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May 14, 2004 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-05-14

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Recalling The Shoah

A survivor still lives with the Shoah, even
60 years after the liberation. Here are
some of my thoughts on how and why
we should all remember that horrible
time ("Handbook Against Hate," April
16, page 34).
As youngsters, we learned that we were
driven out of Israel for our sins, and lost
the Beit Hamikdash, the Holy Temple.
According to some Jews, the Shoah is
also attributable to Jewish impiety. I find
this inconceivable. In the camps, we day-
enech we prayed, constantly. We cried out
to God. Who else was there? Could I cry
out to my fellow prisoner? Could I cry
out to the SS guard? We, some of us,
had to talk to someone, some force, to
God. So we davened while we stood,
marched or worked. These were not dry
prayers, but purposeful, to give us suste-
nance. And if they did not save our lives,
they helped us to endure. We prayed and
discussed Talmud and these things dis-
tracted us from our miseries.
I believe that the Shoah should be
commemorated by everybody, Klal
Yisraei because the murderers made no
distinctions between Jews. It is regret-
table that some of my fellow Jews do not
see this. Both Yom HaShoah and Israel
Independence Day should be observed
by everyone.
Had there been reason to celebrate the
second of these days in 1933, there may
not have been need to remember the
first. There is a text in Rashi that reads:
"When hell breaks loose, it does not dis-
tinguish between good and bad." In that
hell,. in Barracks 57 in Buchenwald,
there was always a minyan. One rabbi
has said that "everything needs luck,
even the sefer Torah ..."
Survival in Auschwitz or Buchenwald
needed luck. It did not bring us luck,
but for some of us, praying to God gave
us some means to go on.
Let us all pray that as the prophet said:
"the existence of the Jewish people will
never be erased."
Abraham Pasternak


Closing Of A Circle

You couldn't find it in the New York
Times or the Detroit News, the two
dailies to which we subscribe, nor even
the Jewish News. I found it in the Israeli
newspapers, which I read online every
First, it was the news of the Israeli bas-
ketball team Macabbi Tel Aviv playing
against a team from Kovno (now
Kaunas), Lithuania, and losing by a few
points. The following day, it was another

Israeli basketball team, HaPoel
Yerushalayim, playing against another
Lithuanian team from Vilna (now
Vilnius) and winning. This win made
the Israelis happy because no matter how
bad the situation, the Israelis love their
sports and are especially happy when one
of their teams wins against a foreign
This time there was greater signifi-
cance to the win; it advanced the Israeli
position in a European basketball com-
petition first to the Final Four, then a
game against a team from Bologna, Italy,
called Skipper Bologna. Maccabi Tel
Aviv won 118-74, making it the
Euroleague champion, an astounding
achievement for the State of Israel. The
May 1 score was 118-74; it was the
fourth time that Israel won the basket-
ball European Cup.
For me, however, as the daughter of a
"Litvak," a Lithuanian-born who served
in the armed forces of independent
Lithuania between the two world wars
— a service that actually precipitated his
aliyah to Eretz Yisrael in the early 1920s
— I regarded these sports competitions
with a special interest.
Every mention of Lithuania, whether
it becoming an independent state after
the collapse of the Soviet Union or
becoming part of NATO or recently
joining the European Union, resonates
with me.
However, the symbolism of the victo-
ries against the Kovno and Vilno teams,
the two Lithuanian cities where Jewish
communities thrived and flourished till
they were totally destroyed during the
Shoah with the Lithuanians' willing col-
laboration, didn't elude me. It presented
to me the closing of a tragic circle, the
symbolism of which didn't elude me.
Rachel Kapan

Government does subsidize the con-
sumption of non-kosher foods in school
lunch programs. Also, the shrimp lobby
gets plenty of our tax dollars, but other
than the spoof Web site
vvwvv.goclhatesshrimp.com , I don't see
people complaining.
Reform Judaism actively endorses
same-gender marriage. It increases the
potential for monogamy and doesn't
push Jews away from other Jewish obser-
vance. I left Judaism for years until I
found Reform Judaism and could once
again reconcile the way that God made
me with the rest of His laws. I do what I
can, which is more than I'd do if I had
to walk away completely.
Gary Rimar

Bloomfield Hills

CHAIM Sponsors Essays

We want to thank you for your recent
article about the importance of the high
school Holocaust curriculum, "Life
Unworthy of Life" ("Handbook Against
Hate," April 16, page 34)
CHAIM-Children of Holocaust
Survivors Association In Michigan has
supported the curriculum over the years
and we thank the Jewish News for help-
ing to publicize its importance in
Holocaust education.
One correction we wish to make
about the article. CHAIM is the organi-
zation that sponsors the annual high
school essay contest for Michigan high
school students. The topic of the annual
essay contest is why is it important to
study the Holocaust and' ow is the
Holocaust relevant to life today. All
Michigan high school students are
encouraged to participate.
Charles Silow
president, CHAIM, West Bloomfield

West Bloomfield

Gay Perspective

Rabbis Elimelech Silberberg and Shaill
Zachariash claim governmental support
for legal equality for gays must be
opposed ("Gay Agenda Opposed," April
30, page 6).
They also state other anti-Torah gov-
ernmental stands, don't need such con-
demnation because no one is rallying to
support such anti-Torah positions. They
are wrong on both counts.
Any citizen has a right to lobby gov-
ernment to take a certain position on
any topic. Once they take a position "as
Orthodox rabbis," they take a play from
Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who
proclaim to . speak for all, and invoke
God to bully lawmakers. Minorities
should realize that the sword of govern-
mental force can cut against us as well.

Coverage Appreciated

I'd like to commend the Detroit Jewish
News for the excellent coverage and sup-
port of Federation's Michigan Miracle
Mission 4.
From take-off to landing, the stories
and photos transported the experience of
being in Israel for almost 600
Michiganians to thousands more here at
The editorials, mission coverage and
side stories provided insight and inspira-
tion and brought Israel even closer to the
hearts and minds of metro Detroiters.
Kudos to Editor Robert Sklar, Staff
Writer Sharon Luckerman and photog-
rapher Debbie Hill for jobs well done.
Howard N. Dembs
director, marketing and communications,
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

Bloomfield Township

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