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November 22, 1985 - Image 69

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-11-22

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS Friday, November 22, 1985

69

HAPPY
THANKSGIVING
FROM YOUR FRIENDLY

classes, and what the Navy calls
"spir-ops" spiritual opportunities
— where recruits can partici-
pate in their own religious rites
or learn about the practices of
other religions.
And of course, there's the al-
ways popular push-ups and sit-
ups that come with boot camp.
Pasternak says boot camp was
serious business and by camp's
end he was in the best shape of
his life.
Coincidentally, his father was
a chaplain's assistant during
World War II but Marty sees no
Freudian or other psychological
connection. He says it's just a
coincidence. "My dad just kind
of fell into it when he was
drafted, while I'm doing this by
choice. When my dad was
drafted he could barely speak
English. He'd come over from
Europe only a year earlier.
When the army asked if any-
body could lead services he said
he could — what else was a
yeshiva buchor to say?"
Abe Pasternak adds, "I was in
the army twice and gained a
tremendous amount of experi-
ence from it. And I think the
same can be said for Marty al-
ready."
"People I've talked to who
have been through the entire
process speak very highly of it,"
says the rabbi/chaplain-in-
training. "It's definitely some-
thing new and different and I'm
always looking for something
different. The last two summers
I've worked with kids on USY
Pilgrimage and USY on Wheels
and now I'm ready to move on to
a different learning experience.
"I don't know exactly why I
feel the need to do this. I can
speculate that life's been good
here and maybe I should give
something back. But also, I feel
as a rabbi, and being constantly
reminded of God and of a rabbi's
role, I feel a sense of responsibil-
ity and I want to fulfill some of
that. And that includes an obli-
gation to the U.S. for offering
me the kinds of opportunities it
has."
With all of the significant
changes going on in his life, one
can imagine the difficult ad-
justments Pasternak is making.
He concedes that one of the
biggest adjustments for him was
his age. "I started rabbinical
school just prior to my 25th
birthday. It had already been
three years since graduate
school, and I don't want to say I
felt ancient, but at that age
most of my friends were well
into,their careers."
Any trepidation he once may
have felt has been replaced by
obvious and genuine
enthusiasm. "The Seminary's a
good place to get a deep, well-
rounded education about
Judaism. It's for virtually any-
body. You can use it to, go into
academia or in administrative
work. Many go on to become
school headmasters and youth
leaders."
The demographics of the stu-
dent body is mixed. Not
everyone has been a lifelong
Hebrew school student or comes
from a religious family. Actu-

.

ally, a good portion of the Semi-
nary's enrollment "found"
Judaism fairly late in life, Pas-
ternak points out. He mentions
that many became interested in
it for the first time in college,
perhaps from a university Hillel
House.
He also says that he is .proud
and lucky to have the full sup-
port of his parents. "There are
some guys whose folks just
aren't behind them 100 per-
cent." And then there are the
legacies — guys whose fathers
were rabbis. "Someday I suppose
we'll have female legacies, too,"
he says.
Most people today probably
find the idea of being a rabbi re-
strictive and unstimulating. For
Pasternak, the complete oppo-
site is true.
"The opportunity to make the
Jewish way of life understand-
able and attractive to people of
my generation is my goal. I
think I have some of the traits
that will enable me to reach
people and maybe capture their
interest.
"I want to show that I am liv-
ing by the book, but not doing
anything much different from
what they're doing. The greater
understanding that I'm achiev-
ing in school is allowing me
more freedom that I ever
thought I had. I find I'm actu-
ally being less and less re-
stricted."
Pasternak's done an enormous
amount of traveling and moving
around the last few years. From
East Lansing to Southfield, to
Columbus, back to Southfield, to
Israel, back again to Southfield,
across the U.S. by bus, to New
York, to Rhode Island, and as of
right now, back in Israel for a
year of study.
"I hope I can `go home again.'
I want to. Even though there's a
generation I want to reach, I
don't want to reach just any
part. I have a lot of close friends
here in Detroit and my family is
here and I want to come back
and do it for them — for the
people in the town that I grew
up in. Besides, I want my kids
to be Tigers fans and sit in the
beachers like I did."
"People move around too
much and miss out on a lot of
long term benefits of staying
somewhere," he says. "So I look
forward to coming home for
good."



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IDF Women
To Travel Free

Tel Aviv (JTA) — The Egged
bus cooperative has agreed to a
Ministry of Transport request
that it carry female soldiers free
of charge on its inter-urban
services.
The request for free transpor-
tation comes in the wake of an
incident in which a female
soldier, who did not have money
for bus fare, was raped and shot
while hitch-hiking. Male
soldiers in uniform will still pay -
the reduced fare charged to
members of the Israel Defense
Force.

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PRICES & ITEMS EFFECTIVE THRU NOV. 28, 1985. NO SALES TO DEALERS.

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