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May 15, 2008 - Image 21

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-05-15

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Publisher's Notebook

The JN At Israel's Birth

"And I will turn the captivity of my people Israel, and
they shall build the waste places and inhabit them; and
they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof;
they shall also make gardens and eat the fruits of them.
And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no
more be plucked up out of their land which I have given
them, saith the Lord thy God." — Amos 9: 14-15

T

he front page of the
May 21, 1948, edi-
tion of the Jewish
News carried these prophetic
words under the large Hebrew
headline "Yechi Eretz Yisrael"
(Long Live the Land of Israel)
with an accompanying pho-
tograph of Chaim Weizmann
and the words: "We Acclaim
the Reborn State of ISRAEL
and the First Provisional
President of Israel Dr. Chaim
Weizmann." Tucked in the
upper corners of the page are the words
Am Yisrael Chai.
Sixty years later, this front page of
the Jewish News still resonates (and still
causes goose bumps).
The re-establishment of a Jewish state,
after a lapse of 1,877 years, occurred in
our lifetimes. And for the Detroit Jewish
community and the Jewish News, it was
the diminutive journalistic warrior Philip
Slomovitz who gave eloquent and persis-
tent voice to this noble cause.
In writing about Slomovitz and the
Jewish News in 1992, University of

THE JEWISH NEWS

A Weekly Review

Ii7-14O. 10

2114 Penobtr-of Bldg.—F.1;11c WO. 5-1155

of

Jewish Events

Doiroif 26, Micki9on, May 21, 1748

34

22 $3.00 Per

Year: Single Copy, Ma

And I will turn the captivity of my people Israel. and they shall build the waste places and

inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and di-Mk the wine thereof; they shall also make

gardens and eat the fruits of

Then'.

And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no

more be plucked up out of their and which I have given them, seith the lord thy God.

--(Amos IX:1 4- I 511

Michigan-Dearborn history
professor Sidney Bolkosky noted
"... by far, the strongest and
most persistent editorial theme
pertained to Zionism. From its
inception (in 1942), the paper
espoused the Zionist cause and
its values. Each issue contained
numerous photographs of
Palestine and then Israel. Public
endorsements of the paper and
Mr. Slomovitz came from Zionist
leaders like Abba Hillel Silver
and Chaim Weizmann."
As editor of the Detroit Jewish Chronicle
in the 1920s and 1930s, Slomovitz was
already writing his weekly column. He
tackled many of that era's toughest issues,
including anti-Semitism spewing from
Henry Ford and his Dearborn Independent
and Father Charles Coughlin and his noto-
rious WJR national radio broadcasts. With
the frightful rise of Hiker's Nazi Germany
and with world Jewry in peril, Slomovitz
continued his advocacy for a Jewish state.
Slomovitz was a Zionist. His bosses were
not. Slomovitz was out at the Chronicle.
Here is where the unique relationship
between the Detroit Jewish community
and the Jewish News begins.
At a time when Jewish Detroit needed
a dependable, independent and credible
source of news and opinion that could
mobilize and unite the community around
the war effort, saving world Jewry and
rebuilding a Jewish home-
land, its leaders stepped up
Philip
to the challenge. With their
Slomovitz
financial and moral sup-
port, Slomovitz started the
Jewish News in March 1942.
It has been published and distributed
every week since.
The giants of that era: Fred M. Butzel,
Maurice H. Schwartz, Theodore Levin,
Maurice Aronsson, Henry Wineman,
Federation President Abraham Srere

We Acclaim

the Reborn

State of

ISRAEL

and the

First

Provisional

President

of Israel

Dr. Chaim Weizmann

The May 21, 1948, Jewish News proclaimed in Hebrew, "Long Live the Land of Israel."

and Federation Executive Vice President
Isidore Sobeloff joined Slomovitz on
the first Jewish News board of directors.
Schwartz served as publisher. All acted as
individuals grasping the importance of
the moment and knowingly planted seeds
that helped assure Jewish Detroit would
remain informed, cohesive and the envy of
Jewish communities around the country
for decades to come.
It was Slomovitz who gave voice to
the yearning for a Jewish state and who
tirelessly advocated its nurturing and
sustenance once it came into being. His
Purely Commentary column was a labor
of love. Though blind and in frail health,
Slomovitz always made it into the office to
bang out his columns and opinions on a
manual typewriter. A series of assistants

would read news items to him and retrieve
documents, books and other research
materials that fed his ever-sharp mind.
The Zionism of Phil Slomovitz is part of
the DNA of the Jewish News. It is the col-
lective inheritance of our community that
we must safeguard and enhance.
As we celebrate the remarkable achieve-
ments of Israel on its 60th anniversary,
we take pride in the role Jewish Detroit
played, and continues to play, in Israel's
growth, development and security.
Concurrently, we must be mindful of the
new challenges and opportunities Jewish
Detroit and Israel face — and look to this
generation's community leaders to act
with vision and creativity. We must revital-
ize Jewish Detroit while always being there
for Israel. ❑

May 15 • 2008

A21

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