The Future Is History



Falik_882_0003The Detroit Jewish News Archive ( is a treasure trove. But the real treasure is the way that its headlines (“Influence of Vatican Helps Jews of Italy”), announcements (“URGENTLY NEEDED USED CLOTHING Exclusively for
ISRAEL”), lines (“the supremacy of King Borscht”), and classifieds (“near Dexter bus”) can inform the present and inspire the future. Or so I’m finding.

Dec. 29, 2013: The First 50 Years Are The Loudest

My in-laws will mark 50 years of marriage on Dec. 29; see page 48. Their half-century of marriage has set a remarkable, at times noisy, example for everyone in their lives. Does it run in the family? 

July 19, 1957: Abraham Schrams Fete 50th Wedding

“Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Schram, of 4353 Tyler, recently were honored on the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary,” during which they “repeated marital vows they first pledged … on June 8, 1907, in Russia.” My father-in-law was one of “30 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, most of whom attended the festivities.”

Nov. 29, 2013: Breaking Bad

After my brother-in-law was diagnosed with inoperable stage-4 non-small cell lung cancer (same kind as Walter White, who was also a non-smoker), he got some good news over Thanksgiving. His doctors pinpointed a gene mutation that can be treated with targeted therapy to stop the cancer from spreading. Prayer or Pfizer? 

Jan. 25, 1963: Some Norms Of Jewish Life Help Prevent Disease, Journal Reports

“Zadik points out [in ‘Cancer and the Orthodox Jew’] that cancer-preventing methods, although practiced without direct knowledge and intention, were already known in pre-biblical times.” Orthodox health benefits include long breastfeeding periods for multiple consecutive children, circumcision, non-smoking by men on Shabbat or by women, owing to “the strict adherence to custom and virtue.”

Oct. 28, 2013: My Better Half

While it didn’t make headlines the way Mary Barra did taking the helm at GM, my wife recently returned to Ford Motor after starting her engineering career almost 15 years ago. Based on my limited knowledge of automotive engineering, I believe that “powertrain” involves a steam engine inside the car somewhere that makes it go. Our kids concur.

May 1, 1942: Defense Of Ford Is Read On Radio          

From the sixth edition of the JN, “Discussing Henry Ford and his relation to the Jewish people over his broadcast last Saturday night, Hyman Altman, who conducts the Jewish hours on Station WJLB, read from documentary evidence to show that malicious attempts have been made to discredit Mr. Ford unjustly … ‘I believe that the proof of the pudding is in the eating … There was never any discrimination in Mr. Ford’s factory either against Jewish laborers or mechanics.’”

Dec. 11, 2013: Crackle Chooses  Chosen To Keep Crackling

Appreciated by the New York Times as evidence that Sony did not “give up and peddle cat videos,” the second season of Chosen — co-created, co-written and directed by Ben Ketai — premiered online. This season picks up where the dangerous game in the first left off and features more famous people, including an erstwhile Superman. Hope he doesn’t forget the super little people.

May 7, 1999: Behind The Scenes

“[16-year-old] Ben Ketai technically wouldn’t be able to watch his first feature film if he weren’t the director” — or at least attend the premiere at Andover High School, after the administration gave it an R rating. Transgression, his 70-minute film, took “seven months to make, from the writing to the editing.” Ben: “I’d definitely like this for a career because it’s too expensive to be a hobby.” Ben’s mom: “He can do it all.”

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