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Raising The Curtain
On JN Entertainment
Metropolitan opera tenor Kurt Baum was mak-
ing an appearance in Detroit to sing both in He-
brew and in Yiddish. The community,
meanwhile, was preparing for a performance by
violinist Bronislaw Huberman at the Masonic
Temple. Yiddish theater actress Molly Picon had
also made a Detroit area appearance. After an
absence of nearly four years, the former Baron
Munchausen (Jack Pearl) returned to the "air-
waves" as "Alias the Baron."
The time when all of these events happened
was in the fall of 1942. We know, because The
Jewish News, not then a year old, carried stories
of the events. A newcomer on the scene, Danny
Raskin was writing his column, then called "Jew-
ish Youth's Listening Post."
Fifty years later, the names are Elton John,
Jeff Kline, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum
and Bailey Circus, Shear Madness. The subjects
are trendy, with stops in coffeehouses, Rave clubs,
and even country music.
Through it all there's a continuum. Jews love
to entertain and to be entertained. Jews are in-
volved in the arts, both as artists and patrons.
That love for entertainment takes us from the
DeRoy Theatre to the Fisher to east side come-
dy bars to the DIA to the basement Rave scene.
We begin in this issue JN Entertainment, an
extensive breakthrough in the way we cover and
present arts and entertainment to you. Now,
there's another reason to read The Jewish News.
You'll still learn about Israel, local issues of im-
portance, features, obits, weddings, engagements
and births. Now we can learn together when
Joseph is opening, about the new trend in alter-
native rock or how to do a line dance at a coun-
try western bar.
Strike One, Yitzhak,
In Israel-Diaspora Debate
On the one hand, you can't fault Israel Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin for his recent remarks
to American Jewish leaders and Israeli diplo-
mats in this country. The gruff, veteran Zionist
soldier was espousing the philosophy on which
he was reared, and he was reflecting the senti-
ments of many other Israeli leaders: American
Jewry must lobby on behalf of the Israeli gov-
ernment's policies and should focus its financial
support of Israel on immigration and absorption.
Further, in those spheres, he said, American
Jews do not do enough.
Mr. Rabin's comments came only hours after
he and Palestine Liberation Organization leader
Yassir Arafat initialed the Oslo II document. 'We
are ashamed that you are not partners," he re-
portedly told about 200 American Jewish lead-
ers. "You argue with us on issues that are not
important, but you don't help us on these im-
Many of those who were present have spent
decades raising funds and lobbying on Israel's
behalf. Most applauded when Mr. Rabin lashed
out at his American Jewish critics, but all were
stung by the tone and timing of his remarks.
But the real bomb fell the next evening. "We
are partners (with American Jewry, in one thing,"
he told Israeli diplomats serving in America, "sav-
ing Jews and absorbing them in Israel, nothing
These are strange comments from Mr. Rabin,
a long-time proponent of close relationships be-
tween Israel and American Jews. This stems
from his tenure in the early 1970s as Israel am-
bassador to the United States and the resulting
0 ties with numerous American Jewish leaders.
Most of what Mr. Rabin accomplished by his
remarks last week is negative. His friends are
hurt. His enemies have had their view of him as
a truculent, uncaring Jewish leader vindicat-
Such statements from Israel's leader, from
whom many Diaspora Jews seek inspiration, are
as shocking as they are absurd. They insult the
many American Jews who have moved to Israel
— who are not all right-wing zealots. They sweep
aside the hundreds of millions of dollars a year
that American Jews do send to Israel. And they
ignore the more than $3 billion dollars a year in
U.S. humanitarian aid for Israel, monies that ar-
guably would not be forthcoming without the lob-
bying of U.S. Jews.
Mr. Rabin is entitled to his views. He has a
right to tell critics that they are wrong; he does
not have a right to silence them, particularly
when they espouse views encouraged by others
in the Israeli political spectrum.
