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May 22, 1987 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-05-22

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1) The Holocaust Memorial Center
Invites the Community to the
Dedication of the

Easy Does It

Benard L. Maas
Garden of the Righteous
Sunday, May 31, 1987
1 p.m.

Continued from preceding page

6602 West Maple Road
(Maple and Drake Roads)
West Bloomfield

Bais Chabad Torah Center

of Congregation Bais Chabad of West Bloomfield
Invites you to

"An Evening with
Dr. Abraham J. Twerski"

World renowned Chassidic
Philosopher and Psychiatrist

Who will speak on
Sunday, May 31, 1987
7:30 p.m.
Jewish Community Center
6600 West Maple Road
West Bloomfield, Michigan 48033


For more information call
Rabbi Elimelech Silberberg
626-1807 or 855 6170



Friday, May 22, 1987


open and run the Council of
Jewish Federation's office in
Jerusalem before accepting the
position in Detroit.
Kraar says he takes the
business of managing Jewish
affairs very seriously, "but
within that framework, I'm a
fairly relaxed person." His
natural style is folksy and in-
deed, upon returning to the
U.S. after working for two
years in Israel, where he says
he enjoyed the informality of
the system, "it took me awhile
getting used to wearing a
jacket and tie again."
He says he enjoys people, and
one can see that he relishes the
challenge of dealing with
perennially difficult members
of the community, describing
one contributor with a
notorious temper as "an ab-
solute pussycat once I asked
him if he wanted to be part of
the problem or part of the solu-
Kraar says the biggest pro-
blem the Jewish community
faces is that "no matter how
well we do in fund-raising, we
have finite resources and in-
finite needs, so we have to set
a schedule of priorities to meet
those needs. We have to keep
creating resources, and keep
meeting the needs, and we'll
never do it all."
Among his plans for the next
several years, Kraar hopes to
learn more about the needs of
the Jewish community. "I'm
not interested in a head-count
survey, but an assessment of
where we are and what we are
and aren't doing. We need a
data base."
He and the Federation
leadership also give a high
priority to a strategic plan for
the next five to ten years, and
acting on the findings of
Federation's commission on
Jewish education and identity.
Kraar says that "a
knowledgeable community
leads to a community that sur-
vives, and that leads in turn to
an involved community."
In planning for the future,
Kraar wants to play a role in
developing Jewish profes-
sionals in the Federation
system, a field that now faces
serious shortages in middle and-
top management positions. He
plans to work with the univer-
sities in the area to create pro-
grams similar to those that
now offer a double master's in
Jewish studies and social work.
Similarly, Kraar intends to
focus on future lay leadership.
He notes that Detroit is bless-
ed with young people growing
up with the realization that
they have a responsibility to
continue the tradition started
by their parents and grand-
parents. But he wants to
broaden that base so that every
segment has input into what he
calls "the process."
To Kraar, that term refers to
the consensus style of the
Jewish community, a system
where it is vital, he says, that

people feel they can have a
voice at different stages of a
given project. "Everyone can
feel a part if their views are
reflected along the way. If you
short-circuit those stages, you
lose trust." Kraar is well aware
that federations are criticized
for taking too long to act.
"Some of that criticism is
valid," he acknowledges, "but
that's preferable to short-
circuiting the process. Every
decision must be in the best in-
terests of the Jewish communi-
Do you sacrifice creativity for
consensus? "You have to accept
certain parameters," he replies.
"My maxim is that nothing in
the world is important if it
divides us." He is an en-
thusiastic advocate of "the fine
art of compromise."
With it all, though, Kraar
sees himself as, by nature, a
risk-taker, noting that some
may call him a masochist. His
risk in taking this position in

Kraar believes in a
team effort and in
operating ethically,
as a model to the

Detroit was minimal, he says,
acknowledging the excellent
staff and tradition of lay leader-
ship in the community. "I like
a situation that is very good
and I can help to make it bet-
ter, or starting from scratch,
like I did with the CJF job in
Israel," says Kraar. "What I
don't like is going into a bad
situation, though I've done
that, too. I don't enjoy being a
hero off of someone -else's
He says he has found no sur-
prises in the job, save for one.
"I thought the staff would be
great, but they're better than
that." His frustrations are in
not having the time to meet
with as many people as he'd
like and in having to learn
situations on the job.
Kraar believes in a team ef-
fort and in operating ethically,
as a model to the community.
He also advocates becoming in-
volved in the non-Jewish com-
munity in collective efforts,
whether it is joint programs for
clergy or expanding channels of
communication with the Arab
"Fund-raising is our most im-
portant job," says Kraar, "but
I see the Campaign results as
a kind of report card. How well
we do in the Campaign speaks
to how well we do in other
areas, and how much respect
the community has for our
work. And this is an in-
telligent, caring community.
"The foundation of our efforts
is built on the basis of people
with resources helping people
without. That's our people's
history, and the Detroit Jewish
community's greatest suc-
cess." ❑

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