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June 13, 2003 - Image 50

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-06-13

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Jewry's Role in


Human Affairs

We speak of them in the same breath: Jewish families which claim places in history
and those which gave as they could to human betterment. During the last century,
our country has been a major recipient of their largess, and the land of Israel often
won their support too. As in the case of Theodore Arison, founder of Carnival
Cruises, and his son Mickey, who have since acquired the Cunard, Holland
America and Seabourn lines—assembling the largest fleet of its kind afloat. Pet
projects include Florida's New World Symphony, and an Israeli art school and
On creating a cosmetic colossus, Estee Lauder and her sons
Leonard and Ronald (a former ambassador to Austria), contributed
mightily to U.S. medical centers and various Jewish causes. Felice and
Albert Lippert, the force behind Weight Watchers, the world's largest
weight loss program, generously support Israeli education and hospitals in
America. As does the Block family whose namesake drug company
produces Nytol, Polident, Sensodyne and other popular health care
products. Other formidable benefactors include:

(1845-1934) b. Paris, France He was generations
removed from the family's ghetto-born progenitor,
Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744 1812), the
German founder of the most influential financial
empire in Europe whose economic and political
history it helped write for centuries. But Edmond
forsook banking and devoted his life and fortune
to cultural and humanitarian causes in his native
France, and increasingly in behalf of Jewish settlements in Erez Israel.
He was preceded by Mayer's five sons posted in power centers
across the Continent. His father Jacob Mayer helped pioneer the French
railway system for the government of Napoleon III. Karl Mayer provided
sizeable loans to various duchies and Vatican states before and after Italy's
unification. Nathan Mayer was a dominant figure in English finance
whose son Lionel Nathan helped fund Benjamin Disraeli's purchase of
the Suez Canal. Salomon Mayer bolstered industrial and railroad
development in Austria. Eldest brother Amschel Mayer remained in
Frankfurt, advancing large loans to various German rulers.
Throughout its reigning years, the House of Rothschild survived
deep-rooted anti-Semitism to which it responded with courage, moral vigor
and with patriotic fervor for the nations it served. A significant number of
ranking family members, outstanding philanthropists all, entered Parliament
and were elevated to the English and French nobilities.


(1848-1931) b. Otterberg, Germany The Straus
family, headed by Lazarus, arrived in Georgia
before the Civil War and resettled in New York in
1865. His two older sons, Isador and Nathan
would follow their father's mercantile calling
while Oscar Solomon would become a
distinguished diplomat and public servant.
Following success in their family business, the
brothers amassed the capital to buy partnerships in the R.H. Macy
Department store whose sole ownership they gained in 1887. Within six
years, Isador entered another partnership to form Abraham and Straus, a
competing New York City based store. Both establishments were
forerunners of the world's mass marketing retail systems.
Distinction came equally to Nathan for his many philanthropic
efforts: promoting legislation for the mandatory pasteurization of milk;
providing food and coal to the poor in New York City; and building many
child welfare stations and health centers in Palestine. He had been hailed
as the leader in charitable giving to his city's most needful citizens during
the first quarter of the 20th Century.
Oscar Solomon's career in government included positions as the
first Jewish member of a presidential cabinet, as a three-time emissary to
Turkey and as an advisor to President Woodrow Wilson.

- Saul Stadtmauer
Visit many more notable Jews at our website: www.dorledor.org




Walter & Lea Field, Founders/Sponsors
Irwin S. Field, Chairperson
Harriet F. Siden, Chairperson

Torah Potion

Gain God's Blessing Of Peace
By Granting 'Shalom To Others

it." You want peace in your life? You
want God's name upon you? You want
"Shalom"? Then give "Shalom" to oth-
ers, and you'll have it in your life as well.
pen today's newspaper and
All too often, we focus on the nega-
give the front section a quick
tive powers of speech: From slander to
run-through. Now, answer
foul language to hurtful attacks to sar-
the following question: How
casm, the Torah forbids us from using
many stories are about positive, good
the gift of speech to harm
things, and how many focus
others. Yet, we don't spend
on negative, destructive or
enough energy focusing on
demoralizing topics?
the incredible power of posi-
I have no idea what's going
tive speech, of uplifting
to happen next week, but I'm
praise and encouragement, of
quite sure that both the Free
kind words, of consolations
Press and the News ran far
and compliment.
more negative stories than pos-
Who among us hasn't had
itive ones. The same is true for
a period of depression and
every other form of media,
anguish lifted by the kind
from television to radio to the
words of a friend? Who has-
n't gone through episodes of
The simple truth is, bad
despair and pain, only to be
news sells. Or, as they say in
lifted by the gentle encour-
Special to the
television, "If it bleeds, it
agement of those closest to
Jewish News
leads." And then, we wonder
why we all walk around so
All too often, we underes-
depressed all the time.
timate the power we have to help oth-
In the middle of Naso, the Torah
ers, simply by picking up the telephone
commands the kohanim (priests) to
and saying, "Shalom. I didn't see you at
bless the Jewish people. While here in
the JCC today, and I missed you." Or
the diaspora, the kohanim bless the con-
by greeting our spouse after a difficult
gregation only on holidays, in Israel,
day, not with a criticism, but first with
they bless the people each and every
something positive: "Shalom. Look at
the picture your daughter drew in class
As we know, the blessing ends with
the kohanim praying, "May God lift
The greatest way to find peace and
His countenance to you and establish
happiness is by giving it to others — to
peace for you." It's a wonderful blessing,
our families, to our friends and to our
but somewhat vague. How do we get
community. It really is the gift that keeps
there? How to we achieve that wonder-
on giving. So make that extra effort to
ful, if elusive, blessing of peace?
phone a friend. Greet the newcomer to
Ironically, the Torah offers a very
shul whom you don't recognize. Instead
important suggestion to start us off in
of criticizing, try complimenting your
the very next verse: "Let them place My
child for something that he did do well.
Name upon the children of Israel, and I
Bring God's name into your vocabulary,
shall bless them." What name does God
home and life. And then you'll truly
refer to, and how can the kohanim place
have a Shabbat Shalom. Li
it upon us?
The answer to all of these questions
is "Shalom." Shalom isn't just another
way to say "hello" or "goodbye." Rather,
it's actually a name of God, which fits
When the princes of the tribes
bring 12 identical gifts to conse-
because peace represents the essence of
crate the Mishkan (tabernacle),
The Bial Haturim (a medieval com-
Moshe doesn't know what order
to accept the gifts in. What order
mentator on the Torah) notes that the
does he follow, and why does he
word "Shalom" is numerically equiva-
follow that order? (Hint: look at
lent to the word asu — meaning, "Do
Rashi.) What can we learn from
Reuven Spolter is rabbi of Young Israel
Moshe's actions?
of Oak Park. His e-mail address is

Shabbat Naso: Numbers
4:21-Z89; Judges 13:2-25.



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