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February 24, 1989 - Image 86

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

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Judaism On Hold

Continued from preceding page

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Lincoln Park-Lakeside area
and encouraging them to
designate a "contact person"
in each congregation who
would handle inquiries
• regarding membership and
head off any misunder-
standings.
Part of the problem, Ross
said, is that many singles
don't plan ahead and tend to
call synagogues right before
the holidays, looking for a
place to go.
Synagogues usually are
unable to deal with last-
minute requests and the
negative response often may
unintentionally "turn off
the single person for a long
time afterwards, Ross said.
Frankel, 34, a lawyer who
moved to Phoenix several
years ago and has managed to
become active both in a

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78

J ewish

FRIDAY,. FEBRUARY 24, 1989

Judith Teich is a health
policy analyst and freelance
writer living in Washington,
D.C. This article was made
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Fund For Journalism on
Jewish Life, supported by The
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Canada. Any views expressed
are solely those of the author.

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synagogue and in the singles
community, told me how dif-
ficult it was at first to con-
tinue coming to services.
He said he felt little accep-
tance or interest on the part
of other congregants, adding
"it took months to begin to
form relationships and begin
to feel included."
The key to becoming part of
a synagogue community is
"making it through the first
six months," Frankel said,

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of long ago, a big
meal with family
represented the
meaning. of Passover and
Rosh Hashanah for Sharon
Stein.
"I was not raised in a very
religious manner," says Stein,
48, a secretary at Congrega-
tion Shaarey Zedek and
Founder of Social Singles at
the Jewish Community
Center in West Bloomfield.
"For years the High Holy
Days consisted of sitting down
at the table and eating," she
recalls. Today, Stein is trying
to develop a stronger Jewish
identity.
"Because I'm more in-
terested in Judaism, I've
learned a lot of interesting
things," says Stein. "Now I'm
learning more about the
holidays, the roots and what
they mean."
Attorney Rick Bloom, 34,
maintains "my Jewish iden-
tity by keeping a kosher kit-
chen. It's the way that I was
brought up. My mom did it,
and I've just followed the pat-
tern," he says.
"I rarely to go shul except
during the holidays or attend
any of the singles functions —
they're just not me," he says.
"For - me, maintaining my
Jewish identity is more of a
cultural one. I read The
Jewish News and have a
subscription to the Jerusalem

Post."

Alicia Nelson, organizer of
the one-year-old Beth
Shalom Young Singles Group
in Oak Park and wife of Rab-
bi David Nelson, says it's

becoming more difficult for
Jewish singles to maintain
their identities.
"They fall between the
cracks, and if they want to get
involved in a synagogue they
have to work harder," she ex-
plains. "Unlike the other
traditional groups, the ready-
made niches for singles aren't
there."
During Young Jewish
Singles meetings, members
came up with an idea to
maintain their identities.
"They wanted to form infor-
mal study groups to share
thoughts and ideas," Nelson
says.
Michael Schwartz, 27, says
his time is limited since join-
ing a new law firm. But that
hasn't stopped him from at-
tending Adat Shalom
Synagogue's Chavurah, a
monthly study group.
"Since October I've been go-
ing to these meetings," he
says. "They keep me in tune
with the people that belong to
the same congregation and
the various issues surroun
ding Judaism."

Topics have included
skinheads and neo-Nazism,
Israel's Law of Return and
learning a page of Talmud.
Schwartz goes to Adat
Shalom during the High
Holidays and is also part of
the choir.
"I feel very strong about the
High Holidays," he says. "I
look at it more than just a
fashion show. I like getting in-
volved in the service — it's
very meaningful to me."
Phil Seltzer, a West Bloom-
field attorney, says in addi-
tion to the Young Jewish
Singles group, he has

.

4

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