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June 19, 1987 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-06-19

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

My children use the Rose Family
Library three times a week. We got
the chance to buy our homes and
loans to improve them. Our small
apartment in one of the public
housing blocks in Old Ramle has
been doubled in size and the out-
side renovated by Project Renewal.
Not having to worry about saving
up to move my family to a decent
place to live has freed any money
we put aside to invest in our chil-
dren and their education."
European-born parents were settled
in Ramle after being in displaced
persons' camps in Cyprus, shares
Dari's strong attachment to the
"In the army and at the uni-
versity, it always pained me that
people reacted negatively when I
told them I was from Ramle. It
bothers me that the city has such a
negative image," Chrust says.
Chrust points with pride to the
increased number of young people
taking advantage of the schol-
arships for technological and uni-
versity education and the decrease
in juvenile delinquency and drugs
in Old Ramle. He has enlisted
Batya Phillips, a Detroit volunteer
from the Otzma program, to tutor
four neighborhood adults who need
to improve their English: two for
university exams, one to get a
nursing degree and one who is aim-
ing for a promotion at the bank.
Batya, working in town as part of a
year's volunteer program in Israel,
has fallen in love with the small-
town homeyness of Old Ramle. She
says she could see herself putting
down roots here.
But even enthusiastic re-
sponses by these loyal citizens, who
have personally experienced the
dramatic improvements of daily life
caused by Project Renewal within
Old Ramle, are not enough by
themselves to hold back the demog-
raphic facts that appear to be
engulfing the city.
"We have learned that only a
large-scale plan can change the fu-
ture of Ramle," charges Marilyn
Several such plans have been
proposed by city planners. One, by
settlement planner Uzi Gador, calls
for a seven-eight year pan-urban
redevelopment project in Ramle
which would improve and reinforce
the physical structure of the city
and public service systems. Top
priority in Gador's plan would be
the reinforcement of the economic
basis of a city in which 30 percent
of the heads of households are un-
employed. A second plan calls for
development of Ramle together
with its neighboring town of Lod.
Executing either plan requires
more money than anyone has yet
committed to saving Ramle.


utside the rows of motel-
shaped, dilapidated attached
housing once dubbed "the
Californias" because of a notion
about the way Americans lived, an
ice cream truck is playing Oh
Susanah. Project Renewal is very
much in evidence: about half the


Continuing Commitment

Detroit plans to
retain its ties with Ramle


etroit's Jewish community
is wrapping up its finan-
cial commitment to the
Agash-Bilu neighborhoods in Old
Ramle, according to local Project
Renewal activists. The $5 million
raised by Detroit for the
neighborhoods has been utilized,
but Ramle needs much more.
"Project Renewal in Israel de-
termined that the whole city of
Ramle has to be addressed in a
socio-economic way," explains
Lawrence Jackier, chairman of
Detroit's Project Renewal commit-
tee. That means the addition of
five neighborhoods to the rehabili-
tation program.
Jackier puts the cost of con-
tinued work with Ramle at $18
million to $30 million, a figure
"well - beyond our reach" to
raise. Consequently New York

Detroiter Gal Reiter, left, and
community worker Zemmi Chrust.

City has decided to step in and es-
tablish a partnership with Ramle.
Is Detroit completely severing
its ties with Agash-Bilu? Jackier
says no. "On a people-to-people
basis we will continue our rela-

Californias are in the midst of a
face lift; several families have
added second stories with red-tiled
roofs to the old structures. Because
each family in the Californias gets
a tiny, but private, front yard,
there is a waiting list of potential
tenants. Neat flowered paths con-
nect the buildings.
Down one of the pretty paths
stands Project Renewal's
Goldman-Hermelin Cognitive Cen-
ter. Inside, six-year-old Elin is tel-
ling a story about a boy drinking
milk from a cup. The teacher
writes down her hesitating words
and coaxes her into forming a full
sentence. Little Yoel interrupts. He
can't wait for his turn. He wants to
say that his mother speaks French

rur_nr_morwr ICAAtIQUAsIMAIC

MVO 1107?t:


The Fisher-Taubman Center: A $2.2 million price tag.

tionship there." Local missions to
Israel will continue to visit
Ramle. A summer camp program
in which local youngsters live and
work in Ramle will continue next
summer. The program will not be
held this year due to low registra-
The Detroit committee is con-
sidering the establishment of an
endowment, the earnings of which,
would be used to maintain build-
ings in Ramle built through Proj-
ect Renewal, and could also fund
special programs in the city.
According to Jackier, the De-
troit committee has also agreed to
participate in the "Renewed
Vision Canipaign," whose goal is
to complete all Project Renewal
commitments that have been left
incomplete. Between $30 million
and $40 million need to be raised;
Detroit has pledged to raise $1
million of that amount.
The Fisher-Taubman Cultural
Center was the most expensive
item on Detroit's Project Renewal
budget, costing $2.2 million, ac-
cording to Jackier. Over a seven-

year period, just under $700,000
was allotted to two other
neighborhood centers.
Some $360,000 went to care
for the elderly; $265,000 was
spent on the cognitive kindergar-
ten; and $220,000 was budgeted
for a youth club.
Amounts of between $37,000
and $175,000 were spent on indi-
vidual projects, including a pro-
gram to help high school dropouts
and kids with drug problems,
$40,000; adult education, $52,000;
after-school educational enrich-
ment, $65,000; and a cultural arts
program, including a community
theater project, which received
It is clear that Detroit is
hooked on Project Renewal. "We
are currently evaluating the pos-
sibility of undertaking a new
neighborhood," Jackier said. Since
the committee's explorations are
in an early stage. "I cannot tell
you what the outcome of the proc-
ess will be."

as well as Hebrew. Across the
room, Moshe copies a stick drawing
of a tree onto his blank paper and
then tries to copy the Hebrew let-
ters ayin-tzadi for "tree" above the
picture. He confuses the letters and
his seatmate, Eyal, leans over and
helps him erase them. These activi-
ties are designed for kindergarten
kids with normal intelligence who
appear to be headed for difficulty in
first grade. A dozen children are
seated around neat tables in three
different learning corners of the
sunny, cheerful activity room.
"Our emphasis is on interac-
tion and not skills," says Dr. Gad
Dual. "We don't think that in the
hour or two a week we see a child
that we can close the gap between

him and his peer who has grown up
in an enhanced environment. We
have to learn to work with what he
has and to get him to be less pass-
ive and more efficient with what he
has. We make our share of mis-
takes. I might give a boy a model
to copy in order to stimulate moti-
vation, only to find that it is too
hard and squashes motivation. Our
method is based on the principle
that when a problem comes up we
respond to it immediately. But
when we've finished working we
never feel we did not do enough.
We feel satisfied that what we've
done, we've done, and nothing will
ever take that away from the

— D.H.

Continued on Page 28

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