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February 02, 1968 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1968-02-02

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Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with issue of July 20, 1951

Member American Association of English-Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press Association, National Editorial
Published every Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co., 17100 West Seven Mile Road, Detroit, Mich. 48235
YE 8-9364. Subscription MS a year. Foreign S7.
Second Class Postage Paid at Detroit, Michigan


Editor and Publisher




City Editor

Advertising Manager

Business Manager

Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the fourth day of Shevat, 5728, the following scriptural selections

will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Exodus 10:1-13:16. Prophetical portion, Jeremiah 46:13-28.

Candle lighting, Friday. Feb. 2, 5:29 p.m.

February 2, 1968

Page Four

VOL. LH. No. 20

New Trends in Jewish Education Programs

If the impending changes in Jewish
schools' enrollment are based entirely on the
results of the recent survey which was con-
ducted by the American Association for Jew-
ish Education, then the entire approach to our
cultural needs must undergo a change.
The survey showed that enrollments in
afternoon Hebrew schools have diminished to
less than 5 per cent of the total Jewish
schools' enrollment for 1966-67-to 21,456
out of the grand total of 540,000.
At the same time the facts gathered in the
survey show that 91.5 per cent of the total
are enrolled in congregational schools. We
also learn that 193,000 13.2 per cent of the
total enrolled-attend one-day-a-week schools;
another 193,000 attend two-to-five days a
week and 59,800-13.5 per cent of the total
enrollment-are in the day schools.
But the total number of Jewish children
in this country in the 3-to-17 year age brack-
et is given as 1,300,000, and we are presented
with the discouraging fact that considerably
less than half the Jewish children in America
are receiving any Jewish training whatever.
We are most naturally concerned with the
status of Jewish schools in Detroit and we
turn, therefore, to the report that was sub-
mitted to the recent Jewish Welfare Federa-
tion budgetary conference by the chairman of
the education division. The figures submitted
in behalf of his division by Mandell L. Ber-
man pointed to a drop in attendance over the
previous year of 170 in the five branches of
the United Hebrew Schools-due to the neigh-
bolzhood changes in this city. But the total
attendance for the United Hebrew Schools
still remained at a high of 3,060. This means
that fully one-seventh of all attendees in com-
munity afternoon schools in Detroit are in
the Detroit area. In other words, Detroit re-
tains a role of leadership in communal school
attendance. But the total number of children
enrolled in Jewish schools here is 11,617-as
shown in the appended table summarizing the
complete local survey-and even here the
vast majority of children attend congrega-

tional schools. Only one Detroit school re-
frained from providing data about its attend-
ance records, and the facts gathered by the
Federation which has provided us with the
appended table must therefore be considered
quite thorough.
The appended table shows that of the esti-
mated total of 20,900 of Detroit's Jewish chil-
dren of school age, 9,283 are not enrolled in
any school. Of the total enrolled, more than
a third receive the minimal education of one
day a week.
Thus, the problems are multiplying with
the needs. There are changes in communal
trends. There are mounting needs to strive
for increased enrollment of Jewishly unedu-
cated youths in our communal school system.
Detroit's communal school system, func-
tioning as the United Hebrew Schools, retains
high standards, reaches a large number of 'A Day in Regensburg'
those unaffiliated with congregations and
renders a very important service-by sharing
its teaching personnel with the Hillel Day
School as well as with congregational schools.
This is a source of encouragement under the
trying conditions that accompany the efforts
Joseph Opatoshu (1886-1954) was one of the outstanding Yiddish
to expand our cultural activities.
The enrollment of 756 Detroit children in writers in America. He was among the major short-story writers and
of life in the Old World, in ancient
the day schools is another factor of interest. his narratives included impressions
times as well as in this country in his own
While this number represents only 3.6 per
cent of the total enrollment in our schools it
Thanks to the Jewish Publication Sod-
is an indication of a spreading interest in an
ety of America, a collection of his Yiddish
all-day study program for Jewish youths.
stories now is made available in a splendid
While Israel must be given priority in all
English translation, under the title of the
initial story in this book, "A Day in Regens-
philanthropic activities, support for our
school systems emerges as the most vital need
Translated by Jacob Sloan, who has
on the home front. Whatever the trend may
gained acclaim for many of his excellent
be for the future, the major aspiration should
translations of other works, "A Day in
be to enroll those who are completely isolated
Regensburg" has the added distinction of
from our cultural institutions. They represent
a memoir by Joseph Opatoshu's son, David,
an army of youths who, in their manhood and
who has gained distinction in his own right
womanhood, will be uninformed Jewishly
as an actor as well as a writer.
and unable either properly to retain their
In the eight-page personal memoir,
heritage or to face issues affecting Jews when
entitled appropriately "Continuity: A
Memory of My Father," David Opatoshu
inevitable challenges arise. The problems are
recalls his father's devotion to his
not those of the uninformed alone but of all
labors-and to his family. He tells of
Joseph Opatoshu
of us as an organized community.
his father's rhapsodical joy with which he played with him and,
later, with his grandson-marking the continuity in a father's

JPS Issues Joseph Opatoshu's

Stories in English Translation

Study of Jewish Education in Detroit

and grandfather's love for progeny.

