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May 24, 1985 - Image 45

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-05-24

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

feels it is particularly important to in-
volve young people in this dialogue be-
cause today's generation has grown up
more segregated than previous gener-
ations. He says he is optimistic about
Detroit's future despite some evidence
of racism "on both sides."
Cohan notes that the Hispanic
community is the fastest growing
ethnic group in the country and repre-
sents "a largely untapped reservoir of
opportunity and leadership."
Perhaps his most controversial
plan is to reach out to the largest Arab
community in the U.S., focusing on
common interests affecting Detroit
rather than on the Mideast, where
agreement may not be possible.
Cohan may need all of his legen-
dary skills as a mediator for his new
position; he says he will operate in the
same way he does professionally: "find
areas where you can agree and work
from there. My guiding principle is re-
spect your adversary. Don't think your

way is the only way. And remember
that ultimately, you're dealing on the
human level, with people. The idea is
that you can help me and I can help
you and together we can help the
community."
Cohan has been doing his share to
help the community for many years.
He is serving by gubernatorial ap-
pointment as chairman of the State
Board of Ethics and as a member of the
Michigan Council for the Arts. He is a
member of the board of trustees of
Sinai Hospital and life-time member
of the board of directors of the Michi-
gan Cancer Foundation, having
served as chairman for three consecu-
tive terms. He is also on the boards of
the Detroit Institute of Arts, Friends of
the Detroit Public Library and Or-
chestra Hall and is a member of the
American Jewish Committee.
Born in Detroit in 1929, Cohan
attended public schools in the city. His
father was a tailor from a Chasidic

household in Poland. Young Cohan •
grew up outside of the mainstream of
the Detroit Jewish community. "My
bar mitzvah was in a little synagogue
on 29th Street," he recalls, "and I went
to cheder (Hebrew school) after school.
I was the only Jew in my high school
class of several hundred, but I don't
look on that as a disadvantage. It
helped me deal with the real world."
Cohan received his B.A. from
Wayne State University and
graduated from Wayne State Law
School in 1952. He then served in
Army Counter-Intelligence in Europe,
and he met his wife, Heidi, in Ger-
many.
Returning from the service,
Cohan practiced law in Detroit until
1958, when he was appointed Assis-
tant Attorney General of Michigan. In
1961, he was appointed Deputy Attor-
ney General and served in that posi-
tion for more than 12 years. Often dur-

Continued on next page

Friday, May 24, 1985 4.5

Closer ties with the
black, Hispanic and
Arab communities
are one of his major
goals.

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