I LIFE IN ISRAEL
Two girls stand outside their apartment house.
AVNEH, Israel --7
Dreams seldom change
people's lives, but Lydia
Ayash says that a dream
she had as a teenager
sealed her future.
When she was 17 she immigrated
to Israel with her sister, leaving her
parents behind in Algeria. Lydia was
sent to school in Yavneh, a sleepy
town 15 miles south of Tel Aviv.
One night in a dream, an old man
leaning on a cane came to her, bring-
ing her classmates from school in
"He had such a radiant face,"
Lydia says. "I was frightened!'
The old man told her: "Do not be
afraid for I will be like your father. I
am Rabbi Gamliel and you will come
to my grave for advice!'
"I didn't know there was such a
rabbi;' she says now of the first cen-
tury scholar who is buried in Yavneh.
AIIMIST 5 1988
Detroit's new Project Renewal partner
has a reputation for taking care of itself
Lydia Ayash, On left, chats with her neighbor, Sol Dadoun, in a Neot Shazar courtyard.
Lydia remained in Yavneh, tied to ject Renewal Director Yitzhak
the town by the words of the ancient Shalom, that money will be used to
sage. Ever since her dream, Lydia has build a day care center, a senior
visited Rabbi Gamliel's grave when citizens' club, a community center, a
sports hall and funding for activities
she is in need of solace.
Her life in Yavneh has been like at these facilities.
The first order of the day, however,
a love affair, she says.
If Detroit Jews do not as yet have is the renovation of the Henry Ford II
a love affair with this up-and-coming Park, just behind the municipal
municipality of X4,000, a courtship is building. Plans call for construction
very much under way. Earlier this of an art center and model
year, Detroit's Project Renewal com- automobiles.
The park is also the site of Rabbi
mittee selected Yavneh and its Neot
Shazar neighborhood as the reci- Gamliel's grave. Isn't it a bit tacky to
pepper the burial place of the man
pients of Detroit funding.
Having just completed Detroit's who helped codify Jewish law and the
$5 million Project Renewal commit- prayer book with model Model Ts,
ment to the city of Ramle, the commit- Mustangs, Thunderbirds and Edsels?
"No problem:' answers Shalom. A
tee was looking for a community with
will separate Ford and Gamliel;
more limited needs. Ramle is now
to isolate the sacred from
twinned with the New York Jewish
community, which will attempt to the secular.
ayor Yehudah Brouss is not
provide the town with $18 million-$30
in the municipal building
million in assistance.
this morning. He is at
Detroit's commitment to Yavneh
includes raising $3 million over a five- home, a typically small Israeli apart-
year period. According to Yavneh Pro- ment, preparing to travel to Tel Aviv
to campaign for his candidate in th e
Herut Party elections, Moroccan-born
Brouss was born in Spanish
Morocco and came to Israel with
Youth Aliyah when he was 11. He has
been involved in local politics for some
10 years. "Before that, I was a revolu-
tionary with the Shitrit group!'
"Shitrit" is Meir Shitrit, Brouss'
predecessor as mayor and now
treasurer of the Jewish Agency. In
1973, Shitrit led his group of young
Turks into local politics and took con-
trol of the municipal government.
Yavneh was then a depressed town of
6,000 people, 95 percent of whom were
of eastern origin. If Yavneh was going
anywhere, it was downhill.
• Mayor Brouss is fond of saying
there are three things with which all
Yavneh can identify: the Maccabi
Yavneh basketball team, Rabbi
Gamliel and Meir Shitrit.
It was Shitrit who began the pro-
cess Brouss calls integration — bring-
ing middle class.Israelis into town to