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December 07, 1961 - Image 16

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1961-12-07

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PAGE EIGHT THE MICHIGAN BAIL V THURSDAY. DECEMBER 7. IgRi

Outside-

World SpIrit

Filters Inside Prisons

By STEVEN HALLER
Although prison life could hard-
ly be called a carefree life, there
is one time of the year when the
inmates' rigid existence is relaxed
somewhat-.
In many ways, Christmas in a
prison is not greatly unlike Christ-
For example, th eofficials of a
typical penitentiary hold special
religious services for the inmates
of both Christmas Eve and Christ-
nias Day. Maybe some would ques-
tion the efficacy of conducting
services among such individuals as
one might expect to find in a cor-
rectional institution; but perhaps
religion is needed here more than
anywhere else.
Send Packages
Although prison inmates natu-
rally are unable to go out Christ-
mas shopping, they are allowed
to send one Christmas package
each to some loved one, the con-
tents of which consist of various
items which the prisoner himself
has made during the year.
In special cases where an in-
mate may be serving quite a long
acvilian sit of cohsin whic
he may have a photograph taken.
Such a photograph, as is the case
sen out by an inmate ma go oeny
to someone on his list of approved
correspondents.
Likewise each inmate gets one
(and only one) Christmas present
fro msomne individal on thi same
package may contain only candy,
fruit, nuts, or books. A present is
provided by the institution for any
inmate who otherwise would not
get any.
Prison Decorated
Also in a holiday mood, the in-
mates are allowed to decorate sev-
eral Christmas trees which are
then placed at various places in
the prison.
Christmas Day is a day of leisure,
more so than usual. The prisoners

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UNICEF
Cards Get
The Daughters of the American
Republic have blasted Christmas
cards distributed by the United
Nations Children's Fund as "Part
of a broader Communist- plan to
destroy all religious, beliefs and
customs."
DAR officials base their ob-
jections on:
-1) "The cards are Communist
inspired," because they have oeen
designed by artists proven Com-
munist by the House Committee
on Un-American Activties.
2) "They in no way depict the
spirit of Christmas."
3) The children who supposedly
benefit from the sale of the cards
in fact are not benefitted to any
great extent.
'Distorted Design'
SA Plymouth DAR chairman, ad-
mitting that she had not seen the
cards but knows them through de-
.scriptive material, scored a design
by Marc Chagall as showing a
very distorted modernistic mother
and child.
Chagall and another UNICEF
artist, Pablof Picasso, have bee
George Dondero (R-Mich) as
Communists.
Dondero, who in the past has
called art a "Communist weapon
against our government," was
quoted last week as being "in
complete agreement with the
DAR" on this issue.
Holiday Change
A DAR publication, The Na-
tional Defender, claims that the
pla~n to replace the religious as-
pect of Christmas with the United
Nations is part of a broader Com-
munist plan, so that some day
"we shall awaken to find Dee.
25 is World Peace Festival instead
of the birthday of Christ."
The article also rapped UNICEF
for assisting Cuba, Yugoslavia and
Indonesia, and for "helping to
finance the Congo operation."

By MARTHA MacNEAL
We hear a lot these days about
how the creeping rot of commer-
cialism has perverted and de-
stroyed the true, real, sacred
meaning of Christmas.
Some people slink quietly away
from the neon-lit store windows,
aliminum Christmas trees, and
mechanized Santa Clauses beck-
oning 'Come in and BUY' to re-
tire in mournful contemplation of
the barren wastage which 'giving'
has become. .
Others delight in the cynical as-
pect of commercialism at Christ-
mas, and it often seems that the
profusion of their satire has done
much more to undermine Christ-
mas than has any department
store. Both approaches are shal-
low, and both are pitiable.
Commercialism Artificial
First of all, it must be granted
that commercialism as Christmas
is not, in any sense, beautiful.

Aluminum Christmas trees and
store-window creche scenes must
symbolize artificiality to anyone
who is sensitive. Disagreeable
salespeople and shoppers cannot
be reconciled with the 'Christmas
spirit.' It would be ridiculous to
say that these institutions do rep-
resent Christmas.
But that is not the point. Christ-
mas represents the birth of a
child, who for 2000 years, has sym-
bolized human love and humnan
hope. Anyone who understands
this definition and its meaning in
human, individual terms must re-
alize that Christmas has abso-
lutely nothing whatever to do with
commercialism.
No Harm, No Value
They are simply two entirely dif-
ferent institutions, and, If they
are understood as such, they have
nothing to do with each other.
The reason for this is obvious
in comparison of the nature of