Per Cent of Jewish Child Population Ages 4 to 18 Enrolled in Local Schools, 1965-1966.

Estimated total number Age: 4-7
children in local schools

JWF Financed
United Hebrew Schools
(6-7 hrs. per week)
Beth Yehudah Afternoon School
(10 hrs.)
Combined Jewish Schools
(6 hrs.)
Hayim Greenberg School
(6 hrs.)




% 14-18


3.2 2,654(b) 12.7

1.3 2,366(a) 26.0
























% Total

2.9 2,781





This continuity also is inherent in Joseph Opatoshu's choice a
recollections for his narratives. David Opatoshu traces his child-
hood to his father's home, "four rooms, atop a four flight walk up,"
looking out "upon Crotona Park that sprawls below in Bronx." Son
describes father: "His eyes, deep pools of swarm, brown velvet, look
up, stare into the vastness that surrounds him. Little park Crotona
becomes an endless stretch of ageless Polish forests, while placid,
rounded Indian Lake flows mightily as does the Polish Vistula." It is
out of these connected areas that the elder Opatoshu's tales, linked
past with present, emerging as a valuable presentation of hiStorical
occurrences recorded as fiction by a master writer. 1
The stories in this volume are on a vast variety of subjects. Only
the first tale, "A Day in Regensburg," is lengthy-89 pages. The
balance of the 238-page book contains 20 more short stories, and the
brevity provides much delightful and instructive reading.

There are tales about Hasidim, about rabbinic experiences
in the shtetl of the Old World, about the festivals as they inter-
link with the lives of the men and women in an age now gone
but which provide nostalgic forcefulness as recollections of a
great past.

The Regensburg story is historic-detailing the romance between
two families in the Regensburg Ghetto, accounting for the life of
Jews and their experiences in the old German setting. Drama is
intermingled with the experiences that mark the restlessness of young
Jews and the desire to get away from the cramped areas of ghetto
29.0 2,213
12.7 4,481(e) 21.4
life. Scripture is quoted and Jewish traditions are portrayed expertly.
It is with expertness that Joseph Opatoshu's stories describe the
wealthier as well as the impoverished in the communities brought to
36.8 5,144
56.5 1,561
22.0 8,435
40.3 life again with the skill of a great master.
Whether it is the Sabbath, or Simhat Tora, or a wedding, or a
synagogue discussion-the characters are dusted off as a reminder
39.7 7,925
87.1 1,822
25.7 11,617
55.5 of an age in which the Jewish spirit was indestructible in spite of the
conditions that hemmed in the ghettoized.
Opatoshu wrote about the age of Nazism and in one of his stories
60.3 1,175
12.9 5,278
74.3 9,283
44.5 he told of a deal by a lampshade manufacturer who deliberately in-
curred a great loss to crush the German competitors.
4,700 100.0 9,100 100.0 7,100 100.0 20,900 100.0
There is a story about the Warsaw Ghetto, about a defiance of
(a) Some UHS enrollees are duplicated in count of affiliated congregation religious schools reported in a Nazi captor who is deprived of the joy of oppressing his victims and
narrative deals with the partisans in Russia who battled
this chart.
the Nazis.
(b) Note that Midrasha enrollment including those over 18 years of age is not reported here.
The Opatoshu stories retain the skillful writings of a Yiddish
(c) Does not include Beth Hamidrash for those over 18 years of age.
author for English readers, just as two other Opatoshu works, "The
(d) Includes estimate of 500 children in one congregational school which did not participate in study.
(e) Excludes 570 children counted in congregational mid-week programs who also attend one-day religious J.Ast_ileypit" and "In .Polish Woods".had.previously been made Available-
-by the- Jewish .PublfcatIchi.SocieV.Iii,lianhfations hiria` the -tiddiSk.
school . ' ' " ' • " ' • • • • • •

Not financed by JWF
Congregational Mid-Week Hebrew
(2 to 6 hrs.)
One-Day Congregational Religions
Schools (2-3 hrs.)
Day Schools (App. 15 hrs. of
Jewish studies per week)


5.5 2,459(d) 27.0


6.8 3,198

• • • • • • • • •



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