North Carolina Newspapers

    Page 2-THE NEWS-'january 1989
Published monthly by:
Charlotte Jewish Federation .... Michael L. Minkin, Director
Foundation of Charlotte Jewish Community &
Jewish Community Center Barry Hantman, Director
Lubavitch of N.C Rabbi Yossi Groner, Director
Editor Rita Mond
Advertising Blanche Yarus
Copy deadline the 10th of each month
P.O. Box 13369, Chariotte, N.C. 28211
TIm appcaraacc of advcrtwias ■■ The News docs aot coMtitatc a kaahnitk
The Law of Return: A Caveat to our Righteous Indignation
A Decade Has Passed
Another year has begun, but this one is very
significant for The Charlotte Jewish News. As of this
issue, The CJN celebrates its 10th birthday and my
10th year as editor.
The paper has grown from 8 pages (non
advertising) to as large as 36 pages with advertising
and a vastly increased circulation.
Through the years, the masthead has undergone
several changes and the typography and content
have improved as well. We have won many national
awards and have been recognized on numerous
occasions by other media.
Our printer has a new computer system which has
been used for the first time for this issue. In the
coming year, changes will become apparent and it
is hoped that there will be an overall improvement
in The CJN's appearance.
The growth potential of the paper is boundless. A
volunteer staff and advertising salespersons are
desperately needed for this growth and guaranteed
The CJN was the “brainchild*’ of Marvin Bien-
stock, Martha Brenner, myself and Ann Langman,
who worked side-by-side with me as co-editor for the
first five years. Marta Garelik has been editing “The
World Beat” column since the paper’s inception, for
which I am very grateful, and Blanche Yarus has
served as an advertising rep for over five years. With
9w»h a limited staff, I am still burning “the midnight
oil” not only as editor but also as an advertising
account executive.
Occasionally it is necessary to change the dead
line...please check this page monthly for that
information. Holidays and personal obligations
make these changes necessary.
On page 11 of this issue, I have tried to put together
a small tribute to the paper...a “looking backward”
page. This is my way of saying “thanks” to you, the
readers; to you, the contributing writers; to you, our
loyal advertisers.
—Rita Mond
Who is a Jew—and Who is Arafat?
By Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum
There is a quality of Greek tragedy in the latest
developments in the Middle East.
Most American Jews have been deeply disturbed by
political efforts of the ultra-Orthodox religious parties in
Israel to delegitimize their status as Jews.
A great deal of time and energy is being spent by Jewish
leaders in persuading Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir not
to capitulate to ultra-Orthodox ultimatums.
Meanwhile in Algiers, the Palestine Liberation Organ
ization proclaims a Palestinian state, and presents Yasir
Arafat as a bom-again peacemaker.
While American Jews are busy trying to preserve their
legitimacy as Jews, Arafat is busy working to win
diplomatic recognition from Communist and Arab
governments for his state without borders.
The irony is that he is making a media impression as
a moderate and a lover of p>eace.
But if you read carefully the full text of the Algiers
declaration, you will see that it is more deceptive rhetoric
than real.
By saying that he accepts not only UN Resolutions 242
and 338, but the 1947 partition plan, the PLO will now
claim not only the West Bank and Gaza, but also Western
Galilee, Beersheba and Israel’s coast.
Israeli and American Jews must deal with their religious
problem, but they can not afford to be diverted from
responding to Arafat’s latest bag of tricks.
Rabbi MarcH. Tanenbaum is director of in temationtd relatione
for the American Jewish Committee.
By Rabbi Marc Wilson
We of the American Jewish
community are understand
ably concerned/alarmed
about recent developments
in Israel: the declaration of
an independent Palestinian
state and the aftermath of
an indecisive Israeli elec
tion. We are in particular
turmoil — pained, angry,
frustrated, indignant — over
the prospect of Prime Min
ister Shamir forming a coa
lition of convenience with
some of the more radical
religious parties, who are
demanding certain religious
accommodations to assure
their participation.
Our primary concern is the
religious parties’ demand to
modify the Law of Return so
that only conversions per
formed under strictly Ortho
dox auspices will be recog
nized in Israel as legally
valid. This would, of course,
have the effect of further
delegitimizing the standing
of Conservative and Reform
Judaism in Israel.
The issue has now come to
dominate the official and
unofficial American Jewish
agenda, locally and na
tionally. American Jewish
organizations from CJF to
our local Federation have
taken out resolutions de
nouncing any move by
Prime Minister Shamir to
give in to political extortion
and to the politicization of
this basically religious issue.
There has even been some
talk in prominent public
forums about threatening to
withhold funds from Israel
and from Orthodox institu
tions in America if the Law
of Return is so amended.
