Back to Top

© 2020 Regents of the University of Michigan