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February 27, 1987 - Image 29

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-02-27

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

WOOLF ROOFING

COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL

Hot Tar-Built-Up Roofing

I

Southfield

West Bloomfield

646-2452 I 682-7336

They give volunteers an out-
let for their energies.
They serve as an instrument
of the organized Jewish com-
munity, as they did when large
numbers of Russian Jews
needed help settling in
America.
They offer a safety net
should America one day prove
less hospitable to Jews than it
is now.
Finally, one federation offi-
cial points out, there's no rea-
son to dissolve Jewish hospi-
tals; they cost the Jewish
community so little. "Why a
Jewish hospital?" asks St.
Louis' DAvid Gee rhetorically.
"Why not a Jewish hospital?"
Feeble rationalizations for
an institutionally empty form
that has outlived its useful-
ness? Perfunctory justifica-
tions deficient in passion and
urgency?
Certainly, Jewish hospitals
grew out of a time, a world, far
different from our own. "The
poor among us shall not be-
come a burden to the (Dutch
East India) Company or to the
community, but be supported
by our own nation," the Jewish
community of New Amster-
dam promised governor Peter
Stuyvesant in 1654. Jews take
care of their own, was the mes-
sage. And Jews have been tak-
ing care of their own in
America ever since, as they
had back in Europe, where evi-
dence of inns for traveling
Jews taken sick go back to the
14th and 15th Centuries.
Today, though, Jews —
through Jewish hospitals —
are not just taking care of their
own; they're taking care of
others.
The way Spike Foreman re-
calls it, the fork in the road for
the Jewish hospital came back
in the early 1970s, at those
early consortium meetings. It
was a time of confusion and un-
certainty, of neighborhoods=
changing overnight. And re-
peatedly, to hear Foreman tell
it, the issue would come up, in-
variably sparking loud debate:
Here were these horrendously
expensive teaching facilities
and big emergency rooms,
someone would point out, yet
relatively few of those benefitt-
ing from them were Jews.
Why, then, was the Jewish
community sponsoring them?
"There are people who need
services," would come the re-
ply.
"But they're not Jewish."
Hesitantly at first, but then
with greater unaniminity and
conviction, the response to that
argument emerged:

"It doesn't matter."

The way Foreman recon-
structs it, they were saying •
that Jews were part of the
larger community now, and
that they bore responsibility_
not just for themselves. Oh,
there were holdouts against
this view, those who saw

Continued on next page

I

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29

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