Though I am somewhat ashamed to admit it, I had barely heard the name Rabbi Eliezer Silver (z"tl) before my arrival in Cincinnati, OH a little over seven years ago. As I quickly became more acquainted with the life of this great leader, I was awed by the extent of his service to our people- Founder and President of the Vaad Hatzalah Rescue Committee (he helped save thousands during and after the Shoah), Founder and President of the Agudat Israel of America, President of the Vaad HaRabbanim of the U.S. and Canada (his determination to improve the religious standards of his day laid the foundation for the fine Jewish infrastructure we now enjoy in this country). There is much more to tell. At a certain point I stopped and asked myself, "Why hadn't I known of this giant Jew before arriving here?"
And now the Cincinnati Hebrew Day School (CHDS), the school that Rabbi Eliezer Silver (zt"l) was instrumental in founding (then known as Chofetz Chaim) is reaching its 60th anniversary. In recognition of this significant milestone our school is once again turning to Rabbi Silver-this time for inspiration. A younger generation wants to know-his life, Torah insights, stories, historical vignettes-anything that will bring the memory of this great man back to life. If you or your family knew Rabbi Eliezer Silver in whatever capacity could you please forward your contact information to us-we'd love to hear what you have to say.
or Write to CHDS 2222 Losantiville Ave
Cincinnati, OH, 45237
c/o Rabbi B. Travis.
Thanks in advance for your help.
More Articles of Faith
I read your latest piece, and as usual I am always thankful we have such a high-quality newspaper in Los Angeles ("Read All About It," Oct. 28), in many respects better than the L.A. Times.
Your article highlighted the demographics of an increasing unaffiliated community. Newspapers such as yours serve as a portal for this population. Reading The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles might be a person's only means to identify as a Jew.
Would you consider increasing the religious content? I suggest a couple of things. First have a commentary on the attendant haftorah in addition to the Torah portion.
Second, we could be the first to also begin weekly articles from Ketuvim. With the plethora of classes one could take from your advertising pages, obviously your readership is receptive to further religious education.
If this resonates with readers and advertisers, you could expand this section further to include Reform, Conservative and Orthodox commentaries on the aforementioned. It would be interesting for laymen to see the interpretative differences among our great branches.
Finally if this works, you could start a rabbinic history section, including background information on historic rabbis of our past. There are some pretty interesting stories.
Adam Wills' article on his visit to the German Phoenix Club Oktoberfest celebration ("Shocktoberfest," Oct. 28) and the sudden, ominous feelings he described after noting that Nazi-loving skinheads had "entered the building" reminded me of the Bob Fosse film "Cabaret." One of the scarier scenes in the film features Liza [Minelli] and friends visiting a beer garden in a small village, where a younger crowd transforms into Nazi-style garb while singing "Tommorrow Belongs to Me." I would imagine Wills and his group felt extremely uneasy among a crowd that, as he described, wasn't the warmest toward them. Oy! Some things never change.
How sad to learn Hatikvah will soon be closed ("Fairfax Shop Feels The Squeeze," Oct. 21). I fear the other mom-and-pop businesses in the area will also close and the entire area converted to strip malls. Although I currently live in Fort Collins, Colo., I grew up in the Los Angeles area and have fond memories of frequent visits to Fairfax to shop, eat and folk dance. It was possible to absorb Yiddishkayt through sight, sound and taste. As the only Jewish child on my suburban street, visiting Fairfax enabled me to experience an authentic Jewish neighborhood, had a very powerful influence on my sense of connectedness and community, and gave me great exposure to Jewish culture.
There's a wonderful group of Jews in Fort Collins, but no physical community outside our synagogue, and even less Jewish culture. Whenever I visit Los Angeles I make it a point to spend some time on Fairfax, to recharge that spark of Yiddishkayt that tends to get buried as I go about my daily life. It is particularly important for me to bring my children there, and hopefully fan that same spark inside them. I lament this particular way to reinforce their Jewish identity will soon be lost forever.
Fort Collins, Colo.
The Interfaith Age
In your article on the movie "Prime" you quote from the study "Will Your Grandchilren Be Jewish?" ("What, Meryl Worry?" Oct. 28). The author of the study states that the likelihood of an intermarried Jewish parent having any Jewish descendants is close to nil.
This is contrary to my experience in Grand Rapids, Mich., where I lived until two years ago. In this very typical American city, a controversy has raged for more than a decade in the local Conservative synagogue as to the extent of participation in bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies by the non-Jewish parents. In other words, there are a considerable number of intermarried Jewish parents who are raising their children Jewish. Apparently, the non-Jewish parents want to have a part in this important ceremony. One of the worries of our Conservative shul was that the local Reform temple was more liberal in this area, and we might lose membership to them. The board of directors solemnly passed a resolution allowing the non-Jewish parent at a bar mitzvah ceremony to recite the prayer for our country in English. (What if a non-Jewish parent wanted to recite it in Hebrew?)
It seems to me that to a large segment of the general population, Jews are no longer considered pariahs. They look on Judaism as another sect among the many in our country. For better or for worse, we are living in an age when a marriage between a Baptist and a Jew is not much different from a marriage between a Baptist and an Episcopalian in the minds of much of our population; and the children of such a marriage might take up either faith.
A Simple Mistake
I was appalled to see the glaring misspelling on your kids page in this week's issue (Oct. 28). When I showed the page to my 7-year-old son and asked him what was wrong with it, he immediately said that the Hebrew word lo (no) should be spelled with an aleph rather than a vav after the lamed. If something that basic (and visible) is missed by the Journal's editors, it calls into question the accuracy of everything else within the paper. Please make sure you do not teach our children incorrect information.
A big thank you to those who spotted the mistake on last week's kids page. We deeply regret the error. On our next kids page, we will print the names of all the kids who detected it, and award a prize to the first to notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org.