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April 01, 1977 - Image 61

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-04-01

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Friday, April 1, 1977 61

Jewish Jobless More Than Statistic to JVS-CW

For an estimated seven-
nine percent of Detroit's
Jewish community,
unemployment is more than
just a statistic.
Barbara Nurenberg. as-
sistant executive director of
the Jewish Vocational Serv-
ice-Community Workshop
and head of the JVS South-
field office. knows the fig-
ures only too well. She sees
them as people—some 2.000
of them in 1976—who come
' -- ler agency for job coun-
ng and placement.
JVS-CW, one of 16 mem-
ber agencies of the Jewish
Welfare Federation, provid-
es those services as part of
its wide-ranging vocational
assistance program, funded
in part through contribu-
tions to the Allied Jewish
Campaign-Israel Emergen-
cy Fund. Stuart E. Hertz-
berg is president of the
agency. and Albert I. As-
cher is executive director.
The seven-nine percent
figure is Mrs. Nurenherg's
rough estimate since not all
of the Jewish community's
unemployed seek JVS assist-

On the other hand, the
growing number of jobless
who utilize the agency's
placement services, includ-
ing those seeking summer
employment, rose by 93 per-
cent last year over 1975.

In addition to those 1.589
who sought general place-
ment assistance (compared
to 825 in 1975), the agency
saw another • 410 persons
considered hard to place be-
cause of handicaps or
"over-age" (50-plus): 373
who sought career coun-
seling; and 168 who asked
for scholarship counseling.
In human terms it means
a man of 55 whose business
failed and who now can't
find work because he's "too
• It means a recent col-
lege graduate who suddenly
learns that his field is over-
crowded but who is over-
qualified for any other
job—even as a manual la-

• It's a woman seeking to

return to the labor market
after her children are
grown—and finding that
today's secretarial job re-
quires skills she never

• A college student who
won't be returning to col-
lege unless he can find sum-
mer employment to pay his
• And a Russian immi-
grant who has neither the
necessary job-seeking skills
nor an adequate knowledge
of English to manage an in-
In a community that has
such a high percentage of
college graduates and that
takes deserved pride in a
hard-won affluence, the Jew-
ish unemployed feel a par-
ticular pain.

Says Mrs. Nurenberg:
"We tend to foi'get the ef-
fect of unemployment on a
community. Long-term job-
lessness hurts the entire
family unit, for beyond the
financial toll there is a de-
moralizing effect when the
breadwinner is out of a job
for six months to a year.

Our agency can't work
alone in this, - she added.
We use the Jewish Family
Service. Sinai Hospital and
other mental health facil-
ities where family coun-
seling or other necessary
services can be obtained."
The Jewish Vocational
Service tries -to find out
functionally what kind of
job the applicant is suited
for. Job titles don't matter
much. Perhaps a store man-
ager can do well as a manu-
facturer's representative
and vice versa," said Mrs.
"We may help the appli-
cant develop-his or her re-
sume. then offer feedback
on the impression it makes.
We help them learn about
job interviews, even asking
tough queEtions to help
them learn the right an-
swers for a smoother pre-
Next, we try to teach
them how to go about find-
ing jobS. Some resources
we tap; some are best tap-



The resources of the Jewish Vocational Service library
- are explained by JVS librarian Muriel Posner, standing,
center, to Linda Ginsberg, left, and Arlene Frank while
JVS staffer Kaorl Friedman, seated, left, counsels Andrea

ped by the client himself."

Often, clients must be
made aware of alterna-
tives. Law school graduates
may have to settle for non-
legal positions, or look for
jobs in smaller towns. Stu-
dents looking ahead to grad-
uate school may be warned
that affirmative action
plans have cut down the
number of places available
to white Jewish males in
the areas of law, dentistry
and medicine.

Different counseling tech-
niques are applied to differ-
ent clients. Recent college
graduates are seen in
groups of three to eight.
There is one group session
per week, each two-hour
meeting focusing on job-
seeking techniques and as-
sistance in using the well-
stocked JVS library.
Staffed by a librarian
trained in occupational in-
formation, the library

keeps up-to-date literature
on educational opportu-
nities, types of jobs avail-
able and other information
of use to the job-seeker and
to the student seeking voca-
tional guidance.

