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July 03, 1981 - Image 28

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-07-03

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28 Friday, July 3, 1981

Windsor Rabbi Takes on Safed Restoration

since Rabbi Yitzhak Luria,
the genius of Kabala, first
expounded his teachings on
the nature of Creation to a
small group of disciples in
Safed, the town has been
the focus of considerable
interest, according to a re-
cent article in Israel Scene.
Many tourists who pass
through the charming new
artist's colony and the old
synagogues are only vag-
uely aware that two-thirds
of the old buildings are still


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buried under centuries of
dust and debris.
Before red-bearded Aaron
Butzer, arrived in Safed
from Cleveland, Ohio, no
one seriously considered re-
storing the dilapidated
houses, some of which dated
back to the 17th Century.
And when Butzer first an-
nounced his intention of
doing something about it,
local residents were skepti-
But today, five years la-
ter, Butzer has already
completely restored a
14-room house and, to-
gether with his partner,
Rabbi Yosif Rosenzweig
of Windsor, is offering
young people, through
Gesher, a unique oppor-
tunity to make a contri-
bution to the renaissance
of the Jewish homeland.
In addition to restoring
synagogues, the volunteers
in the "To Build and Be
Built" project are develop-
ing their own sense of

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Jewish identity. They spend
the mornings cleaning out
the rubble and preparing
walls of old dwellings for
fresh plaster, new floors and
fixtures. The second half of
the day is devoted to an in-
troductory course in Jewish
thought and a Jewish
Agency-sponsored Hebrew
language course.
"For most of us, Jewish
concepts usually end in
childhood," says Rabbi
Rosenzweig. "In other
words, we're rather re-
tarded when it comes to
religious education. Our
program tries to provide a
basic overview of a variety
of topics, including the
Jewish calendar, Hasidut,
history and the basic texts
from the Bible and Talmud.
"Perhaps our greatest ac-
complishment is in helping
people find their identity as
Says Aaron Butzer:
"Jews seem to have for-
gotten in recent years
that we're supposed to be
building our own coun-
try, not getting others to
build it for us.
"The idea is to do physical
work, but the building is
really a means to an end.
The work itself becomes a
positive Jewish experience.
Not only to do something,
but to become something."
On their first day at
clearing the 18th Century
Tchernobil Synagogue,
Butzer said, participants
discovered passageways
that had been hidden for
many years — a symbol of
their own unrevealed inner
Walking tours of the
Galilee-Golan Heights area
add to the pleasure, as does
a three-day hike from the
Kinneret to the Mediterra-
nean at the end of the
three-month course.
On a green mountain in
northern Israel, partici-
pants in the program are



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proving that the volun-
teer spirit and the need
for a challenge can do
much to promote an
appreciation of the
Jewish state and of their
No ritual other than the
observance of kashrut and
the Sabbath, are required,
but most participants are
sufficiently curious to dig a
little deeper into religious
practice. Last Yom Kippur,
for example, almost all par-
ticipants fasted, though
most had never done so be-
Just who are these
pioneers of a new spiritual
Gwenn Schlansky did so-
cial work with Iroquois and
Cherokee Indians before
coming to Israel to learn
more about her own tribe.
Mitch Coopersmith, of
Miami Florida, was on a
kibutz when he heard of
the program.
Steve Fashiff, of Califor-
nia, and Eric Gerstenfeld, of
the Bronx, agreed with
Kalman Gibson, of London,
that they joined the pro-
gram because it offered
"classes on Jewish studies
without the pressure of a
Dayna Vainstein said she
originally just "came along
for the ride" with her
friends and wound up stay-
ing and getting involved.
Americans Debbie Blog,
Gail Merman and Arlene
Rosenberg, of South Africa,
were also fired by
enthusiasm when they
heard of the program.
According to Rabbi
Rosenzweig, Israel is
open to all kinds of
things." The key to suc-
cess, he suggests, both in
order to bring young
people back to Jewish
studies and to improve
the rate of aliya, may be
to emphasize rather than
minimize the challenge of
being a Jew in Israel.
Adds Butzer: "Kibutzim
often don't give enough em-
phasis to traditional val-
His purpose, he says, is to -
broaden Jewish horizons.
He and Rabbi Rosenzweig
will be organizing a new
group for their project every
three months throughout
the year, except during the
winter rains when restora-
tion is impossible.




Knesset member Geula
Cohen has campaigned
against high salaries and
privileges received by
members of the Knesset.
An MK receives a
monthly salary of $1,100,
compared to the average
worker's $500. After only
one term in the Knesset an
MK can receive a life-time
pension, free train and bus
rides, telephone service and
medical care for life.
Cohen said the excessive
privileges transforms the
Knesset into a privileged
class and contributes to the
population's lack of faith in
the government.