Mr. Rabin could have chastized American Jews
to do more by passionately arguing as to why
they need to do more, not by hitting them on the
head when they face increasing opposition with-
in their own communities.
If there is a partnership at work here, then
American Jewry and Israel should have a healthy
debate over Israel's policies. If Mr. Rabin wants
to start a dialogue about the potential damage
of public criticism toward his government and
the role of American Jews in the state-building
aspiration of the Jewish people, that should be
welcomed. However, he should heed how he
crafts that discussion. And because this time he
did not do so, all Jews were losers
Celebrating In Suburbia
With An Israeli Sukkah
DR. MARK SMILEY SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS
he sukkah which I assem- tion. While it is true that the re-
ble in my suburban back ceiving of Torah and its codes
yard was originally pur- may have organized and set ide-
chased in Israel. It was al goals for our people, the process
bought in the Machanei Yehu- was well under way with Moses
da Market in Jerusalem during in the desert.
Thus the sukkah was where
the first year of my three-year fel-
lowship at the Hebrew Universi- the Jewish people began to see
ty. Our sukkah lanetzah, eternal the possibilities of a holy society,
Sukkah, consisted of interlocking a place where Jewish values and
metal poles that were wrapped ideals could inform daily life. And
with a plastic canvas. Our where kings, prophets and priests
sukkah, which barely fit on our would govern a nation.
We in the Diaspora need to
fourth-floor balcony, overlooked
some of the hills of Jerusalem ponder the issue concerning who
with a clear view of the Israel we are as a nation and a people
Museum, the Knesset and the in our own sukkah booths. We
need to ask: What is the value of
Valley of the Cross.
I am one of those thousands of a Jewish state? A Jewish army?
North American Jews who has A Jewish society in Israel? In ad-
tasted the beauty of the holiday dition, we need to talk of our re-
of Sukkot in Israel. Anyone who lationship as American Jews to
has purchased an Israeli sukkah Israel, the Jewish national home.
The sukkah may be the best
has found the Israeli sukkah to
be a meaningful reminder of our place to plan one's family visit to
connection to the State of Israel. Israel. Is the trip a family visit?
Last year I extended the in- A mission? Celebrating a week-
terlocking metal poles to expand long holiday such as Passover,
the size of our suburban sukkah Sukkot or Chanukah? Or maybe
and to accommodate some guests it is time to plan a summer or a
and my growing family, rather yearlong family sabbatical in Is-
than starting from scratch (the rael. If we are to be intellectual-
thought of a wooden sukkah like ly honest, shouldn't the sukkah
the ones my wife and I grew up be the place for sharing with our
with was enticing). I insisted on children our view of aliyah and
maintaining the original poles the responsibility one has to the
and canvas in the new design. We people of Israel?
Truthfully, this obligation of
also kept our photo album in the
sukkah to remind us of our old understanding the holiday of
sukkah and the precious memo- Sukkot as "the time of our be-
ries of earlier periods of our lives. coming a nation" probably has
The holiday of Sukkot is also similar, yet different implications
named the "Search of Great Joy," for those celebrating in Israel.
The difference is that, in Israel,
celebrating the sojourn in the
desert and its accompanying har- these questions will be asked by
vest festival in the land of Israel. those who share part of the dai-
I suggest that the holiday should ly responsibility of being a citizen
also be understood as z'man and resident of the JeWish State.
This year I will use my Amer-
hakamat amainu, the time of our
becoming a nation, as Sukkot cel- ican sukkah, made in Israel, and
ebrates the period of our nation- incorporate the value of the
sukkah as "the time of our peo-
Indeed, the period of the wan- ple becoming a nation." May this
dering in the desert was also the Sukkot bring joy and happiness
period of the development of the to us in the Diaspora and espe-
national elements of our culture. cially to those in Israel who have
While our ancestors lived in the been granted a time of great joy,
sukkah, they began the process happiness, peace and tranquili-
of becoming a people and a na- ty. ❑