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The Southern Jewish weekly. [volume] (Jacksonville, Fla.) 1939-1992, December 28, 1956, Image 1

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AN INDEPENDENT WEEKLY SERVING AMERICAN CITIZENS OF JEWISH FAITH
THE OLDEST AND MOST WIDELY CIRCULATED JEWISH PUBLICATION IN THIS TERRITORY
VOL 33 No. SO
PLAIN TALK
BY ALFRED SEGAL
"RABBI SEGAL"
Recently I was ordained rabbi
by authority of another rabbi.
"Rabbi Alfred Segal/' the en
velope read, and the letter itself
began, "Dear Rabbi Segal." It was
from Rabbi Israel Bornstein who,
is associated with Rabbi Joseph
Schecter in the United. Orthodox
Synagogue ... a spacious edifice
with the modern look, judging by
its picture on the letterhead.
Rabbi Segal, indeed! And what
to do about that? Sure enough,
long, long ago, I was on the way
toward being a rabbi, at the He
brew Union College, but I got off
that road, or, rather, was pushed
off by the faculty, you might say.
And here I am, long later, detour
ed back to the same road ... a
rather venerable Rabbi Segal . . .
all of a sudden!
But I don't want to be a rabbi.
I'm afraid of congregations . . .
the way rabbis get stabbed in the
back by members, as I have ob
served ... the way they talk
against rabbis over canasta tables
... the way a rabbi has got to stay
on good terms with every shnook
in the congregation, though he'd
rather tell him off.
Yes, it’s so much more comfort
able to be a columnists A column
ist, too, has a congregation, but he
doesn’t have to look at ’em or
meet ’em. He can speak up to
them in print, and he doesn’t have
to worry when that big shot Yiff
niff swells out with anger against
something the columnist wrote.
Yiffniff can’t fire him; the col
umnist just laughs and says to
hell with Yiffniff.
But in schul Yiffniff really is
somebody. He lives high up there
in § big house to which everybody
looks up when driving by. He is
loaded as they sey when they
mean how rich he is. Whatever
Yiffniff says in the board meet
ings of the schul is accepted like
Torah itself ... more so even than
the Torah the rabbi tries so hard
to give out.
So Rabbi Segal would be scared
of Yiffniff in the congregation.
Yiffniff always keeps his ears
sharply open for something out
of order in a rabbi’s sermon . . .
something in conflict with Mr.
Yiffniffs own interests maybe . . .
like a sermon against slums. You
might say this Rabbi Segal had a
social mind, and sometime might
feel like speaking his ideas out
from the pulpit, but down there
sits Yiffniff ... and all the Yiff
niff breed . . . listening intently,
for something the rabbi might say
not td their likings. So Rabbi
Segal keeps to himself any social
problem that might bother his
poor head.
So I guess I'd belter slick lo this
column where no Yiffniff can gel
me. You see even at this moment
I feel so free in this column, say
ing what I please about Mr. Yiff
niff.
(Continued on Page 8)
ISRAEL EXPANDS ROAD CONSTRUCTION
PROGRAM WITH ISRAEL BOND DOLLARS
Road building in Israel is moving forward at a rapid pace, with the financial
assistance of funds provided through the sale of Israel Development Bonds.
Shown here are Israeli workmen preparing a roadbed which is part of a four
lane concrete highway now being constructed in the central Negev. The workers
are utilizing a vehicle that grinds stone into gravel for on-the-spot use. Since
1949, Israel’s concrete-asphalt roads have increased from 770 miles to more
than 1,100, including the recently completed highways from Beersheba to
Dimonah, and from S’dom to Beersheba. This improvement of road facilities
has brought about an intensified flow of industrial and agricultural commodi
ties to local markets throughout the country and to ports in the north for
shipment to countries in many parts of the world.
The Southern Jew and “The Problem”
BY GERALD I. WOLPE
Spiritual Leader of Synagogue Emanuel,
Charleston, S. C.
What shall be the role of the Jewish Peo
ple in American life? Reconstructionism
maintains that American Jewry must apply
the ethical tradition of Rabbinic and Pro
phetic Judaism to the solution of American
.social problems. This is not always an easy
task, as the following article makes clear in
connection with the problem of desegrega
tion. Nevertheless, if not left to the individ
ual but undertaken by the organized Jewish
community, much can be accomplished,
though not without a calculated risk. Rabbi
Wolpe's discussion of the problem should re
sult in stimulating both thought and action.
—EDITORS
The extreme variety of reactions to the Su
preme Court decision of May 17, 1954 has labeled
it as one of the most controversial legal decisions
in the history of American jurisprudence. The de
cision to declare segregation in public schools un
constitutional has been praised as a monumental
step forward in the battle for the realization of the
American principle of racial equality. It has also
been damned as a lamentable demonstration of a
faulty decision based on sociology rather than law.
The vitriolization of this reaction has demonstrated
that the decision has managed, among other things,
to cut through the shell of polite theorizing about
the evils of segregation and has placed the matter
in brutal relief before the attention of the country
as a whole.
