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February 27, 2004 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-02-27

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We prefer letters that relate to articles in the Jewish News. We reserve the right to
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Enriches Hillel

`Passion Cover
Was Inappropriate

The oldest segment of the New
Testament is the Gospel According to
Mark, which serves as a source for most
of the material we find in Matthew and
Luke. The last addition to the synoptic
Gospels was John, and, while he makes
some innovations, the earliest Christian
source for the Gospels was written down
around 80 years after the well-publicized
Crucifixion and by an individual who
never laid eyes on Jesus Christ.
As far as Matthew and Luke are con-
cerned, their genealogies of Jesus Christ
are at immense variance with one anoth-
er. It's not that one writer of the Gospels
is correct and the other is mistaken.
They're both right, but each one is talk-
ing about another man who went by the
name Jesus Christ, which simply means
"anointed savior." It's common knowl-
edge that contemporary scriptural schol-
ars identify at least six Jesus Christs.
As for Mel Gibson, by his own admis-
sion, I heard him state that he is neither
a historical nor a Biblical scholar. He got
that right! I know many who have
vowed they're not going to see his film
nor ever watch any film in which he
plays a role.
Gibson attributes his inspiration in
producing this film to his upbringing,
but that can't be! He was raised as a
devout Catholic, yet he defies the
Roman Catholic Church and Vatican II,
which hold anti-Semitism as a grievous
sin. He's completely out of touch with
contemporary teaching of the Church
and the message of brotherly love,
which has emanated from the Church
for the last five decades. Unless, by
"upbringing," he's referring to his infa-
mous father, Hutton Gibson, a rabid
anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier.
In the final analysis, "The Gospel
According to Gibson" is no more valid
than "The Gospel According to
Peanuts," but while the latter is enter-
taining, the former has the potential of
stoking the fires of vicious anti-
Semitism, violence and hatred.
What the world needs now is love,
sweet love.

I was dismayed to read Eric
I cede the appropriateness of doing an
Rosenberg's unfounded attack of
article on the possible effects of Mel
Michael Brooks ("Hillel Director's
. Gibson's The Passion of the Christ on the
View Demoralizing," Feb. 6, page 6),
Jewish community and Gibson's repre-
the executive director of University of
sentation of Jews in the film, although I
Michigan Hillel. In more than 20
think you devoted too much space to
years of dedication to enriching the
the subject ("Passionate About 'The
lives of Jewish students at the
Passion,'" Feb. 20, page 16).
University of Michigan, Michael
But the cover was indefensible. The
Brooks, and his committed staff, have
JN (formerly known as the Jewish News
transformed U-M Hillel into arguably
arrives in Jewish homes just before
the premier Hillel in the country.
Shabbat. This issue, with its blatant
U-M Hillel welcomes and encour-
Christian cover, did not enhance the
ages discussion on the salient issues
Shabbat atmosphere in our home. It was
facing Jews today — including those
grossly inappropriate.
regarding Israel. Mr. Rosenberg is sadly
Rita Schreiber
mistaken as to the impact Michael
Brooks has had on the university com-
munity. Far from his attitude having a
"corrosive effect," Michael Brooks has
helped students build Hillel into the
second largest student organization on
campus with more than 30 student-
As I prepared to work out at the Center,
run groups, three of which are exclu-
I pondered why we have such a problem
sively Israel oriented.
with intermarriage and assimilation in
Mr. Rosenberg claims that the
the Jewish community, especially
Jewish students at U-M are afraid to
amongst the younger generations.
voice pro-Israel sentiments because of
As I read the Feb. 20 issue of the JN,
Michael Brooks' "political opposition
and I saw three crucifixes on the cover, I
to Israel," a canard all the more pre-
wondered why most Jewish children
posterous given that he is the proud
have little or no formal religious educa-
father of a daughter who is an Israeli
tion. The Jewish Community Center
citizen. Ask the hundreds of students
and the Detroit Jewish News are corner-
who participated on Feb. 15 in Hillel's
stones of Detroit's Jewish community.
Israel Activism Day on campus, or the
So, why is it that when I go to the JCC
countless others who participate in
for a pickup basketball game, I am usu-
Hillel's Israel programming throughout ally the only Jew on my team?
the year, whether or not the pro-Israel
Why is it that when I want to read
voice is being heard on campus with
about what's happening in the Jewish
the active support of U-M Hillel.
community, the cover of the Jewish
This community should be proud to
newspaper is adorned with symbols of
have Michael Brooks as a communal
millennia of persecution and anti-
professional. His vision, passion and
Semitism ("Passionate About 'The
dedication to Jewish life on campus
have positively impacted the lives of
Above all, how can anyone in the
thousands of students. The University
Jewish community expect area Jews to
of Michigan Hillel Board of Trustees
maintain their Jewish identity when the
will continue to encourage Michael
leading Jewish institutions have assimi-
Brooks to speak his mind on issues of
lated just the same?
deep concern to both Jewish students
Rabbi Jack Goldman
Rick Doi man
and the American Jewish community.
West Bloomfield
West Bloomfield
If one of the country's leading campus
Jewish professionals, who cares deeply
about Israel and the future of
American Jewish life, is suggesting to
us that the way our community is try-
ing to advance the pro-Israel agenda
on campus may be turning off more
From the day I met the late Irwin Shaw
Any scholar of ancient or Biblical histo-
students than it is reaching, we should
about 18 years ago, our tight friendship
be listening.
revolved around the Hebrew language,
Jeffrey Schlussel evidence of Jesus' birth, death or resur-
which was the exclusive language in
chair, U-M Hillel Board of Trustees
which we communicated ("He Enriched
Ann Arbor a matter which is certainly up for grabs.
The Community," Feb. 20, page 89).


