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November 03, 2005 - Image 35

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-11-03

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10 Years ago,
our stunned community
reacted with collective grief.

Don Cohen
Special to the Jewish News

he news came on a Shabbat
afternoon, Nov. 4, 1995, like
a punch to the gut. Ten
years later, some would say that
we are still reeling.
The initial reports that Israeli
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
had been shot were quickly fol-
lowed by news of his death and,
heaping insult onto terrible
injury, that he had been mur-
dered by Yigal Amir, an Israeli
Orthodox Jew opposed to the
Oslo peace process, including the
giving away of land.
Organizers of a NIRIM Jewish
education conference scheduled
the next day at Temple Israel in
West Bloomfield had to decide if
the event would go on. It did,


drawing more than 500 persons
who felt the need to be together
and move forward, though some
sessions were adjusted when the
presenters felt they couldn't go
Musician Debbie Friedman
opened the conference with a
moving presentation of song and
words that reflected the ques-
tions on everyone's mind "Why?"
"What does it all mean?" and
"What's next?"
Preparations for a community-
wide memorial began almost
immediately, culminating in a
Monday evening program that
brought more than 4,500 people
to Adat Shalom Synagogue in
Farmington Hills.
Rabbis Efry Spectre of Adat
Shalom, Irwin Groner of Shaarey
Zedek, Lane Steinger of Temple

Emanu-El and Steven Well of
Young Israel of Greenfield spoke
about Rabin's legacy.
Rabbi Groner told the huge
gathering, "Our loss is intensely
personal." Then he added, "We
must collectively resolve that
[Rabin's] song of peace will con-
tinue, and the song of Yitzhak
Rabin's life will not be lost forev-
Rabbi Spectre called Rabin
"the most unsoldierly of sol-
diers" who "bridged the possibili-
ties of successful defense and the
dream of eternal peace."
Rabbi Weil lamented what it
meant for the Jewish future. "If
hate is greater than love, we have
to revaluate what we stand foe
he said.
Also speaking were communi-
ty leaders Max Fisher, a friend of

the slain prime minister, Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan
Detroit President Robert Naftaly
and Haim Shacham, deputy con-
sul general of Israel for the
Midwest region. Dignitaries
attending included Detroit Mayor
Dennis Archer, U.S. Sen. Spencer
Abraham and U.S. Rep. Joe
Knollenberg, both of Michigan.
That Friday, the cover of the
Detroit Jewish News featured a
black-and-white photograph of
an almost-smiling Yitzhak Rabin
headlined: "What Now For
Israel?" Pages of special coverage
included pictures of Rabin with
local Jewish leaders Philip
Stollman, Jane Sherman, Max
Fisher, Lawrence Jackier, David
Hermelin, Robert Aronson,
Stephen Grand and Paul Zucker
along with their recollections of

their meetings with the prime
Large ads from Bar-Ilan
University, where the assassin
Yigal Amir had attended, along
with the Jewish National Fund,
Chabad-Lubovitch, the Zionist
Organization of America,
Federation, the Women of JNF,
the Federation-United Jewish
Fund and the Detroit Jewish News
encouraged hope in the face of
Many local reactions and
analyses were printed that week
and in future weeks — but after
10 years, that of Helen Moss,
identified in the Jewish News as
"shopping at Book Fair" laid it
out clearly.
"We're Jews. We go on, and we
keep building a community:' she
said. ❑

10th Anniversary Reflections On Rabin

Compiled by Harry Kirsbaum

"I look at Rabin the same way
I look at the assassination of
[John E] Kennedy. He was a pil-
lar in history. He was a man of
conviction, a role model for the
future generations of Israel. I
know that many young people in
Israel still cherish his legacy, and
they are learning about him and
ultimately some will follow in
his footsteps!'

— Josh Berkovitz, past president,
Michigan Friends of the IDF

"Since he died, the whole political spectrum took
a swing to the right, unfortunately. And there hasn't
been anyone who has arisen on the Israeli political
scene who shared the same perspective as he did.
"Not to say our Israeli leadership isn't outstand-
ing, because it is, and I think they've acted appropri-
ately given what they have to do, and accomplished a
lot, but we won't know what might have happened.
"I had the pleasure to sit next to him during two
Miracle Missions. Unaffected and not impressed
with himself and just very interested in what we
were doing and totally enthralled by the whole con-
cept of the Detroit Miracle Missions I and II:'

"Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was truly evil, for
he changed the unidentified Arab into our hated
enemy — the 'Palestinian! Many Jews hoped that
with his death, there was still a chance that Jews
would reconsider Rabin's nightmares. Alas, too many
were only puppets and our Land was becoming the
future Arab 'Palestine:We are still surrounded by
rampaging Arabs, plus Hezbollah, PLO, Hamas; but
the death-call by Iran is additional. The remainder of
Israel has the stamp of Auschwitz in Knesset. Jews,
allow yourselves to see — any surrender brings
death to Jews and destruction of Israel, our rightful

— Lawrence Jackier, past president,
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

— Michael Drissman, Farmington Hills

Reflections on page 36


November 3 . 2005


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