The righteous indignation
of the American Jewish com
munity is understandable
and to some extent indi
cated, but still deserving of
our scrutiny and a note of
The politicization of reli
gious goals is an anathema,
whether it be in Khomeni’s
Iran, Falwell’s America or
the Agudah’s Israel. I
deplore the use of a religious
Winds of Change
By Ira Gissen, Director
NC/VA Region
Anti-Defamation League
of B*nai BVith
From cities all over the
region, we are receiving tel
ephone calls about discrim
inatory clubs. We are being
asked about country clubs
and downtown clubs that,
for years, have excluded
Jews from their member
ship. The phone calls are
from prominent Jewish citi
zens in our communities.
Many ask the same ques
tion: “I have been invited to
a function at a club that will
not permit me to be a mem
ber. Should I accept the
invitation?” In some cases,
our callers refer to a business
meeting. In other cases, our
callers refer to a social event.
We also have begun get
ting more frequent calls
from a few outstanding Jew
ish members of the commun
ities. Essentially, they tell
the same story: “I have been
asked by a member of the
club if I would agree to have
my name put up for member
ship.” Oftentimes they tell
me: “I’m not certain ^at I
will be approved.” On the
other hand, some ask: “If I
am approved, do I really
want to belong to that kind
of a club?”
The surge in interest in
discriminatory clubs reson
ates throughout the region.
Why? In large measure, the
clubs themselves are react
ing to the recent United
States Supreme Court deci
sion which upheld the con
stitutionality of a New York
City ordinance prohibiting
discrimination by clubs of a
certain size under certain
circumstances. The clubs
fought against the enact
ment of the New York City
law. The clubs fought to
have the courts overturn the
law. They lost on both
The Anti-Defamation
League supported the enact
ment of the New York City
ordinance. The Anti-Defa-
mation League filed a brief
amicus curiae (friend of the
court) in the United States
Supreme Court in support of
the New York City law. We
won on both counts.
But the Anti-Defamation
League’s concern about anti-
Semitic membership practi
ces in country clubs and
downtown clubs long pre
dates the New York City law.
Our struggle with the prob
lem of anti-Semitic clubs
goes back many, many
years. It has been a struggle
to overcome one of the most
insidious forms of anti-
Semitism on the American
scene. Progress has been
slow, but steady. Now it
looks like we may move
matter as bait for any pol
itical purpose. I deplore the
idea that a majority of Israe
lis could be blackmailed into
a policy with which they
pointedly disagree, simply
because that is what it takes
to form a coalition govern
ment. And, I certainly
deplore the idea that a con
version, even when per
formed to Halachic stand
ards, would be ipso facto
invalid simply because its
officiant is a Conservative or
Reform rabbi. 1 deplore any
move to discredit the values
and convictions I cherish,
particularly when it comes
not through philosophical
debate, but through the veh
icle of power politics.
Yet, I deplore with equal'
passion the oversimplifica
tion of this issue that has led
to the mispercei^tion of all
Orthodox Jews as a bunch
of Ayatollahs. I deplore the
growing trend toward
“Orthodox bashing,” as peo
ple fired up by righteous
indignation forget all the
good things that Orthodox
Judaism contributes to Jew
ish religious and communal
We of the Conservative
Movement should feel par
ticularly vulnerable on this
point. For when we stop our
blustering, we are obliged to
admit that our continuing
religious existence largely
depends on our Orthodox
brethren. We may proudly
produce our doctors, lawyers
and PhDs, but they produce
the vast majority of our
shochetim, mohalim, sofe-
rim and mashgichim. We
Heed them to slaughter our
kosher meat, to circumcise
our babies, to supervise our
kosher food products, to
write our Torahs, Tefillin,
Mezuzzot and Gittin, to pro
vide the Mikva’ot we use for
our conversions (the new
Temple Israel excepted). We
need them to provide the
Yeshivot and outreach pro
grams that rekindle the
spark of Yiddishkeit in the
young people who are alie
nated from our upper middle
class values or who have
been ensnared in cults. We
need them to generally keep
us honest by reminding us
when we stray too far from
Jewish authenticity.
We should be extremely
careful when, in our righte
ous indignation, we attack
the proposed change in the
Law of Return as a breach
of “Jewish unity.” Don’t get
me wrong: It is a breach of
Jewish unity. Keep in mind,
however, that at one time or
another every Jewish move
ment — Reform, Conserva
tive, Orthodox — has
adopted some policy that
has been a breach of Jewish
unity. Was not Reform Jud
aism’s vitriolic rejection of
Zionism and its acceptance
of patrilineal descent a
breach of Jewish unity? Was
not Conservative Judaism’s
liberalization of the rules of
Gittin (religious divorce) and
conversion a breach of Jew
ish unity? Have we not all
contributed to the ambiguity
of “Who is a Jew?” and
“Who may marry whom”?
Can every Conservative
See WINDS next page See CAVEAT next page

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