Don't Put Crosses
On JN Cover

Gibson's Gospel Is
One Man's View




Unforgettable Friend:
A Special Tribute

Even following his stroke, which
impaired his speech and made him for-
get so many Hebrew words that he pre-
viously knew, we continued to speak in
Hebrew, as I filled in the missing words.
Among Irwin's dreams for the Hebrew
language, one was a crowning success
and gave him a great deal of nachas in
recent years, namely the translation into
Hebrew and the publication in Israel of
the short novel Address Unknown.
Address Unknown, by Kressman
Taylor, was first published in 1938 in
Story magazine. The short novel is made
up of fictitious letters spanning the peri-
od of 1932-34, exchanged between a
Jewish American and his friend and for-
mer art gallery partner, a German who
had returned to his homeland with his
family after living in the United States.
As a result of its unparalleled success,
Address Unknown was published by
Readers Digest, where it was read by
some three million people. In 1939, the
prestigious Simon & Schuster publish-
ing house published it in book form.
Irwin Shaw, then a young student in
Detroit, read Address Unknown after it
was first published and it made an
indelible impression on him. For years,
he used to buy many copies of it for
friends and acquaintances, and, as direc-
tor of the Jewish Community Center of
Metropolitan Detroit, he used to initiate
readings of the book.
In 1992, he gave it to his Israeli friend
Asher Tarmon, a Hebrew linguist and
former shaliach (emissary). Tarmon read
the book, was deeply impressed by it
and determined to translate it into
Hebrew. Tarmon's translation was pub-
lished in Israel in 2001.
No sooner was Address Unknown pub-
lished in Israel than it was adapted for
the stage. The re-emergence of the book
and play in Israel generated translations
in French, German, Spanish, Dutch,
Danish, Norwegian, Japanese, Czech,
Polish and myriad other languages.
The worldwide success of Address
Unknown gave Irwin Shaw great satis-
faction, and retelling its story is my lov-
ing tribute to a great and unforgettable
friend and a rare human being.

Rachel Kapen
West Bloomfield




• "John Kerry's Jewish Brother"
(Feb. 13, page 16) should have indi-
cated that Joe and Anne Weinman
were both born in the United States
and that Joe was manager of Murray
Lighting Co., not part owner.

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