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May 12, 1995 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-05-12

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

What Did The Armistice Mean?

The world's headlines report this week of mas-
sive celebrations of the 50-year commemoration
of the end of World War IL Russian President
Boris Yeltsin helped unveil a monument in mem-
my of those who died fighting the Germans. The
British paraded with vintage RAF aircraft over-
head, and President Clinton laid a wreath at the
tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
With these events of memory, however, come
chilling reminders that an armistice didn't end
the killing in Europe. Indeed, the Russian Par-
liament has opened an investigation into the cold-
blooded killing of 100 children, men and women
in the Chechen farming village of Samashki by
3,000 Russian soldiers who took the town, doused
its houses with gasoline and torched the houses
and the people occupying them.
In reconquered Croatia, a western Slavonian
village was seized last week resulting in death
and the flight of its villagers.
Serbian artillery shells killed eight more peo-
ple and wounded 40 in a suburb of Sarajevo.
President Bill Clinton is under pressure from
GOP leaders to cut back aid to Russia should
it go through with its plans to sell nuclear tech-
nology to Iran.
What is it that we're celebrating?

It seems that for some, the lessons of 50 years
haven't been learned very well and that hu-
manity even in times of contemporary "peace"
is something that can be cruel. The Russian
army's civilian victims or the Slavonian refugees
are not interested in parades or laying wreaths.
They only know that like so many millions of
1940s Europeans, they are displaced.
Helpless parents who know they cannot even
protect their own children from a sniper's bul-
let.
Yes, we can remember well, but people need
to learn also that the war might not be over. And
until we can rid the earth of ethnic killing and
leftover hatred, the armistice is sometimes noth-
ing more than ink and paper. The world seems
dangerously at peace. While that's better than
a declared war, it means that the armistice
signed 50 years ago still needs to be worked on,
perhaps worked on harder between world pow-
ers than ever.
Giving over of nuclear capability to countries
such as Iran could turn the world hostage to ter-
rorism of unknown and unsaid potential.
Again, the goal of the armistice was to bring
the world together. But the actions we're seeing
seem to be doing just the opposite.

Two Schools Need Help
From Southfield, Federation

We are hopeful that Federation can make it
So much has been written and so much has been
said over the last five years about the viability a priority of urgency to assist both schools in re-
of Southfield as a Jewish home, not only for res- locating in areas close to their current sites. For
so many years, Southfield officials have publicly
idents, but also Jewish institutions.
While we understand the need for Federation and privately talked of a need to bolster the city's
to maintain its Agency for Jewish Education fa- attractiveness to Jewish residents and institu-
cilities on 12 Mile, we also want to urge officials tions. We urge the city of Southfield to help the
to do their utmost to help both Darchei Torah two schools relocate close to their current homes.
We think it's important that the city continue in
and Akiva find new homes in the area.
Darchei Torah and Akiva are bursting at the an active way its relationship with the Jewish
seams with the need for classrooms and new- community.
There remains so much in Southfield for Jews
er, more modern facilities. Here are two insti-
tutions preferring to stay in the Southfield area. to stay. Darchei Torah and Akiva should con-
There's no talk of moving to the outer suburbs. tinue to be two of those reasons.

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Letters

Apparent
Oversight

I would like to point out an ap-
parent oversight in the May 5
Jewish News article "Shall We
Pray?" regarding the Jewish com-
munity's response to the issues
of constitutionally mandated
school prayer. It would appear as
if your article was based on the
document "Religion in the Pub-
lic Schools: A Joint Statement of
Current Law — April 1995," a
booklet released by a coalition of
34 religious and public policy or-
ganizations. In the piece in your
paper, credit was properly given
to the Anti-Defamation League
and the American Jewish Com-
mittee, but no reference was giv-
en to the American Jewish
Congress, the organization that
chaired the drafting committee
and prepared the text on behalf
of the rest of the coalition.

Please note that the Chicago of-
fice represents the Detroit metro
area, but works in conjunction
with its local representative,
Robert Brown, who can be
reached at 810-352-9080.
Joel L Rubin.
Executive Director
Chicago

Editor's Note: The Anti-Defama-
tion League's monthly newsletter
(January 1995) and the Ameri-
can Jewish Committee's Teligion
in Public Schools: What Is Per-
missible, What Is Not" (March
1995) were included among the
numerous sources and interviews
used. The American Jewish Con-
gress text was not consulted.

Judaism Prescribes
Individual Responsibility

Contrary to popular Jewish opin-
ion, it is not in the Jewish best
interest to support the continu-
ation of the "welfare state."
America, founded on the princi-
ple of individual responsibility,
which encouraged an indepen-
dent citizenry, has since become
a country whose societal premise
is dependency on government.
James Besser's assertion
("Welfare Reform's Cost To
Jews," March 31) that "it is in
everyone's best interest to use
government as an instrument of

compassion and social stability"
ignores the fact that compassion
can only be produced by individ-
ual action, not government fiat.
Ironically, the Founding Fa-
thers had a clearer understand-
ing of the Jewish Bible than do
many Jews today. Judaism was
founded on the impulse that men
were responsible for their own
actions.
The covenantal statement that
"if men do what is just and right
then all that the Torah promises
will occuf' (Genesis 18:15-17), as-
sumes free will and its ethical
corollary, individual responsibil-
ity.
Thus, the proper type of soci-
ety, compatible with Judaism, is
not a quasi-socialist welfare state,
but one founded instead on indi-
vidualism and independence
from government.
Jewish survival is predicated
on the cultivation of what Rab-
bi Steinger ("Our Jewish Sur-
vival Is Determined By Us," April
21) pejoratively labels "Jewish
parochialism, narrowness and
triumphalism," which are mere-
ly liberal code words for the
transformation of Judaism from
a particularistic religion to a uni-
versalistic one.
Thus, personal perfection is es-
chewed in favor of global tikkun
olam. And as long as this philo-
sophical predisposition results in
the perpetuation of the myth that
Judaism is primarily founded on
unconditional compassion, as op-
posed to individual responsibili-
ty, Judaism will continue its
theological, cultural and nation-
al decline.
Any legislative action which
seeks to limit the overextended
role of government in our lives
should be applauded as consis-
tent with Torah Judaism.
Marc Baker
Birmingham

Letters
Policy

Letters must be type-
written, double-spaced,
and include the name,
home address, daytime
phone number and sig-
nature of the writer.

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