'commercialism' with the nature
of Christmas. Commercialism is,
fundamentally, an institution of
the masses. ,
When the word 'you' is used in
an advertisement, it does not mean
you personally, but rather 'you'
the anonymous, the blank face
among the millions who have lit-
tle identity except that of the con-
sumer. 'You' are he who buys, not
he who gives. You are a statistic.
Whatever exists of 'you' in the
commercialistic attitude Is a num-
ber in a stockholders report.
Of course you have to fight your
way through the mob in stores.
You may be on your way to buy a
present for no reason at all except
that somebody will probably give
you one this year and you, of
course, will have to reciprocate.
"Unlovely Commercialism
This is commercialism, in its
most unlovely form. But it simply
is not Christmas, it has nothing
to do with Christmas, and if you,
as an individuals allow it to de-
stroy your Christmas, that destruc-

'YOU|' MERCHANTS:
Two Poles of Christmas

tion is your fault, and shows only
your lack, your shallowness.
'You' Different from 'You'
The 'you' of Christmas Is en-
tirelyr different. You are, in Its
most vital and meaningful sense,
an individual. The hope of the
world, that peculiar phenomenon
which has persisted since Austra-
lopithecus, is contained, first of
all, in you.
Christmas happens when you
love. Christmas happens when you
feel hope and joy.
Christmas occurs in that in-
stant when suddenly your world
is peopled with individuals, and
when each individual in that world
has his own ,incredibly precious
meaning for you. And finding in-
dividuals in the world is your
great power, and your great re-
sponsibility.
Christmas exists in people, and
people exist everywhere. There are
stars above the neon light. You
have only to raise your vision a
little higher.

I

N

Israel-ordan eso

1.

By JILL HAMBERG
While people all over the world
celebrate Christmas, Bethlehem is
the scene of a perennial spec-
tacle of rejoicing by pilgrims to
the Holy Land.
The same old established rit-
ual has been performed each
year, but more recently, since Pal-
estine was partitioned, the holi-
day is marred by the remainder
of yet unresolved strife between
Israel and Jordan.
However, one bright spot can
be noted. Israel permits Israeli
Arab pilgrims to cross the truce
line for twenty-four hours to take
part in the festivities in Beth-
lehem. Several thousand Roman

get the traditional Christmas meal,
complete with. all the trimmings.
After opening their gifts, the in-
mates attend a movie provided
especially for that day.
Thus, the inmates of a typical
penitentiary (in this case, the one
at Milan) spend the holiday sea-

son. Obviously, for the safety of all
concerned, the prison officials can-
not relax their vigil even on Christ-
mas.
But it is nevertheless refreshing
to note that even within the cold,
gray, forboding stone walls of a
prison the spirit of Christmas is
still kept alive.

Christma
By JUDITH OPPENHEIM
Part of the magic of both Christ-
mas and Chanukah is their uni-
versality.
Both holidays can be enjoyed in
many different ways by anyone,
regardless of his religious beliefs,
and even if he has no such beliefs
at all.
The most common approach to
the holiday season is a purely
sensory delight. Simply the magic
words "Christmas time" evoke two
unique appeals to all the senses at
Ch ristmas -is synonymous with
flashing lights, glittering tinsel and
red cheeks and hands, numb with
welcome pold. It also means tink-
ling bells, the Hallelujah Chorus,
crackling flames and "A Partrdge
in a Pear Tree."
Good for the Soul
Perhaps there Is nothing deep
or spiritual about this approach to
the holiday season, but it certainly

s, Chanukali: Partners in Promise

is good for the spirit. The combi-
nation of individual sensory rich-
ness produces an effect much
greater than any of its parts and
pervades the atmosphere almost
palpably.
The "feeling in the air" is very
real. We seem to hear bells chim-
ing when there really are none and
lights seem to be glowing in win-
dows which are really dark.
The spirit lends a strength of
endurance to everyone at a time
of year d'hen~ as days grow short-
er, hours of work seem to grow
longer and the burden piling up
becomes almost unbearable.
All this builds up to a r'eal prom-
ise, all the more real because it
cannot be distinctly spelled out,
and which has a special meaning
for everyone who perceives it.
Almost the Same
It is the same with Chanukah,
although on a much more limited