JWV Re-Elects Greenberg,
Auxiliary Picks Burnstein

Commander William
Greenberg was re-elected
commander for a second
term of the Department of
Michigan, Jewish War Vet-
Other officers are: Senior
Vice Commander, Ely Katz;
Junior Vice Commander,
Harry Berman; Quarter-
master, Morris Smith;
Judge Advocate, Jack
Kraizman; National Execu-
tive Committeeman, John
Nemon; Policy Committee
of NEC, Harry T. Madison;
Michigan Representative to
the National Shrine,
The auxiliary elected the
following: Lina Burnstein,
president; Ilene Feldman,
senior vice president; Shir-
lee Snider, junior vice
president; Eleanor Dale,
chaplain; Adele Simms,
patriotic instructress;
Dorothy Goldberg, trea-
surer; and Martha
Hauptman, conductress.
At a Friday night oneg
Shabat following religious
services, conducted by
Louba Lupiloff, Tom Tannis
and Sam Skupsky, 23
youths were awarded col-
lege scholarships by the
Jewish War Veterans Posts
and Auxiliaries.
The recipients were:
Eric Manson, Patricia
Manson, Susan Fine,
Marlene Reid, Vickie
Friedman, Margaret
Jones, Allison Katz, Don
Berlin, Arnold Berlin,
Steven Cohen, Michael
Cohen, Susan Watts, Glen
Clark, Paul Clark, Lori
Horowitz, Peggy Stem-
mer, Susan Sherman,
Charles Goldstein, Ethan
Wolf, Brenda Humphrey,
David Moss, Ardis Jones,
Sheri Leider.
Greenberg and Past Aux-
iliary President Betty
Spinner were honored at a
testimonial dinner dance
attended by National Judge
Advocate Robert Zweiman.
The convention resolu-
tions requested the Ad-
ministration to release on
schedule F-16 fighter bom-
bers ordered by Israel;
applauded Israel for
"knocking out" the Iraqi
nuclear reactor.
Other resolutions urged
the Reagan Administration
to revoke its prior decision
to sell AWACS to Saudi
Arabia; to close down the
PLO information office in
Washington, to take action
to seek the fundamental
human rights of Jews and
other minorities in Syria,
Iraq, Iran including the
right to emigrate; to pursue
methods of supporting com-
pensation for the lost prop-
erty of hundreds of
thousands of Jews forced to
flee Moslem countries since
1948; to recognize
Jerusalem as the official
capital of Israel, and move
the U.S. Embassy there
from Tel Aviv; to seek
higher emigration levels for
Jews in the Soviet Union,
and guarantees for the

political, cultural, and reli-
gious rights of Jews remain-
ing in the USSR. The con-
vention also stated its oppo-
sition to attempts to cut vet-
erans benefits and medical
The convention con-
tinued to pursue the right
of veterans to judicial re-
view in U.S. courts of
their grievances. Other
resolutions dealt with
after effects of toxic
chemicals and nuclear
radiation such as Agent
Orange; recommended
legislation to deal with
the Ku Klux Klan and
neo-Nazis and other ter-
rorist groups; urged
President Reagan to take
vigorous action to find
and bring home Ameri-
cans missing in action in
Southeast Asia; and op-
posed prayers in public
schools. The convention
urged the President to
study Arab investment in
the U.S.
President Rubin Ziss-
man of the Memorial
Home Association, which
operates the Shrine to the
Jewish War Dead of Michi-
gan, announced a program
to raise funds to "burn the
mortgage" of the building.
For information on the
1981-1982 season of the
Jewish War Veterans Bowl-
ing League, call JWV head-
quarters, 559-5680.

* * *

AUXILIARY will meet
8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the
Jewish War Veterans
Memorial Home. Guests are
invited. A report on the De-
partment of Michigan con-
vention will: be presented.
Plans will be completed for
a service date for the auxil-
iary at the Allen Park Vete-
rans Hospital. To volunteer,
call Hospital Chairman
Frances Cohen, 255-3444.

Streisand Film
Based on 'Yentl

NEW YORK -- Barbra
Streisand will direct and
star in a musical film based
on "Yentl," a short story by
Isaac Bashevis Singer. The
film is scheduled to begin
shooting next February in
Miss Streisand has owned
the rights to the film for 13
years. In the movie, which
will be distributed by
United Artists, she will sing
nine songs written by
Michel Legrand and Mari-
lyn Bergman.

Tourism Down

Israel had 107,000 tourists
in March, a 20 percent de-
crease from March 1980,
but a 14 percent increase
over February 1981.
For the first three months
of 1981, some 228,000
tourists came to Israel,
compared to 273,000 a year

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