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October 28, 1988 - Image 48

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-10-28

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

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48

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28, 1988

.E.F.F. was just an in-
fant, but is growing by
leaps and bounds.
From a four-congregation
family education project in
1986, J.E.F.F. — Jewish Ex-
periences For Families — to-
day numbers 10 congrega-
tions and still more are con-
sidering incorporating the
program into their schedules
of activities.
Created through a partner-
ship of the Fresh Air Society,
United Hebrew Schools and
the Jewish Community
Center, J.E.F.F. is aimed at
marginally affiliated Jewish
families. Through creative
programming, J.E.F.F. pro-
vides families education
about Jewish practice and
values in an informal setting.
Recently, Jewish families
were invited to the Jimmy
Prentis Morris Building of
the Jewish Center where the
"Knowing Noah" program
taught the story of Noah and
the ark via a mini-petting zoo,
storyteller, music and arts
and crafts.
J.E.F.F. had its roots in a
family education program
begun by Mandell (Bill) Ber-
man at Congregation Shaa-
rey Zedek, where it was ad-
ministered by Harlene Ap-
pelman, a former teacher and
synagogue educator, who
specializes in Jewish family
education.
"The Shaarey Zedek pro-
gram started with the intent
that if it was successful it
would go to the greater com-
munity," Appelman said. It
was so successful that the
Berman family made a signi-
ficant gift to kick off the pro-
gram, funds from the Max M.
Fisher Jewish Community
Foundation were obtained
and contributions from the
three partner agencies were
added so that J.E.F.F. was
able to get off the ground. Ac-
cording to Appelman, who is
the J.E.F.F.coordinator, the
annual budget is
$76,000-$85,000. There is
never an admission fee to any
of the J.E.F.F. activities, Ap-
pelman said, however, there is
a charge for family camp
weekends.
"It was Bill's vision," Ap-
pelman said of J.E.F.F. "I've
been able to actuate a lot. of
what he wanted. He wanted
to see a mechanism to help
congregations do creative
family programming with the
hope that if we involved

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Harlene Appelman and her administrative assistant Dean Sliger finalize
details for a forthcoming activity.

marginally affiliated families
in the synagogues there
would be spillover into the
rest of the Jewish communi-
ty?' To date, the program has
taken off with great interest
throughout the community.
Beginning with only four
congregations — Congrega-
tion Shaarey Zedek, Adat
Shalom Synagogue, Con-
gregation Beth Shalom and
Temple Israel — the number
of participating synagogues
and temples has grown to in-
clude Congregation Beth
Achim, Congregation Beth
Abraham Hillel Moses, Con-
gregation B'nai Moshe, Tem-
ple Beth El, Temple Shir
Shalom and Temple Emanu-
El: Activities also are created
for organizations outside of
the congregational sphere.
The Anti-Defamation League
of B'nai B'rith conducted a
communal kumsitz (gather-
ing), a family camp was held
for CHAIM — Children of
Holocaust Survivors Assoca-
tion in Michigan and an ac-
tivity was created for Jews by
choice.
Not all of the programs are
geared for families with
young children. Some have
been aimed at expectant
parents. A series for soon-to-
be-marrieds included sessions
on the Jewish wedding
ceremony, the traditions and
laws of Jewish marriage,
financial planning, sexuality
and on how to be part of the
Jewish community.
The goal ofJ.E.F.F. is to pro-
vide something for everybody.
"Our goal is to create as full
a menu as possible so that
families could select
something that's both mean-
ingful, educational and
pleasurable that ties them

closely to the Jewish com-
munity," said Appelman. At
the same time, it is aimed at
giving the Jewish communi-
ty "easy access" to a variety
of Jewish communal agencies
and organizations.
J.E.F.F. is administered by
the Fresh Air Society, whose
offices are located at the
Maple/Drake Jewish Com-
munity Center. The reason
for this, Appelman explained,
is that since the FAS already
had a tradition of informal
family education through its
family camps, that it would
be the most logical place to
house the J.E.F.F. project.
Two communal committees
serve in an advisory capacity
to J.E.F.F. One includes com-
munal leadership and rabbis.
The other has representation
from the lay leadership of the
congregations and lay
representatives from the com-
munal agencies. They offer
program ideas and advise Ap-
pelman on whether or not
J.E.F.F. is responsive to the
needs of their respective
constituencies.
Appelman is pleased by the
community's response. "We
never anticipated the kind of
growth that we've en-
countered," she said, with at-
tendance reaching 800 to
1,000 persons per event. This
year the J.E.F.F. success has
spread to Ann Arbor, where
an "Apples and Honey"
celebration was held around
the time of the High Holidays.
"We've created a stage
that's really pluralistic," she
said. "Lots of people are par-
ticipating in this program
and they talk to each other.
The potential of programs
seems incredible:'
News of the success of

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