THE SOUTH NOT OF ONE PIECE
As usually happens in affairs of such emotional
intensity, excesses and misunderstandings are
common on all sides. Some liberals tend to con
demn the South in general for the deplorable racial
prejudice practiced against the Negro. Every resi
dent below the Mason-Dixon line is viewed as a
character out of a novel by Faulkner or Caldwell,
a man dedicated just to a hatred of the Negro, Jew
and Catholic, and vegetating in an atmosphere of
suspicion and demagoguery. This attitude would
overlook the existence of many cultural and eco
nomic levels in the Southern states. Logically, it
is to be expected that an area of seventeen-states
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28, 1956
should contain shades of opinion and social strata
as varied as any other part of the country. It would
be as inaccurate to view the possible solution of the
problem from the Weltanschauung of a Mississippi
sharecropper as it would be erroneous to consider
George Apley (or Frank Skeffington) as the typical
New Englander. The extent of the contrast is im
pressive. For example, there are urban centers in
northern Virginia, near the District of Columbia,
and in the Virginia Tidewater area which bear a
striking resemblance to the boom defense towns in
the Far West and northeastern United States.
There is metropolitan Atlanta which runs contrary
to the usual concept of Georgia by voting consist
ently against the Talmadge machine and its
“cracker” philosophy. In. addition, Miami Beach
and other resort towns in southern Florida could
be considered more as suburbs of New York and
Chicago than parts of the South.
This erroneous stereotype would be harmless if
it did not ignore the fact that the hope of any
liberalism in the South must be based on these
centers of potential democratic maturity. This
stereotype discounts the fact that there are parts
of the South which have graduated from Mrs.
Mitchell’s moss-covered Tara and which are en
gaged in serious introspection about a problem that
is complex and fraught with conflicting passions.
In the long run it is the Southerner, after all, who
will have to solve the problem and destroy the
heritage of hate which has been passed on to him
by preceding generations.
To avoid this error of generalization and for pur
poses of identification, I shall use the term, Deep
South, for those sections of southern United States
where an unquestioned tradition of segregation is
still maintained.
SOUTHERN ATTITUDES TOWARD
INTEGRATION
It would be naive to deny the possibility of ex
cesses in this Deep South. The riots in Alabama,
the firing at a pro-integration Negro minister in
Lake City, S. C., the bomb killings in Florida and
the outrages in Mississippi offer a picture of what
could become a horrible reality. It would be easy
to discount the threats of violence, if they were
restricted to rowdy elements who are bent on any
(Continued on Page 8)
Jews in Poland Fear
Growing Anti-Semitism
WASHINGTON, (JTA) Jews in Poland have formally request
ed the new Polish regime lo take urgent action against growing anti-
Semitism in the country, it was learned here this week from official
sources. They also formally demanded that the new regime of Wlady
slaw Gomulka allow emigration to Israel without restrictions, as well
as closer contacts with Jewish groups abroad.
The requests were voiced in
resolutions adopted at a confer
ence of the Cultural-Social Asso
ciation of Polish Jewry, held in
Warsaw and published in the Yid
dish press there. The resolutions
were also broadcast in Yiddish
over the Warsaw radio, and their
text was confirmed by diplomatic
circles.
Criticism was voiced in the res
olutions of both the old and the
new Communist regimes in Po
land. The conference of the Asso
ciation indicated anxiety after
examining the new situation in
the country. "In this situation."
the resolution staled, "particular
anxiety is felt by the Jewish com
munal leaders because the leader
ship of the parly and the govern
ment have so far failed publicly
to assume a clear-cut attitude to
ward the recurring anti-Semitic
incidents, manifestations and dis
crimination."
(The New York Times, in a
cable from Warsaw reported this
week that “Poland’s Jewish com
munities are again living through
anxious days,” and that the
Gomulka revolution “released la
tent forces and gave free rein to
anti-Semitism.” The cable says
tfcat party newspapers and mem
bers of the Communist .party lead
ership “have sought to curb the
anti-Semites, but to little avail.”)
While the resolution of the Jew
ish association went on record as
welcoming “Socialist democratiza
tion” in Poland, alarm was ex
pressed by the Jews that the tran
sition period has brought “the
growth of irresponsible demagogy
on the part of various elements,
with manifestations of chauvinism
and anti-Semitism.”
Decide to Seek Wider Contact
with Jewish Organisations
Abroad
. The resolution charged that the
Jewish cultural work in Poland,
although receiving sympathetic,
support from the government, has
not been imbued with the kind of
a spirit “which fully reflects the
cultural needs and national feel
ings of the Jews.” It criticized the
fact that the teaching of Jewish
history has practically been elimi
nated from the curriculum in
Jewish schools, and that “none of
the Jewish holidays have received
recognition” in these schools.
The resolution regretted the
fact that organized Polish Jewry
has not succeeded in establishing
better contact with Jewish organ
izations abroad. It called for the
establishment of "stable forms of
cooperation" with Jewish groups
in other countries.
At the same time, the resolution
condemned “the killing of nation
al; cultural and social life of the
Jews in the Soviet Union. It ex- ,
pressed the “hope that the Soviet
Government will solve this tragic
problem in conformity with the
principles of Lenin’s policy on
nationalities, by rebuilding the .
Jewish social and cultural institu
tions.”
The resolution obviously went
as far as it could in supporting Is
rael. while retaining a modicum of
adherence to the Communist
(Continued on Page 8)
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