2 Friday, October 20, 1978
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Communal Concerns Over Situation in 'Shrinking'
School Systems, the Status of the Teachers
and the Continuing Communal Responsibilities
Unquenchable Interest in Jewish Educational Needs
As long as there are people who are determined to advance Jewish educational needs
and to strive for the highest standards in assuring priorities for the Jewish school, there
will be cause to be heartened by popular attitudes.
An editorial analysis of one portion of the problems affecting our schools, that of the
part-time teacher, resulted in reactions that stemmed from tin increased concern as well
as one of hurt on the part of leadership. In the ranks of the latter there is a continuity of
action, seeking to mend some of the shortcomings and to create opportunities for teachers
in what could well be considered a dwindling of school needs. One JeWish leader even
spoke of a "shrinkage" resulting from the zero population threats in Jewish ranks.
In spite of a continuing teacher contract dispute which must be judged as deplorable
and frustrating, it is to be conceded that those concerned with Jewish education have
done much to elevate our schools. They did increase allocations to the Day Schools. They
have instituted a study out of which, it is to be hoped, will soon emerge new guidelines for
future activities. •
Nevertheless, the problem posed editorially last, week retains a great measure of
pragmatism. Proof was provided this week, after the appearance of the referred to
editorial challenge, from a prominent American Jewish educator. Dr. Eli Grad, president
of Boston Hebrew College, former educational director of Detroit's Shaarey Zedek school,
addressed this message to supporters of his school in his Hebrew College Bulletin:
The problem of teaching personnel in our Hebrew, schools has reached a
critical stage. Fewer than 12 full-time teaching positions remain in the Hebrew
schools of Greater Boston. Fewer than 12 individuals make a living — meager as
-- it is — by teaching in a supplementary Jewish school.
Teaching in the Hebrew school has been reduced to part-time work. To be sure
excellent and inspiring work is being done by many part-time teachers. Some
bring excitement and a breath of fresh air into our schools precisely because
their livelihood is not dependent on Jewish education. The fact remains, how-
ever, that consistent achievement is dependent on a core of full-time professional
teachers whose lives revolve around the educational process. Let us make no
mistake about it: the erosion which has all but eliminated professional career
opportunities in the Jewish classroom will eliminate professional career indi-
viduals from educational leadership positions within one generation. The many
schools in our community which were faced with a turnover of educational
leadership personnel this year are aware how inexorably the process of attrition
is setting in.
The continued vitality of Jewish life in our community dictates that we accept
as a first priority the restoration of professionalism and full-time career oppor-
tunities in the Jewish school. To achieve this I propose that we redefine the
position and responsibilities of the classroom educator from that of a teacher
whose relationship with students is limited to four or six or eight hours per week,
and whose remuneration and opportunities for advancement reflect the part-
Diplomat With Strong Zionist Record
Arthur Lourie, whose death is reported from Jerusalem,
was the kindliest of men. He' as a diplomat with a heart.
The former Israel ambassador to Canada and the Court of
St. James had -a long Zionist career. He was Dr. Chaim
Weizmann's secretary and an associate of the leaders in the
Jewish Agency and in major Jewish ranks in this country
and in England. He belonged to that group of South African
Jews who became the pivots in Zionist, Palestinian and
then in Israeli ranks.
There is a reason for
selecting him for special
mention. This commentator
traveled with him to San
Francisco as members of the
Jewish Agency delegation
during the founding of the
UNO — the United Nations
Organizations, as it was
then referred to — in 1945.
He was a hardworking asso-
ciate in supervising the af-
fairs of Jewish spokesmen
who were then battling for
human rights provisions in
the UN Charter and in be-
half of the Zionist cause.
In the main, these Jewish
spokesmen were helpless.
They had to turn to those of
us who were accredited UN
correspondents, whose red UN buttons admitted them
everywhere, for information regarding inner proceedings.
This is a point worth recalling. The doors were closed to
Zionist leadership, except in rare cases when demands were
made for action and recognition. It took a Jewish state, the
emergence of sovereign Israel, to open the doors of the
world's ruling powers to Jews.
Eliahu Elath, who later became the first Israel ambas-
sador to the United States, was in the Jewish group in San
Francisco in 1945. He recalled his frustrations when, upon
attaining his high role in the redeemed state of Israel, he
was here to speak at Cong. Shaarey Zedek and he turned to
this commentator as they walked down the stairs to an
overflow gathering in the Chicago Blvd. Building of
Shaarey Zedek and said: "See what happens when we have
a state?" It was an expression of joy over the acclaim of a
people's triumph after the earlier frustrations. (He had
changed his name from Epstein, adopting Elath because he
was an historical authority on that region). Arthur
Lourie attained greatness because he accepted the difficul-
ties with patience and the achievements with dignified
time nature of the endeavor to that of a Jewish educational group worker who
assumes comprehensive responsibility for the Jewish educational and cultural
development of a specified number of young people and their families.
Having adopted many of the planning and programming processes of the
Jewish group work establishment, I propose that we adopt the one leaf from the
Book of Jewish Communal Service which is most likely to dramatically affect the
course of Jewish education. A full-time position of a group worker in a therapeu-
tic setting in any of our communal agencies entails comprehensive responsibility
for a specified number of clients: 15-20 client families are deemed to be a full-time
work load which calls for a professional career position and professional salary.
Given the rapid erosion of Jewish lifestyles and motivations in the Jewish
home, the supplementary school alone cannot achieve significant results. Coop-
eration between school and home is essential; the values and skills taught by the
school will come to fruition only to the extent that they are implanted in thr
practices and lifestyles of the home.
