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May 15, 1987 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-05-15

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

UP FRONT

Outside Settlement Sought
In Holocaust Center Suit

Federation heads meet to discuss case
against HMC's architect and builder

DAVID HOLZEL

Staff. Writer

Three weeks after United Jewish
Charities filed suit against the ar-
chitect and builder of the Holocaust
Memorial Center, Charities
spokesmen have expressed a desire to
withdraw the suit. At the same time,
architect Leonard Siegal termed "ir-
responsible" Charities' and Jewish
Welfare Federation actions in the
matter.
Douglas Busbey, an attorney
representing United Jewish Charities
— an arm of Federation — filed suit
in Oakland County Circuit Court
April 23 to force Siegal's company,
Siegal/Tuomaala Associates of Farm-
ington Hills, and general contractor
Cronk and Tocco, Inc. of Oak Park, to
repair leaks which have plagued the
Holocaust Memorial Center since it
opened in 1984. Neither firm has
been served with a summons or
complaint.
"We'd like very much to be able to
withdraw the suit;' Federation presi-
dent Dr. Conrad Giles told The Jewish
News. "It depends on whether we can
reach a settlement agreeable to both
parties. If it is necessary to go before
a court of law, we will do so."
A meeting with all parties to the
suit is being arranged and will pro-
bably take place next week, according
to both Siegel and Dr. Giles.
As to why a suit was filed that the
plaintiffs now wish to see settled out
of court, Dr. Giles explained that
Charities was forced to file "in the

community's interest" because of
statutes of limitations which were
due to run out.
Siegal took issue with the Federa-
tion's explanation. "Clearly if the ex-
piration of the statute of limitations
was a problem they could have re-
quested that we waive the statute," he
argued. "That could have been done
without starting the law suit."
Leakage problems have been
dealt with all along by the contractor,
and Siegal maintains that present
leaking at the HMC was caused by
the erection of the Benard L. Maas
Garden of the Righteous, scheduled to
be dedicated May 31. Construction of
the roof garden, not part of the HMC's
original design, "created some cracks
and destroyed the integrity of the
waterproofing."
Frank Galgan, attorney for Cronk
and Tocco, said the center was
"repeatedly told that the roof was not
designed to accommodate (the
garden)."
Rabbi Charles Rosenzveig, HMC's
director, acknowledged the warnings,
but maintained that all the center's
leaks pre-date the construction of the
garden by two years.
Siegal reacted angrily to por-
trayals of the damage at the HMC
"that makes it sound like the
building is falling apart." The con-
tractor is prepared to do cosmetic
tepair work to remove water stains
once it is clear that the leaks have
stopped. The only leaks remaining
are under the roof garden, he
maintained.

I.B. Singer Continues To Forge
New Links In The Chain Of Life

ALAN HITSKY

Associate Editor

"The chain of continuity;' accor-
ding to George "Mike" Zeltzer, "is
made of solid gold."
Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis
Singer, at the age of 82, sees some tar-
nish on the chain. Especially when it
comes to the elevation, even the sur-
vival, of the Yiddish language. The
celebrated Yiddish author chastized
the world — including the Jewish
world — Monday evening during his
visit to Detroit for the American
Jewish Committee dinner honoring
Zeltzer.
Singer equated the treatment of
Yiddish to the historically poor treat-
ment of Jews by the rest of the world.
"Yiddish has almost become the sym-

bol of the Jewish people . . . despised
by everyone, including Jews." Jews of
the Enlightenment in the 19th Cen-
tury and Jews in America and Israel
today, he said, repeat the same
disparaging remarks about the
"Mama Loshen" that he heard in
Poland and in New York from anti-
Semites. "No other language suffers
from hatred like the Yiddish
language," Singer told his audience at
Adat Shalom Synagoguge.
The 1978 recipient of the Nobel
Prize for literature, Singer was ap-
parently in a somber mood Monday,
recalling the last time he was in
Detroit, in 1966, Rabbi Morris Adler
was shot and killed at Cong. Shaarey
Zedek.
He blamed "spoilers" and hatred

Continued on Page 22

ROUND UP

Bitter Cabinet -
Exchange Ends

Jerusalem — "The unity
government is not falling. It is
splitting in two," an Israeli
radio commentator noted Tues-
day after a particularly bitter
Cabinet meeting over Foreign
Minister Peres' proposal for an
international peace conference.
Prime Minister Yitzhak
Shamir urged his Likud col-
leagues Tuesday to reject `-
`utterly and without reserva-
tion" Peres' plan. He called it
a "criminal and stupid at-
tempt" that must be "removed
from our agenda, every last
trace and vestage of it."
Peres' office said later it was
"dumbfoUnded" by Shamir's
"brutal language." Political
observers said Shamir's

truculence was a sign he
believes he can defeat Peres'
plan and forestall early
elections.
On Monday, the New York
Times reported that in a three-
part memorandum of
understanding between Jordan
and Israel, Jordan pledged to
limit the Soviet role in an inter-
national conference, an ar-
rangement that pleases
Washington but probably will
not be acceptable to Moscow.

According to sources, the
memorandum's three sections
envision the convening of a con-
ference by the five permanent
members of the U.N. Security
Council, based on Resolutions
242 and 338. The conference
would then invite "geographi-
cal bilateral committees" to
conduct negotiations. The con-

ference reportedly would not
impose any solution or veto any
agreement reached by the
bilateral committees.

Syrian Relations
Still Cool

Washington (JTA) — After
lengthy debate, the Reagan Ad-
ministration has decided not to
send Ambassador William
Eagleton back to his post in
Syria, according to an article in
Tuesday's Washington Post. All
contacts between the United
States and Syria will have to be
conducted through a third par-
ty or at a lower level than
ambassador.
Despite the administration's
hope for renewal of direct con-
tacts between the two coun-
tries, wrote John Goshko, U.S.

sources said Eagleton's return
cannot be justified unless
Syrian President Hafez Assad
makes a major show of distanc-
ing himself from support of ter-
rorism.

Hershkovitz
Case Date Set

Preliminary examination has
been set for June 16 in the
embezzlement case against
former travel agent Benny
Hershkovitz. Examination will
take place in 48th District
Court in Bloomfield Hills on
the original charges that
Hershkovitz failed to refund
more than $90,000 to 20
couples from Temple Israel
after their 1986 trip to Israel
was canceled.

Oakland County assistant
prosecutor Harry Golski said
an investigation was continu-
ing into other allegations
against Hershkovitz, who
owned the former B & H Travel
in Southfield. Fifteen civil
cases are pending against
Hershkovitz and others in
Oakland County Circuit Court
concerning unpaid business
loans totaling nearly $1
million.
Golski said the case was
postponed from last Friday
because Hershkovitz's attorney
was out of town and had
presented additional business
records for the prosecutor's of-
fice to examine.
Hershkovitz has been free on
bond since last summer and is
working for his son in Atlanta,
Ga.

5

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