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February 24, 1989 - Image 81

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-02-24

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ichael and Bets-y Friduss
moved here alniost two
years ago from Chicago.
Having worked for Illinois
Bell for 23 years, Michael
is now executive vice president of
operations for Michigan Bell. In his
corporate position, both he and Betsy
are involved in many of the city's
cultural and civic activities.
They spend a lot of time in the ci-
ty, and says Michael, "The groups I
deal with know the down side of
Detroit. But they see what it has to
offer, and even though there is still a
long way to go, it can be done."
Michael accepted a job at
Michigan Bell before they had a
chance to look at the area, but he had
warm memories of early summers
spent in Michigan and had two old
friends living here.
But Betsy was nervous. "I really
was very pessimistic at first. I was so
confused about uprooting the family
and I didn't think it was going to be
as nice as it is," says Betsy. "It is an
easier transition for Michael than for
me. He quickly became immersed in
his job and things went more
smoothly for him."
The first choice any newcomer
must make is finding a place to live.
Betsy and Michael spent a day with
a relocation group arranged for by his
company. They were shown the east
and west sides of Detroit, the suburbs,
the downtown business district, and
the cultural side of Detroit. "People
we met at Michigan Bell gave us their
own little sales pitch and one was
more enthusiastic and loyal than the
next about the town they lived in, a
real surprise to Michael and me," says
They finally narrowed their deci-
sion to two neighborhoods with the
help of a realtor recommended by a
friend. "However," says Besty,
"realtors cannot tell you exactly
which neighborhoods are Jewish." To
solve this problem, she called the
principals of the local elementary
schools and asked how many Jewish
children attended.
"We finally settled in Franklin, a
little bit of country with the
metropolitan life of the city so near,
and Michael and I and our two
children are very happy we did. We
had no idea how beautiful the Detroit
suburbs were, far more beautiful than
any North Shore suburb of Chicago."
The Fridusses opted to build their
home, having recently moved into a
home they had built in the Chicago

Betsy and Michael Friduss tour Hart Plaza.

Glenn Triest


Fighting a national sterotype, newcomers to
the Motor City are finding neighborhoods
and a metropolitan area they enjoy.


Special to The Jewish News

suburbs. They were forced, however, to
rent during the time the house was
being built. Their realtor was in-
strumental in finding the rental
Realtors — for many couples their
first contact with the new city — can
be very helpful. One couple's realtor
even sent them a list containing the
names of the local butcher, the place
to buy fish, a good deli, drycleaners
and helped find them a decorator.
Word of mouth, once newcomers move
in, may be the most common way to
find the necessities for everyday
Acclimating themselves into the
Jewish community took a little
longer. Contacted by Shalom Detroit,
the Fridusses were given information
about the numerous Jewish organiz-
tions here, but the settling of the
family and business commitments in-
itially took most of their time. Once
settled, they joined Temple Beth El.
Michael is now a member of its ways
and means committee and their
children are enrolled in Sunday
Whether it is an educational posi-
tion, a corporate job or as part of the
medical community, people most
often move because of a job.
Sometimes, it is difficult to convince
people to give Detroit a chance.
Chris Emmons, an executive
search consultant for the Compass
Group in Birmingham, who has liv-
ed in the Detroit area for 14 years,
says, "Lots of people have the wrong
impression of Detroit. It is not all con-
She takes job seekers around
downtown Detroit to the Renaissance
Center, to Greektown, to the Detroit
Institute of Arts, to Hart Plaza's
cultural events. "It changes their
orientation," says Emmons.
Events like the Grand Prix and
the hydroplane boat races help cast a
very different impression of Detroit.
"And if that's not enough;' adds Em-
mons, "just take to the lakes; they're
everywhere. Canada, just across the
river gives the area an international
One area Detroit couple, original-
ly from New York, takes advantage of
the water around Detroit each sum-
mer on their 34-foot sailboat. Warren
and Lisa Brandes, who moved here
eight years ago, spend as much time
as possible sailing on Lake St. Clair
with their two small children. "So
many New Yorkers believe that
nothing exists west of New York," says



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