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May 17, 1996 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-05-17

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

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Hammers, Saws, Nails And Sweat:
It's A Jungle Gym Out There

Three years ago, one of this community's proud-
est moments was literally built from the ground
up.
That's when we came together with hammers,
saws, nails, sweat and a great deal of "elbow
grease" on a hot July 4-weekend Sunday to build
the Weinberg Playground at the JPM JCC.
There, the most Orthodox worked alongside the
most secular; women with their heads covered
and men with yarmulkes and tzitzit shoveled
through the dirt and clay next to comrades in tank
tops and shorts.
What our own community leaders sometimes
have trouble accomplishing — the bringing to-
gether of diversity within the sphere of Detroit's
Jewry — a playground was able to accomplish. It
was all for our children, all for our community.
We realize that this space is typically occupied

by editorials addressing the important issue of the
day, be it here or in Israel. We fully realize, as our
cover package illustrates, the most important of
political events is soon to happen in Israel.
This Sunday, May 19, however, we have an op-
portunity to roll up our sleeves and come togeth-
er again at the Weinberg Playground. That's when
both the playground and the DeRoy Pre-School
Playground will be refurbished. The effort requires
two shifts, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and from noon
until 4 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be provided
and activities will be available for the younger chil-
dren.
No, this isn't earth-shattering news that will
change your life. It is, however, an opportunity to
fix up two play areas for our children.
We urge your participation. It's something to
feel good about for a change.

More Than Blintzes

JE WISH NEWS

Shavuot. Just say the word around a typical gath-

ering ofAmerican Jews and watch the blank stares
and quizzical expressions. "Isn't that one of the re-
ally minor holidays?" is a common response. A
more informed reply might offer, "Isn't that when
we eat cheese blintzes for some unknown reason?'
Shavuot is no minor holiday or gastrointestinal
binge (although dairy is traditionally eaten dur-
ing the two-day festival). It has been previously
proffered in these pages that Shavuot is a really
important holiday in dire need of a really good
public-relations agent. After all, how can a holi-
day upon which an entire faith — and thus, the
genesis of all monotheistic religions — is based
and observed for at least four millennia be virtu-
ally unknown and ignored by the overwhelming
majority of its disciples and followers?
Isaac Bashevis Singer once said that we have
to believe in free will because we have no choice.
While many of us claim to be practicing Jews by
making sure to purchase High Holiday tickets for
shul every year, getting a jump on buying our
Chanukah gifts, or noshing on matzah during Pe-
sach, we inexplicably tend to forget the Jewish
festival that perhaps offers more meaning and in-
sight than any other into why we are Jews.
Throughout our history, Jews have sought con-
nections with each other through the boUndaries
of ethnicity, languages, customs, political affilia-
tions, humanistic values, etc. But what else but
God's giving of the Torah to the children of Israel

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at Sinai — arguably the single most momentous
occasion in the history of the world's religions —
better defines and evokes an interconnectedness
and sense of divine purpose for the Jewish people,
regardless of individuals' religious affiliations or
approaches to spirituality?
From both an intellectual and emotional view-
point, the Torah stands as the central force ofJu-
daism. Generations ofJews have revered and been
wedded to this immeasurable source of stories and
wisdom.
&fore us now is a generation ofJews that large-
ly renders obsolete the holiday celebrating the giv-
ing of the Torah. The last thing Shavuot needs
is the trappings of a marketing campaign, replete
with advance materials, a trailer for the airwaves
and widespread distribution in theaters around
the country. (Although it may be argued that Ce-
cil B. DeMille's 1956 classic The Ten Command-
ments already took care of that.)
Instead, what we must do is recommit ourselves
to kiruv, , or outreach, to bringing more Jews to
learn from the hallowed pages of the Torah. Why
not take in an all-night Torah study session on
Shavuot at your local synagogue or temple? De-
spite the lack of slumber, you're guaranteed to feel
energized by the Torah's endless erudition and in-
sight into the riddles that have plagued Jews for
generations.
And more than anything, you'll feel Jewish like
never before.

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Letters

Judaism Has
Lost Its Way

ing plaudits for a "courageous act"
that never took place.
One Washingtonian who was
not deceived by Mr. Arafat's ma-
neuver to obscure the decision of
the Palestinian National Council
was the chairman of the House
International Relations Commit-
tee, Rep. Ben Gilman, who said,
`The recent vote by the PLO's Na-
tional Council did not change the
PLO Covenant but merely dele-
gated the necessary authority to
a so-called legal committee. As of
now, the obligation to amend the
charter has not been fulfilled."
Rep. Gilman was not alone in
seeing through the mirage sur-
rounding the proceedings of PLO's
National Council. The Washing-
ton Post, CNN and the Israeli dai-
ly Ha'aretz — among others —
have all stated unequivocally that
the PLO Covenant has not been
changed, and that as of now, the
old covenant remains the gov-
erning document of the PLO.

According to Shimon Peres, there
exists a "New Middle East" where
war will be a thing of the past.
This premise is his rationaliza-
tion for Israel's recent territorial
withdrawals in return for (only)
verbal unenforceable promises
from Mr. Arafat. In exchange for
a deteriorating situation, Israel
accepts handshakes, promises
and flashy photo opportunities.
Mr. Arafat and the PLO's nature
is that of a terrorist organization,
and nothing short of Mr. Arafat,
Abu Abas, Leila Khalid and all
the other terrorist masterminds
being put on trial will prove that
the Palestinians have renounced
terror.
Just as the increase in terror-
ism since Oslo, including the re-
cent carnage on the streets of Tel
Aviv, did not signal to the Jewish
idealists that it was a mistake
Zeke Leikin
from start to finish, one cannot ex-
Executive Vice President, ZOA
pect the mini Lebanon war
against Syria's Hezbollah agents
to convince Israel's secular mes-
sianists that Peres' "New Middle
East," like Bush and Clinton's
new world order, is a figment of
their imaginations.
I read with interest The Jewish
Judaism has lost its way and News article on the closure of the
only a rediscovery of the proper nursery school at the Workmen's
relationship between theory and Circle/Arbeter Ring (May 10). For
practice and between ideas and the record, the Workmen's Cir-
their consequences, as expressed cle/Arbeter Ring remains a thriv-
in the covenantal formula (Gen- ing organization despite its loss
esis 18:15-17), will arrest and pre- of an exceptional nursery school.
vent Judaism's further decline.
The future of the "gray ranch-
style schoolhouse" with the cin-
Marc Baker namon-red doors is secure.
Birmingham
Our Sunday Shule, with its 45
youngsters, is bustling as children
from ages 5 to 13 learn how to live
today as Jews with all the values
inherent in Yiddishkeit. There is
also a teen group dedicated to so-
Yassir Arafat was once again af- cial action.
One of our branches, whose
forded an opportunity to bask in
the sunshine of Washington's of- members' average age is near 40,
ficial acclaim. He followed Israeli has over 100 members. We have
Prime Minister Shimon Peres to an older branch, which also num-
the White House and was praised bers over 100.
Our secular humanism is a
by President Clinton for his
"courage" and "commitment" for comfortable setting for our Jew-
having changed the genocidal ish members who have a non-
PLO covenant calling for Israel's Jewish spouse.
destruction.
Selma Goode
It appears that the wily chair-
District Chair,
man of the Palestine Authority
Workmen's Circle I Arbeter
has hoodwinked the president
Ring
and most of the media in gamer-

-

Class
Not Dismissed

Questioning
The PLO Covenant

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