Anyone is free to use the
resources of the library dur-
ing regular hours at the
Southfield JVS building: 9
a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday and 9
a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday
through Friday.

After the group session.
clients go out on job inter-
views, and there is individ-
ual followup to check out
-the progress of the job
This group approach
differs from that applied to
the handicapped client,
with whom a counselor will
meet several times, and to
those who graduated from
college some time ago but
who also require individual

To meet certain needs.
group sessions—also used
with summer job appli-
cants—have proven to he
the most efficient use of per-
sonnel. And for an agency
that has too little manpow-
er to fill the demand for
services. efficiency is vital.

The staff includes a five-
person placement depart-
ment, whose specialty is
finding jobs. They engage
in mailing and newspaper
campaigns, telephoning and
even knocking on doors—all
with the goal of reaching
prospective employers for
present and future JVS

Also on the staff are 2
vocational counselor slots,
filled by master's degree
graduates in psychology
and guidance.

There is a constant wait-
ing list. so we can't see


everyone who wants help."
said Mrs. Nurenberg.
"While those looking for a
job can be seen within a
week, the waiting list for
those seeking vocational
counseling and guidance is
six to eight weeks long."

She added that assistance
to the handicapped, to the
over-50 client and to the im-
migrant gets the highest pri-
ority "because they're least
able to help themselves."
To show what extra man-
power can accomplish,
Mrs. Nurenberg said that a
young man who helped with
the summer job placement
program last year assisted
the agency in developing
500 jobs for students.

The Jewish Vocational
Service has played match--
maker for thousands of em-
ployers and job-seekers-
without ever charging a

Schechter Opens Cairo Geniza to Scholars

NEW YORK—Just before
Shabat Hagadol . (the Sab-
bath before Passover), 75
years ago, Solomon Schech-
ter, a rabbinic scholar of
Romanian birth and early
education, having left his
position as Reader in Rab-
binics at Cambridge Univer-
sity in England, assumed
the presidency of The Jew-
ish Theological Seminary of
Bringing his wife and chil-
dren with him, he sought to
play an active role in the
ever-growing, dynamic
American Jewish commu-
nity. At the same time, he
left behind him more than
10 years of work on frag-
ments of documents discov-
ered in the geniza of Fostat
(Old Cairo), Egypt — docu-
ments which were to radi-
cally alter the course of
Jewish scholarship while at
the same time providing
new insights into Jewish his-
tory. A young Jewish schol-
ar of Scottish birth and
early education recently
came to the seminary to lec-
ture, to research, and to
"swap information" about
the Schechter geniza finds.
Dr. Stefan Reif. director
of the Taylor-Schechter Gen-
iza Research Unit of the
Cambridge University Li-
brary, and a member of the
Oriental Studies and Divi-
nity Faculties, spoke enthu-
siastically about the discov-
ery, dispersion, and signifi-
cance of the collection.

According to Dr. Reif, the
Cairo geniza was not in ac-
tuality discovered by
Schechter. Scholars had
known for some time of this
repository for sacred texts
and other documents the
community had not wished
to destroy, but had been dis-
couraged from taking mate-
rial from it by stories of
misfortune that had beset
those who had removed ma-
terial, and by the super-
stition that a snake pro-
tected the entrance, attack-
ing prospective collectors.
Through various means, not
the least of which was the

payment of "baksheesh,"
the spell was broken during
the 19th Century.

