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March 25, 1983 - Image 33

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-03-25

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Detroit's Project Renewal
Having an Effect in Ramla

The Project Renewal
committee members who
recently returned from De-
troit's twin city of Ramla,
Israel, don't emphasize the
many buildings that have
been refurbished or statis-
tics on the several thousand
disadvantaged residents
being helped or the need for
cash to maintain Detroit's
five-year commitment of
nearly $6 million to the
partnership program.
They talk instead about
the boisterous group of
youngsters in a Project Re-
newal after-school program
who shared a friendly game
of basketball with the vis-
itors — the same youths
who would have been out on
the streets getting into
trouble three years ago.
They tell about a disadvan-
taged mother learning to
handle her baby at a par-
ent education session, and
about some seniors at an
adult day care center who
are living in pride and dig-
nity for the first time.
They even talk about the
healthy disagreements
among Ramla residents in
committee meetings as they
learn to assert their inde-
pendent points of view as
never before.
The Detroit contingent
visited the Project Re-
newal neighborhood at
the request of the Jewish
Agency, which adminis-
ters the program. They
met with government of-
ficials, community work-
ers and, of course, the
residents themselves. In-
cluded from Detroit was
Jane Sherman, who
chairs Detroit's commit-
tee with Irwin Green and
also serves as national
Project Renewal co-
chairman; James M.
August; Dr. Donald and
Joyce Sherman; Michael
Zaks, executive director
of the Fresh Air Society;
and Jewish Welfare Fed-
eration Executive Direc-
tor Wayne Feinstein..
Initiated in 1979 as a
partnership between the
people of Israel and Ameri-
- can Jews, Project Renewal's
goal has been to implement
improved community
facilities, housing and so-
cial services for Israel's dis-
advantaged immigrants
from North African and
Middle Eastern countries.
Funding ,comes jointly from
the Israeli government and
American Jewish com-
munities.
Currently, there are 69
Project Renewal com-
e/0,J

munities that are "twinned"
to communities in this
country. Detroit's program
is held up as a model — not
only because of the physical
changes and social services
that have upgraded the
residents' quality of life.
More importantly, accord-
ing to August, the residents
have learned "to be more re-
sourceful on their own;
they've developed skills in
dealing with the govern-
ment, funding sources and
life situations."
Much of that success is at-
tributed to the enthusiastic
and knowledgeable Ramla
community workers and to
the personal interest and
interaction of many pe-
troiters. Some of the com-
mittee members, for exam-
ple, have visited Ramla
number of times. Dr. Sher-
man compared his visit of
two years ago to this one,
noting that he saw a contin-
ual upgrading of homes and
schools. "The residents are
motivated to maintain the
improvements themselves,"
he said. "Facilities that
were painted and refur-
bished two years ago are
still clean and pleasant.
That's unusual for a disad-
vantaged neighborhood."
Joyce Sherman shared
her husband's enthusiasm
for the program. She said
that after talking to many
residents and community
workers, she felt that "they
are learning to be leaders, to
make their community a
good one — not just for now,
but for the future when the
Detroit program is com-
pleted."
She also was im-
pressed with the fact that
"Project Renewal is pro-
viding the residents with
skills that we take for
granted." She recalled
that at a preschool center
"youngsters were lear-
ning basic skills that we
might teach our children
at home. These parents
aren't yet able to help
their youngsters in that
way. "
Mrs. Sherman added that
at another program, par-
ents were learning how to
communicate with their
children.
In addition to the range of
programs that serve all ages
in the Renewal neighbor-
hood, committee members
commented on the new
Fisher/Taubman Commu-
nity Center which is
scheduled to open next
month. Plans are underway
for sponsoring plays and

Youngsters perform at a Project Renewal com-
munity center in Ramla.

cultural events as a way to
draw participation from the
more prosperous . areas of
the city and integrate the
two groups of residents — a
major goal of the project.
All the committee mem-
bers noted the warmth and
graciousness extended to
them by the Ramla resi-
dents. "Although they
aren't sure exactly where
Detroit is," said August,
"they know that the people
in Detroit have made a dif-
ference in their lives."
There is some fear, how-
ever, that the difference De-
troit's Project Renewal pro-
gram has made could be
eroded by serious lack of
cash. Chairman Jane
Sherman said that while
Detroit's $6 million com-
mitment "reflects a real
concern for the people in
Rarala, the lag in cash col-
lection of those pledges
could be disastrous for the
entire program." She
stressed the importance of
meeting the Jewish Agen-
cy's fiscal deadline of March
31 for all 1982-1983 Project
Renewal pledges.

Friday, March 25, 1983 33

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MOGEN DAVID or
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128

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78

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8 A.M. TO 10 P.M.
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PRICES EFFECTIVE THRU MAR. 31, 1983. NO SALES TO DEALERS.

FOR PASSOVER...

KOSHER

from Coca-Cola Bottlers of Detroit, nc.

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OF 2 LITER
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