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March 01, 1996 - Image 42

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-03-01

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

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Save The Last Dance
For Charles

The Jewish actor with whom Greta Garbo took her last swingin' steps.

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Q: My grandfather used to attend
a synagogue he and everyone else
called "the Sephardi shut." The
thing is, neither my grandfather nor
any other member of the synagogue
was Sephardi — and I know that
Sephardim do not call their syna-
gogues "shuls." Do you have any
idea why this Ashkenazic synagogue
was called Sephardi?
A: Your grandfather's congre-

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were added to the formal name
of the congregation as an indi-
cation of their liturgy, not their
ethnic origin.

Does Tell Me Why know anything
about this?
A: That's the story, anyway,

according to actor Charles Ko-
rvin.
Korvin was born in 1912, the
son of a German father and a
Jewish-Hungarian mother.
'When my father married a Jew-
ish girl the family became very
distant," Mr. Korvin said in an
interview for Whatever became
of.... "But when his brother mar-
gation was called Sephardi be-
ried the Jewish girl's sister there
cause its services were
was a complete break."
conducted according to Nosach
In 1929, Korvin left Hungary
Sephard, the Sephardic liturgy.
and eventually ended up in the
To complicate-things even more,
Nosach Sephard is not really her? she got turned into a pillar United States. He appeared on
Sephardic; it is an Ashkenazic of salt) might take issue with stage and in radio shows before
liturgy based on the rite of the this, but Tell Me Why has dis- landing a contract with Univer-
covered the Bible daes indeed sal Studios. Though few of his
Sephardim.
movies are known today, he
The grouping, order and pro- 2
did co-star in a number of
cedure of prayers we identify as
films with actress Merle
liturgy historically can be traced g
Oberon. These included
either to Eretz Yisrael or Baby-
Temptation (1946) and
Ionia. With notable exceptions, 1,-
Berlin Express (1948).
•Ashkenazic Jewiy prays accord- c.
Korvin, who spent much
ing to the ancient traditions of
of his retired life in Switzer-
Eretzrsrael ("Palestinian"), and
land, reports that he like-
non-Ashkenazic Jews according
ly was the last person ever
to the traditions of ancient Baby-
to have danced with Ms.
lonia. The liturgy of the Ashke-
Garbo.
nazim is known, appropriately
"It was just once around
enough, as Nosach Ashkenaz.
the floor after dinner," he
There are other liturgies, many
said. "But she swore to me
based on local traditions.
Nosach Sephard owes its ori- Jordan's Minister of Tourism, Mohammad al- she hadn't danced in a long
time and never would
gin to the Chasidic movement. Edwan, with Israel's Tourism Minister, Uzi
Drawing much of their philo- Baram, visit the Dead Sea: Is all salt created again."
sophic interpretation of Judaism equal?
Q: I've been curious for
from mystical sources, in the
years
about
Moses' stick — you
have
a
great
deal
to
say
about
mid-1700s the Chasidim adopt-
salt

much
of
it
in
a
positive
know,
the
one
that turned into a
ed the liturgy of the influential
16th-century Kabbalist Yitzhak context. Salt was, for example, snake. For crying out loud, I can't
ben Shlomo Luria (son of an included in all sacrifices. (The believe it was just made out of or-
Ashkenazic father and a Sephar- Temple even had its own salt dinary wood like my dining-room
di mother). He was known as chamber). Elisha cleansed the
Ha-Ari, an acronym based on waters of Jericho by tossing salt table, although actually, I think my
Ha-eloki rabbi Yitzhak ("the di- into them. And salt ; s an essen- table is one of those particle-board
vine rabbi Yitzhak"). The basic tial ingredient in ke thrut, as it things. You know. The kind of fur-
structure of Luria's liturgy is is used to help absorb blood.
niture you would be proud to pass
Salt also is hip these days
Sephardic, but it includes many
on
to your grandchildren. Anyway,
Ashkenazic features. In the late thanks to its supposedly cura- what's the story behind Moses'
tive
powers,
as
found
in
the
1700s, Shnuer Zalman of Lyady,
the first Lubavitcher rebbe, pub- Dead Sea. You can find pricey stick?
A: The rod, which did indeed
lished his own edition of Luria's bottles of the stuff in pricey
rite, which thereafter was stores; pour it into your bathtub turn into a snake (then back into
known as Nosach Ha'Ari. The and it reportedly eases away a rod again), was said to be made
of a branch from the Garden of
liturgy of the Sephardim them- aches and pains.
Or, you could just dump half Eden's Tree of Knowledge. On
selves generally is referred to as
a salt shaker into your bathtub. it was written God's name, the
Minhag Sephard.
Synagogues known as It might not be as exotic, and 10 Plagues and the names of the
"Sephardic shills" were founded we've' never seen packages ad- patriarchs, matriarchs and the
by European Jews of Chasidic vertising its curative powers, but 12 Tribes of Israel. ❑
origin who might or might not just think of the money you'll
have continued their affiliations save!
Send questions to "Tell Me Why"
in America, but did maintain
Q: It seems I once heard that the
their prayer traditions. In many last person to dance with Greta Gar- c/o The Jewish News, 27676
Franklin Rd., Southfield, MI
cases, the words Anshei Sephard
bo was an actor of Jewish origin. 48034 or send fax to 354-6069.

Q: Every time I turn around I hear
something else bad about salt. First
it was meat, then white flour, then
coffee, now salt. Before long there's
going to be nothing edible that's
good for us except eggplant, and I'm
not eating eggplant.
Look, I love salt. I crave salt.
Please give me some good news
about salt.
A: Well, Lot's wife (remember

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