Gradually material fil-
tered out of Cairo into other
-parts of the world. The Rus-
sian Karaite, Abraham Fir-
kowitch, sold a collection to
the Imperial Library at St.
Petersburg; the Russian Ar-
chimandrite, Antonin, ac-
quired an important collec-
tion in Jerusalem; Elkan
N. Adler, son of Chief
Rabbi Nathan Marcus
Adler, was allowed to place
several thousand fragments
in discarded Torah scroll
mantles and brought them
to London after one of hi_s
visits to Fostat.
In spite of all this activi-
ty, however, as noted by
Dr. Reif. "it must be
stressed that the various
collections of fragments
had not yet been linked
with each other or traced to
the Cairo geniza. nor had -
the material been adequate--
1y exploited by any of the
scholars involved. Further-
more, no one Ntt seems to
have had the idea of locat-
ing the source of these col-
lections. fully exploiting it
and making it available in
one seat of learning."
Them in May. 1896, twin
widowed sisters of Scottish
origin, Mrs. Agnes Lewis
and Mrs. Margaret Gibson,
returning from one of their
frequent trips to the Near
East for the express pur-
pose of acquiring valuable
manuscripts, asked Schech-
ter's help in identifying
some of the material they
had found. Determining
that one of the fragments
contained a long-lost Hebr-
ew version of the Apocry-
phal Book of Ben Sira (Ec-
clesiasticus 1, Schechter
quickly wrote a note to the
sisters requesting that pub-
lication of the discovery he
withheld until a formal an-
nouncement could be made.

Schechter made up his
mind to visit the source of
this literary wealth, and
Charles Taylor, Master of
St. John's. a mathemati-

cian, and himself an emi-
nent Hebraist, provided
Schechter with the funds
necessary to make the trip.
In December, 1896, armed
with an elegant letter of rec-
ommendation from the uni-
versity to the heads of the
Jewish community in Cairo
as well as an introduction
from the Chief Rabbi of
England to the Chief Rabbi
of Cairo, Schechter set off
for Egypt.

iza collection will be made
available on microfilm to
scholars throughout the
world, along with much ma-
terial from other geniza

Israel Elections
Not in the Stars

Two Cabinet ministers and
a number of Knesset mem-
bers have consulted a Je-
rusalem astrologer regard-
ing their electoral chances,
according to the astrologer,
Ilan Pecker.
Addressing Jerusalem's
Rotary Club. Pecker would
not reveal the identities of
his new clients. His own pre-
diction. he said, was that
the May 17 election would
prove inconclusive and a
second election would have
to he held before the end of

Both Schechter's personal-
ity and approach seemed to
commend themselves to the
leaders of the community.
and he was authorized to
take whatever he wished.
Schechter's labors were con-
siderable - mentally, phys-
ically. and monetarily. En-
trance into the windowless
and doorless store-room
was by way of a ladder
through a hole high in the
wall of the ladies' gallery.
Dark. stuffy, and uncomfort-
Polish Philatelists
able, dust rose in clouds
whenever Schechter rum-
Honor Salomon
maged through and among
the contents.
lonus Philatelic Society of
Ultimately, Schechter's
Chicago prominently fea-
perseverance paid off with
tured in its recent exhibi-
what he estimated to be up-
tion Haym Salomon. a Pol-
wards of 100.000 relatively
ish Jew who helped in the fi-
legible fragments ready for
nancing of America's Revo-
shipment to England.
lutionary War.
While he and Taylor of-
Salomon. a merchant,
fered the majority of -the
banker and financier. had
fragments to Cambridge
fought for Polish independ-
University, Schechter re-
ence and was a close friend
of the foremost Polish patri-
tained some 200 for himself,
bringing them with him
When Poland's cause was
when he assumed the Presi-
los,t and the country was dis-
dency of The Jewish Theo-
membered in 1772 by Rus-
logical Seminary in the
sia, Austria and .Prussia.
spring of 1902.
Salomon left for America.
According to Dr. Reif,
what Schechter had thought
Hebrew College
to be 100.000 fragments
turned out to be closer to
Host Parley
140,000. Nearly a fifth of
these were conserved,
treated, and placed under Leading scholars in Jewish
glass between 1891-1902. studies will assemble at
Today, under Dr. Reif's di- Hebrew College in Boston,
rection, the remainder of April 25. for a one-day sym-
the Material is well on its posium on the theme, "As-
way to being preserved and pects of Jewish Scholarship
catalogued by an 11-mem- Today: An Academic Con-
ber team. Within the next ference on Major Trends in
three to four years, the en- Contemporary Jewish
tire Taylor-Schechter gen- Learning."

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