Imagine, if you will, an educator who is assigned comprehensive responsibility -AI
for 20 families. He will teach the children and he will teach their parents, not
necessarily together; he will encourage participation in study groups and Jewish
cultural activities and guide such participation. He will develop a personal
relationship with each of these families so as to be able to guide each of them in
directions and toward programs which are consistent with their specific prefer-
A costly undertaking? In relation to today's teaching costs in the supplemen-
tary school, the program I propose would indeed entail cost increases. Some of
the added cost can be provided by the consolidation of several part-time posi-
tions: teachers, youth leaders, adult education instructors and the like into
well-defined, full-time career opportunities; but that is not the approach I wish to
project. If services rendered to 20 families in the context of the Jewish vocational
service, or a Jewish family and children's service, or a Jewish big brother
organization, constitute a full-time position which is funded accordingly by our
communities, why should the comprehensive educational and cultural servicing
of the needs of 20 families be one iota less deserving of full-time status?
I assure you that we have the capacity to train and retrain qualified individuals
for such comprehensive professional responsibilities. But the task must begin
with the acceptance of the concept, the creation of positions, and a firm under-
taking to fund such positions.
Neither The Jewish News editorial nor the Eli Grad message are necessarily criti-
cisms. They are of necessity a search for the best in Jewish education, the most thorough
in teaching, the results urgently required for students. That is why it becomes necessary
to resort to the above long quote and what has inspired this writer's editorial quest for
A Program of Action for Olympics
A proposed boycott of the- 1980 OlymPics scheduled to be
held in Moscow and the campaign that it be transferred
elseWhere seems like a lost cause.
The biggest obstacle to an anti-Moscow movement is the
craving of athletes to be participants in the international
games. The prejudices extant are forgotten; Berlin of 1936
and Munich of 1972 are hardly remembered.
The main craving among athletes is to be in the Olym-
The concern over Communist oppressions and the anti-
Semitisni that may again affect the treatment to be ac-
corded to Israeli and other Jewish participating athletes is
primary in the consideration of action to guarantee fair
play in the sports arenas. What's to be done about the fears
over Communist prejudices? A program of action outlined
by the American Jewish Congress suggests:
In addition to supporting the Kemp-Anderson
• resolution (calling for moving the 1980 Olympics),
we recommend that each community arrange
.;meetings with those individuals, well-known
sports figures and major corporation executives
who have links to the United States Olympic and
International Olympic Committees so that
adequate steps . are taken to insure:
• Unhampered participation of all athletes,
coaches and trainers from all countries, including
immigrants from the USSR who may be included
on the Israeli Olympic teams;
• Equitable distribution of blocks of tickets,
hotel space and airline seats to all participating
countries, including Israel and the United States;
• That there be no repressive measures such as
detention, house arrest or other official harass-
ment against Jews in-the USSR before, during or
after the games;
• Non-discriminatory distribution of tickets to
Soviet citizens, including Soviet Jews, and assur-
ances that no attempt will be made to block the
attendance of Russian Jews at the games;
• That the Olympics will not be used as an excuse,
directly or indirectly, for cutting back on Jewish
• That no impediments are placed in the way of
tourists seeking to meet Soviet citizens in Moscow
or other Soviet cities.
In addition, meetings with officials of local af-
filiates of NBC — which is televising the games —
and firms sponsoring the broadcasts of the games
should be arranged. NBC should be urged to re-
port objectively everything that occurs in connec-
tion with the Olympics, making their own edito-
rial decisions free of any pressures or influences
from Soviet officials. It is our hope that, in their
reportage, the TV network will be particularly
sensitive to the plight of the Soviet Jew.
This cannot satisfy those with memories of the in-
humanities that were engineered by Adolf Hitler himself,
the murder of 11 Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972, the
mistreatment and threats to the very lives of visiting Is-
raeli athletes in Russia in recent years.
But if the games will be held in Moscow as planned in
1980, something that appears inevitable, and Israeli teams
will be participants, then even a plan of action now viewed
with skepticism will have to be acceptable.
The Fanatic Neturei Karta
A Neturei Karta fanatic's craving for publicity was fulfil-
led by the Detroit News in a sensational article about that
movement's rabbi who prays for the destruction of Israel.
It's an old story and the Detroit newspaper gave it notori-
ety as "a scoop.
What's the scoop? Because the correspondent who wrote
the article had only just heard about it.
But it's an old story. A handful of deluded people refuse to
accept self-liberation. They prefer the Messiah. They refuse
to admit that Zionism proved to be the messianic movement
for Jewry's liberation from homelessness.
Everything the Detroit News published is the truth
about the Neturei Karta, the Guardians of the City. They
called upon Hussein, later upon Arafat, to save them by
destroying Israel. They insist on Sabbath observance and
they break the Sabbath by throwing rocks on those driving
cars on the Sabbath.
They are so indoctrinated with hate that they would not
hesitate to commit murder in the name of a Messiah-
What the syndicated columnist did not learn is that there
are a mere few hundred of these propagators of insanit4
&it they cause trouble as if they were in the thousar.,
And Israel wisely ignores them.
The Arab West Bankers
At the outset, the so-called moderate Arab leaders in
West Bank communities were jubilant over the Camp
David summit decisions. Then came an about-face and
A typical example is Mayor Elias Freij of Bethlehem. He
knows that peace is to the advantage of his people as much
as to Sadat and the Egyptians. But there must have been
threats on his life which caused him to abandon an attitude
of peace and to declare himself an Arafat-PLO supporter.
This is what can be expected: that threats from the PLO
may induce opposition to the approaching peace between
Egypt and Israel. History will judge them realistically.