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December 22, 1995 - Image 49

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-12-22

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

SOCIAL

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house a temple for the Ark of the
Covenant. (Today, that area en-
compasses what is known as the
Temple Mount.) And here's
where another mystery begins.
"Of David's building activities
in Jerusalem, virtually nothing
has been recovered," Mr. Shanks
writes. "Only a few potsherds sur-
vive from the time of his reign —
and even these are not certain.
Why? What happened to the Da-
vidic buildings? Why, although
we have so much archaeological
evidence from before and after
David's time, do we have so very
little we can attribute to his
time?"
There's the archaeologists'
standard answer (you'll have to
read the book), but Mr. Shanks
doesn't find it convincing.
The Jerusalem Calendar:
1996 (Viking) features paintings,
illuminated manuscripts, maps,
textile designs and contemporary
photographs. The weekly calen-
dar notes Jewish, Christian,
Moslem and Eastern Orthodox
holy days.
Also new on Jerusalem is
Jerusalem Recovered
(Praeger), by Michael Polowetzky,
charting the relationship between
intellectuals in Victorian England
and the birth of modern Zionism.
Don't let the textbook-sound-
ing title or subject of this work
scare you away. And despite its
British connection (as we should
all know from the latest interview
with Princess Di, those Royals
aren't as stuffy as they seem),
Jerusalem Recovered is by no
means pretentious. Take this sto-
ry of a certain writer named
George.
She was born Mary Anne
Evans, then changed her named
to Mary Ann (without the "e"),
then Marian, and finally took the
pen of a man (this so her books
could be published — what self-
respecting woman would be writ-
ing a book?).
Always someone of indepen-
dent thought, Marian was pro-
foundly affected by the book An
Inquiry into the Origins of Chris-
tianity, which suggested that
characters in the New Testament
were based on real persons, but
- constituted mostly legend.
After completing the work,
Marian announced to her family
that she was leaving the Church
of England. Her parents were du-
tifully shocked, but Marian in-
formed them that "while she
admired Jesus as a great teacher,
she deplored the way in which
the issue of his godliness had
been used over the centuries as
a means of fostering religious
dogmatism and bigotry."
Marian, also known as George
Eliot, went on to have a scan-
dalous affair with a mat ied man
(which is why the Church of Eng-
land continues to refuse her re-
" burial at the famed Westminster
Abbey) and become a champion
of the Jews and Judaism.

"With an ever-increasing in-
terest in Jewish history and cul-
ture, Marian insisted on
attending services in synagogues
in all the European cities she
traveled through," Mr. Polowet-
zky writes. Among her dearest
friends was the Jewish scholar
Emanuel Menachem Deutsch.
She also was the author of one of
the most compassionate portraits
of Jews written by a gentile,
Daniel Deronda.
Predictably, British society
wasn't exactly enamored with the
work, an outspoken endorsement
of Zionism. But Marian didn't
care in the least.
ichael Berger fondly re-
calls his family's Shab-
bat meals, and how
much he liked ice skat-
ing and cross-country skiing as a
child.
His brother, Shlomo, has no
such memories. Poland, he says,
was like hell. "I remember when
we rode our bicycles out into the
countryside, the Polish kids
would run up to us to 'smell the
Jews,' as they said, and to throw
rocks at us...I have no desire to
ever go back to visit Poland. I dis
like the Poles. It's unfortunate
that I think that way, but I have
to be truthful. In Poland at that
time there were many Nazi sym-
pathizers. I am convinced that
without the Polish people's coop-
eration, Germany could not have
accomplished what it did."
Constructing a Collective
Memory of the Holocaust
(University Press of Colorado) by
Ronald Berger is the story of two
brothers, Michael and Shlomo,
who lived through the war. The
work is based on recollections of
both brothers — Michael (the au-
thor's father), who spent the war
in concentration camps, and his
brother Shlomo, who posed as a
Catholic to survive.
Unlike numerous other books
on the Holocaust, Mr. Berger's
work is a sociological, not psy-
chological, study. In telling his
family's story, he not only speaks
of how they survived but of how
their personalities and fortune
were shaped by the social struc-
ture in which they were raised.
He considers, for example, the
men's understanding of their own
responsibility for survival — and
discovers neither believed God
would intervene on his behalf.
The author also finds that
chance experiences very much ac-
counted for the two brothers' sur-
vival. They both had learned a
little German, both knew tailor-
ing from their father, and Shlo-
mo's encounter with Polish
political prisoners served what
may have been the single most
important factor in helping him
live through the war. For while
in jail, the prisoners were visited
three times daily by a priest.
Shlomo watched and learned, lat-
er using what he saw to pass as
a Catholic. El

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