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November 06, 1987 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-11-06

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

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28

FRIDAY WV, 6, 1987

Continued from preceding page

1352-7030

PACKAGING:

4111111M

Council Crossroads

Alvin Kushner: "Something buzzes in the community and I get a call."
tion that has been with us
Power in the Council is con-
longer than expressways and
centrated at the top, with the
space travel, longer than
elected president and ex-
television and McDonalds,
ecutive committee, and the
longer than the State of Israel
full-time executive director
(and the states of Alaska and
who is appointed by the ex-
Hawaii, parenthetically),
ecutive committee. Nomina-
many Jews are suprisingly ig-
tions for officers are made by
norant of what the Jewish
a nominating committee,
community Council does.
selected by the president.
Part of the reason, says past
The "Council" in Jewish
Council President David
Community Council refers to
Lebenbom, is due to the
the delegate assembly, com-
behind the scenes work the
prised of representatives of
Council often does. "When we
the 300 or so constituent
work with the newspapers, to
Jewish organizations. The
the extent that our role
assembly, which meets
becomes known, it becomes
quarterly, does not function
compromised. It's no good for
as a local Jewish town
a paper to say, 'We wrote this
meeting parliament where
editorial because the Jews
issues are debated and policy
pressured us. "
is voted on. Currently, the
Much of the reason,
assembly functions to approve
undeniably, is that presen-
the annual slate of can-
ting a public face to the
didates. And while alter-
Jewish community has not
native nominees to the of-
been a top Council priority.
ficial candidates are possible,
"We don't explain who we are
such candidacies are rarely
to our own community,"
proposed. Part of the reason is
Lebenbom continues. "So the
lethargy among delegates;
community has a tendency to
part of the reason is that the
say we're not active."
election process "locks people
Leon Cohan has tried to
out," according to Sol
alter that perception by doing
Lachman, a delegate from the
some high-profile TV inter-
Jabotinsky Society of Herut
views and by snazzing up the
USA.
Council's printed publicity.
During each election, 16
But, clearly, getting the
people are elected to three-
Council into the center of
year terms on the 50-plus
Jewish consciousness means
member executive committee.
placing a greater emphasis on
Any independent who wishes
the Council's Jewish consti-
to stand for election must
tuency. That may include a
have the written support of
greater emphasis on Jewish
five delegates.
participation in the Council's
For a ballot to be valid it
decisions.
must be completely filled.
The Jewish Community
That means a delegate who
Council claims that it is
wishes to vote for an indepen-
"more democratic than any
dent, must vote for 15 other
Jewish organization in town,"
candidates, thus splitting his
in the words of Executive
vote and diminishing the in-
Director Alvin Kushner.
dependent's chances of being
While every constituent
elected.
organization of the council
"The delegate assembly
has a theoretical role in deci-
should be a business
sion making, and while every
meeting," Lachman argues.
Jew who is a member of a con-
"But they've turned the
stituent organization has a
minutes of the last meeting
theoretical voice on the Coun-
into the whole meeting, plus
cil, the agency is hardly a
a speaker. So basically the
democracy along the lines of
delegate assembly ceases to
U.S. or European
function."
governments.
Continued on Page 32

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