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August 02, 1985 - Image 27

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-08-02

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

•i?

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

JEWISH
NEWS

let your words
do the talking
in the

as a civil rights worker in the
60's, trying to convince
Southern blacks to register to
vote. He recalled that his ex-
perience as a white, Eastern-
born Jewish enthusiast caused
him to fail utterly in his first
attempts to find any black
residents to talk with. When
he asked his older and wiser
supervisor why everyone re-
fused to answer his earnest
door-knocking, he was in-
troduced to an elaborate
ritual of acceptance.
"First," said his boss,
"don't go up onto the porch
and knock on the door. Wait
out by the front gate until
someone asks you up onto
the porch. Don't worry.
They'll know you're there.
' "Then, if they ask you up
onto the porch, don't talk
about voter registration.
Pass the time of day. If they
offer you a drink of ice tea or
lemonade, drink it. I don't
care if you've had a dozen
glasses of ice tea already and
your back teeth are floating.
Drink it. It's a test. Accep-
ting the drink stands for ac-
cepting your host.
"Then, if they ask you in-
side; you can talk about voter
registration. But not before."
Hirsch drew an analogy be-
tween that experience and
working with unaffiliated and
disaffected Jews. "What you
say," he pointed out, "is less
important than the feeling
you evoke in other people.
You've got to make your
pitch relevant to your listen-
ers' concerns."
It was apparent, very early
in the seminar, that Hirsch's
prhgmatic approach to out-
reach represented a point of
view that many felt was not
being sufficiently aired.
"I say it with love," charged
David Teutsch, executive
director of the Federation of
ReconstructioniA Congrega-
tions and Havurot, "but
Steve [Shaw] has another
agenda. He's pushing spirit-
uality. This conference is not
representative of outreach.
Many areas of outreach have
not been touched upon."
Jonathan Omer-Man, di-
rector of outreach progams
for the Hillel Council of the
Greater Los Angeles area, ex-
pressed another point of
view.
"The study of the soul,"
said Omer-Man, "is the least
studied of all Jewish sub-
jects. We have had great
• teachers, but for some reason
the lessons have not been
transmitted. The vessels are
broken. We have not been
able to translate the study of
the soul into modern idiom. I
feel very ill at ease with the
term 'spiritual.' It has
become almost a cult word."
Finally, at one point in the
marathon round of discus-
sions, a group led by JCC
directors Morton Plotnik and

Call The Jewish News Advertising
Department at 354-6060

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,

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Continued on next page

ca0;Ce

Friday, August 2, 1985 27

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"4

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