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March 18, 1983 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-03-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

12 Friday, March 18, 1983

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Federation Agencies Helping Single-Parent Families

By ESTHER ALLWEISS
TSCHIRHART

was separated from her
husband of 17 years. The
Jewish Welfare Federation
split was sudden, and Diane
Diane W. described her - (not her real name) was un-
situation as "desperate" prepared for job seeking and
when she came to the becoming the sole support of
Jewish Vocational Service her family. Her husband
(JVS) for help last fall.
had filed for bankruptcy,
Mother of three, a leaving Diane with a moun-
homemaker, she recently tain of debts.
For Diane, and single
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Jewish single-parent
family need not be with-
out hope. Several agen-
cies affiliated with the
Jewish Welfare Federa-
tion have outreach pro-
grams and other services
that help single parents
and their children in a
variety of ways. Contri-
butions to the annual Al-
lied Jewish Campaign
make possible the assis-
tance provided to these
families, primarily
through Jewish Voca-
tional Service, Jewish
Family Service, United
Hebrew Schools, Fresh
Air Society and Jewish
Community Center.
Diane's life has been
turned around in little more
than six months, she said.
JVS found her an attorney
and also referred her to the
Jewish Family Service
(JFS), where she received
an emergency check to pay
for groceries and a past-due
electricity bill. Perhaps
most importantly, through
her participation in a JVS
job counseling and place-
ment program called Dis-
placed Homemakers, coor-
dinated by Sherri Lumberg,
Diane has found employ-
ment in a job she enjoys.
JVS offers similar job
readiness and placement
assistance for women with
or without minor children
through Displaced
Homemakers, funded by the
Michigan Department of
Labor.
Following a family
break-up, counseling for the
parents and/or their chil-
dren often is essential. Ac-
cording to Margaret
Weiner, director of profes-
,sional services at Jewish
Family Service, it's common
for divorced or widowed
clients to have a sense of
failure about their mar-

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riage ending, to feel they're
somehow to blame.
Other problems may
arise in raising the chil-
dren alone: "It's hard
enough being a parent
without the stress of hav-
ing no partner to share
the burdens," said Mrs.
Weiner. JFS offers group
sessions for the parents
of children in treatment,
an opportunity to discuss
feelings about them-
selves that may be affect-
ing -their ability to parent
effectively.
Another single parent,
Carolyn A., said one of the
toughest parts about get-
ting divorced is "having to
cope with your children's
emotions about it when you
haven't yet come to grips
with your own." She had to
obtain counseling for her
son, now 12 years old, be-
cause of his poor adjustment
to his parents' breakup
three years ago.
For many troubled chil-
dren, the Jewish Family
Service's Special Friends
program provides much-
needed adult companion-
ship and direction. Accord-
ing to Fayga Dombey, coor-
dinator of volunteer serv-
ices, the children in the pro-
gram "need someone special
to call their own." Many are
from single-parent homes.
An adult volunteer serv-
ing as a Special Friend can
help relieve the burden on
the single parent and child
by giving the youngster the
.extra time and guidance he
needs.
In recognition of the
growing Jewish divorce
rate and its impact on
children, United Hebrew
Schools recently held a
pilot program on mar-
riage for its junior and
senior high school stu-
dents. As devised by Dr.
Jonathon Fishbane,
principal of the UHS high
school, and David
Maiseloff, of the Or-
chards program for
emotionally-disturbed
youngsters, the students
were encouraged to -dis-
cuss their views on mar-
riage, divorce and the
family after seeing -a film
clip from the movie "Or-
dinary People," about a
family in crisis.
Through continuation of
the program, "we hope to
lead the students to an
understanding of the impor-
tance of marriage in Jewish
tradition. Their sense of
commitment now will be
important to their mar-
riages rater as adults," said
Dr. Fishbane.
UHS is providing
assistance to Jewish
children in another way —
through some $40,000 in
subsidies for tuition and
transportaion. Rabbi Ber-
nard Moskowitz, UHS
school administrator, esti=
mated at least 175 single-
parent families are affil-
iated with UHS, out of a
total 700 families. Because
of financial need, about 80
percent of the single-parent
families have received UHS
subsidies during the 1982-
1983 school year, he said.
UHS makes the awards

