1900-77. American writer. Dahlberg was born in Boston, the illegitimate son of a hairdresser. After an unsettled childhood, he and his mother settled in Kansas City, but he was later transferred to an orphanage in Cleveland. After high school he took a series of dead-end jobs until 1925 when he travelled to Europe and witnessed the rise of Nazism. Back in the United States he briefly became involved with the American Communist party.
His novels are largely autobiographical. The first, Bottom Dogs (1929), which carried an introduction by D.H. Lawrence, was a description of his early life in Kansas City. His reflections on the Jewish orphanage in Cleveland are contained in From Flushing to Calvary (1932.) and the unsettled existence of his early adult life in Because I Was Flesh (1964). His European travels are reflected in Those Who Perish (1934) and the Communist party of the Thirties is described in The Confessions of Edward Dahlberg (1971). His other works include Do These Bones Live? (1947), the Flea of Sodom (1950) and Alms for Oblivion (1967). His long correspondence with Sir Herbert Reed is recorded in Truth Is More Sacred: A Critical Exchange in Modern Literature (1961).
b. 1922. Carmelite monk in Israel. The complex question 'Who is a Jew?' came sharply before the Israel Supreme Court in 1962 in the case of Brother Daniel. He was a Polish Jew called Oswald Rufeisin who, during the Nazi occupation, was hidden in a Catholic convent. He was baptized, became a Carmelite monk, and in 1958 was sent to the Carmelite monastery on Mount Carmel in Haifa.
Brother Daniel continued to regard himself as a Jew, identified with his people. In Israel he applied for citizenship under the Law of the Return and for registration as a Jew in the population register. His application was rejected by the minister of the interior, and he brought proceedings before the Supreme Court.
By a majority of four out of five judges, the court upheld the ruling of the minister. The judgement conceded that under Jewish religious law, an apostate did not cease to be a Jew. But the Law of the Return was a secular enactment that had to be interpreted by the court in accordance with the intention of the legislature. For purposes of this specific law, the term Jew should be held to have the everyday meaning that an ordinary citizen would give to it, that is, as being inconsistent with professing the Christian faith. Such a meaning was based on Jewish history, on Zionist aims, on the urge for collective survival, and on the bond between the State of Israel and the Diaspora. The court emphasized that its attitude was not coloured by the persecution of the Jews by the Catholic church in medieval times.
After this adverse judgement, Brother Daniel became a naturalized Israeli citizen, a process not dependent upon the Law of Return. In 1970, the law was amended to incorporate a partial definition of a Jew, as one who was born of a