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January 24, 1986 - Image 29

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-01-24

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, January 24, 1986 29

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FRAMES &

B'nai B'rith Youth
Organization members hold a
vigil protesting the Soviet
Union's oppression of its
*Jews. The gathering took
place across the street from
the Soviet embassy in
Washington.

says that "we don't raise a single cent for
BBI, but only for the youth services," the
key word is "raise." There are no special
appeals made for BBI funding, but the
parent is supported by dues.
Stanley Berman, director of fiscal opera-
tions, avows that 64 percent of the BBI
dollar is spent on youth services, 27 per-
cent on lodge services and nine percent on
administration. Despite these public
figures, the feeling outside headquarters
seems to be that BBI isn't fiscally respon-
sible. Some Hillel leaders say that if they
ran their shops like headquarters does,
they would never have new buildings and
equipment. To which Berman replies,
"One person's program support is another
person's overhead," adding that he sees
administration as synonymous with na-
tional program support.
The intra-agency competition for favor
and funds separates the very groups that
could benefit from joint efforts. For exam-
ple, the BBI Jerusalem Center and the
ADL office are a few blocks apart in Israel,
but they function solo. A recent centennial
celebration of BBI in Seattle, which had
all the makings of a superb event, came off
as amateurish because it lacked profes-
sional planning. Professional B'nai B'rith
staffers in Seattle at the BBYO, Hillel and
ADL offices did not cross the lines to help
on a BBI function. Book club an-












nouncements are not sent to the women
because they are a men's project.
B'nai B'rith's problems are not inconse-
quential, but neither are they the whole
picture. Lew Hamburger says he is with
the organization because he's "attracted
to a challenge where there's hope." Ham-
burger listed new membership incentives
now under consideration, such as BBI
credit cards, enhanced insurance policies,
an international singles' conference, and
ways to market the academic community
(i.e. book publications).
Sports-oriented lodges are drawing
younger men, as do those featuring
political activism. Units, which have men
and women members, were begun about 15
years ago and attract singles as well as
young married couples. They might be
even more popular, but BBW considers
them "a nail in the coffin" of their
autonomy, according to Gerald Kraft. He
notes that units, with their joint owner-
ship, are also a hassle for leaders to create
and run.
Harvey Berk, BBI director of publica-
tions, repeats an oft-heard theme when he
says that low morale is not the result of
a sluggish bureaucracy, but the frustra-
tion of dreams thwarted by insufficient
resources. Dan Thursz is adamant that the
organization has "no failures" and says it
"never was in a slump." As evidence of

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