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September 04, 1987 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-09-04

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

I BACKGROUND I

From 'Catholic' Child
To Jewish Leader

Sherry Abrams

Sherry, a private consultant in Effective Instruction
and Classroom Management has motivated hundreds of
teachers. She will share the newest techniques known nationally
in Effective Education with teachers in the Greater Detroit area.

BETH JACKENDOFF

Special to The Jewish News

A

The Midrasha and Reform College of Jewish Studies offer a unique
course in Teacher Training in ITIP - Instructional Theory into Practice. Two
credits toward Teacher Certification may be earned.

When:

Where:

12 Wednesdays: September 16, 30,
October 21, 28, November 4, 11, 18,
December 2, 9, January 6, 13, 20

7:30 - 9: 1 5 p.m.

Reform College of Jewish Studies • Temple Beth El
7400 Telegraph Rd. • Birmingham

The fee for Intensive Teacher Training is
only $60.
To Register or for -further information, call
352-7117 or Phyllis Domstein at
354-1050.

_ iilTemple Beth

Eli
14 MILE RD
7400 Telegraph Rd.

--I.--

13 MILE RD. — tv,--

.`5

1

-

12 MILE RD.-I-

THE COLLEGE OF LITERATURE, SCIENCE AND THE ARTS
at the UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
invites the public to attend
THE SHANIK-FLEISCHER FORUM FOR 1987

THE QUEST FOR UTOPIA
Jews in the Political World

'

efts

•- : 4.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 ❑ 7:30 PM ❑ RACKHAM LECTURE HALL ❑ ANN ARBOR

ED
KOCH
MAYOR OF NEW YORK

..■

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 ❑ RACKHAM ASSEMBLY HALL ❑ ANN ARBOR ❑ A SYMPOSIUM ON

JEWISH
POLITICAL IDEAS & INSTITUTIONS
9:00 AM

10:30 AM
IN ANTIQUITY

MEDIEVAL PERIOD

2:00 PM
3:30 PM
EAST EUROPEAN POLITICS WEST EUROPEAN POLITICS

7:30 PM ❑ MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 ❑ RACKHAM AMPHITHEATER

JEWS IN AMERICAN POLITICS
A COLLOQUIUM OF
Practitioners & Theorists

■ Daniel Elazar
■ David Garth

And others

Co-sponsored by The Program in Judaic Studies at The University
of Michigan and The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith

34'. FRIDAY SEPT. 4 1987

braham Foxman con
siders himself "a pro
duct of evil,
discrimination and bigotry.
"Born a Jew in Poland in
1940, he was separated from
his parents a year later. His
father was interned in several
concentration camps. His
mother survived the war by
using false identity papers
that passed her off as an
Aryan.
But goxman also calls
himself "a product of the
righteous gentile!" Indeed,
the new national director of
the Anti-Defamation League
of B'nai B'rith owes his life to
the Catholic nanny who
adopted him in 1941 and rais-
ed him as her own. "If it
weren't for that one person
who had the courage to stand
up, who risked her life for me,
I wouldn't be here," he said.
And perhaps that early
lesson in courage, humanity
and the difference one in-
dividual can make accounts
for Foxman's unsinkable
ability to see the good in an
evil world.
"I'm an optimist!" he said.
"I couldn't possibly do this job
if I didn't believe it matters
what we do and say. If you
don't believe you can change
attitudes, you might as well
close up shop."
Foxman, who succeeds the
late Nathan Perlmutter, was
appointed as the League's na-
tional director in July. While
his style of leadership will
naturally be different from
Perlmutter's, he says the
ADL's agenda will be basical-
ly - the same. "Until we
develop a vaccine against pre-
judice and bigotry," he said,
the ADL's agenda will be
basically the same. "Until we
develop a vaccine against pre-
judice and -bigotry," he said,
the ADL will continue
fighting for the safety and
security of Jews at home and
abroad.
With pride, he speaks of
ADL's past successes —
everything from persuading
then-President Jimmy Carter
to secure the freedom of a
handful of Jews in a Syrian
jail, to increasing the legal
penalties for acts of ethnic
vandalim in Maryland and
28 other states. In the years
to come, said Foxman, "first
and foremost on our agenda
will be Soviet Jews and the
stabilization of the state of
Israel!'
But in planning the ADL's

day-to-day work, Foxman
acknowledges that much of
what the organization does is
determined by events beyond
its control. "Unfortunately,
we're in a business where out-
side elements set a great deal
of our priorities!' said Fox-
man adding with character-
istic humor that "we don't
have a slow season in our
business." For example, the
recent spread of virulently
anti-Semitic literature
throughout Japan has led the
ADL to "make a case to the
Japanese -government that
they have a responsibility to
educate people. We have
learned that anti-Semitism
doesn't need Jews to exist. In
Japan, you have a situation of
economic unrest and fear for
the future, and people are
blaming the Jews.
The ADL is constantly wat-
ching for similar develop-
ments in the United States.
"The level of anti-Semitism in
this country is one of latency,"
said Foxman. "It exists,
undeniably, under the sur-
face, and I see it as part of our
job to keep the pulse on it, to
watch for sudden changes in
American societal structure,
economic or dislocation crises.
We're _still watching out in the
farmbelt, where we're aware
of efforts to put the economic
plight of the region on the
Jews. On the other hand, we
are not alarmist about it. We
have examined it closely, and
we don't see the farmers be-
ing duped!'
It was in Vilna, a Lithua-
nian city, that Foxman's
parents gave him to a Chris-
tian nursemaid after the
Nazis began rounding up
Jews. Brought up as the
woman's illegitimate son, he
was baptized and raised
Catholic. In 1946, his parents
were reunited, but the woman
who had saved him refused to
relinquish him. A custody
battle ensued, during which
Foxman's stepmother falsely
accused his father of being a
Nazi collaborator and a thief.
After a court decided that the
Foxmans had the right to
keep their son, the nanny kid-
napped him. His parents kid-
napped him back and decided
to move to the United States.
There, his parents gradually
weaned him from the strict
Catholic traditions he was
raised in, substituting the
rituals of Orthodox Judaism.
Foxman still considers
himself an "observant" Jew.
He lives in Bergen County,
N.J., with his wife, Golda,
who teaches at a Harlem
elementary school.

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