Jewish Vocational - Service volunteer Tedd
Schneider serves as a "special friend" to this young
man from a single-parent home.

based on its philosophy that
every Jewish child is
entitled to an education.
Fresh Air Society has its
own long tradition of ensur-
ing a camping experience
for all Jewish youngsters.
FAS Executive Director
Michael Zaks said many of
the campers requiring fi-
nancial assistance come
from single-parent families,
where economic factors are
hurting both custodial
(usually the mother) and
non-custodial parents.
"The divorced father
usually is supporting two
households while the
mother is either under-
employed or unable to
find work because of
skills she lacks," said
Zaks.
Zaks said statistics kept
by FAS indicate that there
has been a 100 percent in-
crease in the number of
campers coming from di-
vorced homes over the last
10 years — evidence to him
that the Jewish family is
"undergoing dramatic and
painful changes."
For the children, feeling
the stress of family life,
camp may provide a safe
haven, said Zaks. Boys liv-
ing without a father may
look-up to their male camp
counselors as role models.
The single parent placing
a child in camp for the
summer may do so for very
different reasons than does
the two-parent family, he
added.
"Camp represents a re-
spite from the pressures of
single parent life," said
Zaks. It also is a good place
for a working mother to
have her child stay when
school is out for the sum-
mer.
Child care for pre-
school children is an-
other problem confront-
ing the single parent, who
most often is obliged to
work outside the home.
The Jewish Community
Center in West Bloom-
field provides day care in
its Child Development
Center, under director
Carolyn Dangoor. Full-
or part-time enrollment is
offered, and demand ap-
pears to be growing as
more women enter the
job market, said Ms.
Dangoor.
After the needs of the
children are met, what
about the parent? Where in
the Jewish community does
the single parent go to meet
new friends or talk about
concerns with others? One

way is attending an evening
series for Jewish singles
entitled "Not for Couples
Only," currently being held
at the United Hebrew
Schools.
Social and educational
events for singles,
presumably of interest to
the single parent, are
planned periodically by the
Jewish Community Center
singles coordinator Bruce
Tabashneck. _1
Also based at the JCC is
the Jewish Parents Insti-
tute, which offers a secular
Jewish Sunday school for
children from some 68
families (11 of them headed
by single parents).
JPI President Ann
Kuffler said an auxiliary
group is being formed to
provide "a Jewish cul-
tural experience"
primarily for persons in
their 40s and 50s whose
children have graduated
from JPI. Many of these
individuals will be single
parents who have felt un-
comfortable joining in
family holiday celebra-
tions without a spouse.
The JPI group will celeb-
rate the Jewish holidays to-
gether as an "extended fam-
ily," said Mrs. Kuffler. A
"Secular Night Out" will be
the group's first official so-
cial function in late March.
Other organizations in
Oakland County — includ-
ing the support group
SPACE of the National -
Council of Jewish Women,
and two new single-parent
groups at Temple Israel and
Cong. Shaarey Zedek —
provide additional choices
for single-parents building
new lives for themselves
and their families.

SF Jews
Form Gay
Congregation

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA)
— Nearly 40 San Francisco
homosexual Jews met re-
cently to form a non-profit
corporation called Cong.
Ahavat Shalom and are now
seeking other homosexual
Jews, men and women, to be
charter members. The new
congregation holds Sabbath
services on Fridays at the
Metropolitan Community
Church.

Employment
gives
health, sobriety and morals. '
Constant employment and
well-paid labor produce, in a
country like ours, general
prosperity, content and
cheerfulness.

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