scale. The sensory meaning of the
holiday is largely restricted to
those from Jewish homes, but the
overall sense of potato pancakes
simerig i as war g kitchen,
goigtable sufae ad cndle
fme miredinu euncurtained
windows is very nearl paraly llel to
the all-pervading Christmas spell.
Nor is there anything wrong with
this reaction to the holidays. It
springs from the very structure of
nothing mercenary in orecommer-
cial about it. The colors, sounds,
smells and textures are rare essen-
ces suddenly corporialized. They
appeal to something universal in
the constitution of man.
More Meanings
But this is certainly not the only
meaning the holiday season can
have for those who do not care to
take it purely in the religious

spirit. It is possible to experience
no really religious response at all
and still be profoundly moved by
the symbolic meanings of both
Christmas and Chanukah-.
In this respect the similarities
between the two festivals are strik-
ing. The most obvious and prob-
ably the most beautiful parallel
between Christmas and Chanukah
is that coming at the coldest,
bleakest time of year, they are
holidays of warmth and hope.
Coming in the darkest time of the
year, they are holidays of light. .
This meaning Is seen clearly in
the most common physical symbols
of the holidays - the Christmas
star and the Chanukah candles
whicir are kindled first one, then
two, then three, and so on with a
candle being added every night
until on the last, eight are shining
together in the Menorah, or can-
delabora.
Ray of Hope
It is significant that the candles
are nearly always placed in a win-
dow where they are reflected in
long bright shadows on the snow
outside and offer a symbolic bea-
con to those who may have lost
their way in the darkness.
So it is with the Star of Bethle-
hem, a "Star of Light" indeed,
which guided the Wise Men and
the shepherds to Bethlehem and
has become the symbolic guide for
mankind ever since.
It is not necessary to believe ,in
the Star literally or in the Miracle

of the Lights of Chanukah. But it
is easy to see that the world right
now is as los in the night as it has
ever been and that if it is ever to
find the way out of the darkness to
peace and understanding it must
do so by combining the meanings
of both the Star of Bethlehem-
"Peace on earth, good will toward
men" and the Chanukah candles,
the willingness to fight and die if
need be for what one believes in
--into one guiding truth.
Faith in Mankind
This need not be a religious
truth. It may be a truth based on
faith only in man, as J.B. in the
Archbald Masleish play discovers
it:
Blow on the coal of the heart.
The candles in churches are out.
The light have gone out
in the sky.
Blow on the coal of the heart
And we'll see by and by .. .
We'll see where we are
The with won't burn and the
wet soul smoulders
Blow on the coal of the heart
and we'll know
We'll know .. .
It is not a religious truth; but it
is a truth for many people living
in our troubled modern world, and
it recognizes the need for a light
from the coal of the heart. It is the
same light which comes from the
Christmas star and the Chanukah
candles at all times but especially
now during the season of light.

Catholic Arabs pass through the
Mandelbaum Gate by bus, taxi, or
donkey each year on the day be-
fore Christmas. The gate is so
named because it's near a house
that belonged to a family named
Mandelbaum. They come laden
with oranges and bags of gifts
for friends and relatives in Jor-
dan.
Inns Filled
All the inns and hotels for miles
around the Holy City are filled
last Christmas it wa reported that
it was even hard to get reserva-
tions for this Christmas. Jordan
prospers from the great Influx of
visitors, constituting the biggest
pr ofall revenue earned from
The standard procession from
Jerusalem by the Roman Cath-
before Christmas Eve. By evening
this procession enters the Basilica
of the Nativity, which is a gray
fortress built by Emperor Consta-
tine in the fourth Century on the
site revered as the birthplace of
The crowd of pilgrims fills Man-
ger Square at this time, singing
carols in many languages as the
excitement reaches a pitch at the
approach of midnight.
Bels Ring th 1s
of the Basilica ring out and the
mass begins. When It is over the
Patriarch carries an image of the
Inf ant Jesus down through the
flickering candlelight into the
grotto where tradition holds the
Infant was born. The image Is
placed in a manger- under a sil-
ver star with the inscription "Hic
de Virginie Maria, Jesus Christ-
us natus est."
A simpler but impressive cere-
mony is held in the afternoon by
Protestants and Anglicans gather-
ed at Shepherds Field in Bethle-
hem, where Gabriel is believed to
have brought tiding's of the birth
of Christ. There, in a setting of
terraced olive groves, they sing
carols and feast on roasted lamb.
Last year, during the main cere-
mony at the Basilica there was a
dispute between the Roman Cath-
olic and Greek Orthodox Patri-
archs. The issue was whether the
Roman Catholic sacristan could
stand where, according to tradi-
tion, Jesus was born. The Greek
Orthodox monks said no; the Ro-
man Catholics said yes.

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