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April 14, 1989 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-04-14

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

I UP FRONT

Campaign Totals $24.7 Million,
'Passage To Freedom' Begins

Allied Jewish Campaign
leaders announced a record
total for 1989 at the Cam-
paign closing Wednesday
evening — $24,714,021 — and
also signalled the beginning
of a 60-day emergency drive
to help resettle Soviet Jews.
The $2.5 million emergen-
cy campaign, called "Passage
to Freedom," will be Detroit's
share of a national United
Jewish Appeal goal of $75
million for the resettlement of
an expected 40,000 Jews who
will leave the Soviet Union
this year.
To kick off the campaign,
Volodya Geller and Fanny
Sheinker, representing the
Russian-speaking communi-
ty, presented a check at
Wednesday's meeting at Tem-
ple Israel.
Joining the celebration, and
reminding her audience of
the Soviet Jewry struggle,
was singer Mary Travers, who
is widely recognized as a
human rights activist.
It was the Peter, Paul and
Mary song, "Light One Can-
dle," that lent the theme to
Freedom Sunday for Soviet

Jewry in Washington, D.C., a
year ago. At that time,
200,000 Americans, including
nearly 1,000 Detroiters,
rallied on behalf of Soviet
Jewry.
On Wednesday, the spot-
light was on the 1989 Allied
Jewish Campaign and the
"hall of fame" winners:
leaders, workers and con-
tributors who achieved the
largest per-capita Campaign

A 60-day
emergency
campaign for
Soviet Jewry
seeks an
additional $2.5
million.

total and the largest dollar in-
crease in the country.
In addition to the closing
total, Detroiters contributed
$1.9 million toward Project
Renewal, the partnership
plan that has twinned this
community with Yavneh,
Israel.

The "Freddy" Community
Service Award was presented
to the Women's Division for
contacting the highest
percentage of contributors
before the Campaign closing.
Allan Gelfond, Campaign
director, announced that
more than 14,442 con-
tributors had made their
pledges by the time of the
closing. More than 3,000 per-
sons who contributed over
$2.8 million last year remain
to be contacted for the 1989
Campaign. The closing
amount is the third largest in
the country, behind only New
York and Los Angeles.
Dr. Conrad L. Giles, presi-
dent of the Jewish Welfare
Federation, paid tribute to
the Campaign leadership of
Paul Borman and Jane Sher-
man.
Borman will chair the 1990
Campaign, along with Joseph
" H. Orley, a major gifts chair-
man this year. Sherman is
stepping down after a two-
year chairmanship but will
join Borman in leading the
"Passage to Freedom"
campaign. 111

Staff Writer

0

ne of the Big Three
automakers recently
signed an agreement
with Elkon Brothers Ltd. of
Israel to provide the company
with chassis for five years for
the world's first mass-
produced automobile for han-
dicapped drivers, Elkon of-
ficials confirmed this week.
The name of the Big Three
automobile company is ex-
pected to be announced next
week.
The contract with the
manufacturer is a major step
forward for Elkon Brothers,
which faced a year of unsuc-
cessful attempts with the
Michigan Department of
Commerce to secure govern-
ment grants and loans to
place the business in the
economically distressed Ben-
ton Harbor. Elkon now is try-
ing to raise about $50 million
in private funds through First
Boston Corp., a national in-
vestment brokerage firm, to
continue the project.
Benteler of Grand Rapids
agreed to build frames for the
vehicle, which will look like a

mini van, and Eagle Pitcher
of Indiana will provide plastic
panels.
Aharon Meytahl, Elkon's
executive vice president, said
the company wants to build a
plant in Benton Harbor, but
added he is weighing all op-
tions — including existing
buildings in Detroit and
Pontiac.
Meanwhile, engineers are
developing a prototype of the
vehicle for handicapped
drivers, which Meytahl said
should be completed within
nine months. During that
time, Meytahl said, he will
find a suitable site for a
100,000 to 150,000-square-
foot building to assemble the
vehicle.
"We are moving in the right
direction," Meytahl said. "We
signed an agreement with the
state to go to Benton Harbor
and we will live up to it if
possible. We don't have any
problems with Benton Har-
bor. We just couldn't find a
building for the factory."
Elkon Brothers announced
in January 1988 it would
assemble the vehicle for han-
dicapped drivers in Benton
Harbor, promising at least
500 jobs for the financially

Detroit Loses Kraar
To National P osition

ALAN HITSKY

Associate Editor

Elkon Brothers Moving Forward
With Vehicle For Handicapped

KIMBERLY LIFTON

Marty Kraar: Tapped by CJF.

strapped city in southwest
Michigan. Elkon, which im-
ports parts and assembles
Mack Trucks in Israel, joined
forces with Hulki Aldikacti,
president of Entech Engineer-
ing of Troy.
State officials billed the pro-
ject a potential lifesaver for
the city. At the same time,
state Commerce Director
Doug Ross said the car would
open a gateway for future
trade agreements between
Michigan and Israel.
Benton Harbor Mayor
William Wolf expressed
doubts when the company an-
nounced its intentions to
move to his city. Now, Wolf
said, he is not overly
optimistic.
"The state is negotiating
for Benton Harbor," Wolf said.
"We have no existing
building for them. We have a
ways to go. We've done
everything we can. The ball is
in Elkon's court."
Commerce Director Ross
said the state identified some
additional ways "to help
Elkon with up-front capital."
He declined to offer specific
funding options, saying only
that Elkon still is going to
Benton Harbor. ❑

M

arty Kraar, execu-
tive vice president of
the Jewish Welfare
Federation of Detroit for the
past 21/2 years, will leave
Detroit to head the umbrella
organization for federations
throughout the United States
and Canada.
The board of the Council of
Jewish Federations on Tues-
day, at its quarterly meeting
in Washington, D.C., confirm-
ed Kraar will replace the
outgoing Carmi Schwartz as
executive vice president of
CJF.
Kraar, a native of Ten-
nessee, came to Detroit in
1986 from Israel where he
founded the CJF's Israel of-
fice. He had previously serv-
ed as executive of the St.
Louis, Mo., federation, its
Jewish Community Centers
Association, in federation
positions in Nashville, Tenn.,
and Memphis and as a youth
director in Houston.
Speculation about Kraar's
candidacy began late last
year. Schwartz announced in
September he would resign
after 10 years as CJF ex-
ecutive to pursue other
interests.
Dr. Conrad Giles, president
of the Detroit Federation, said
Kraar is under contract to
Detroit through the end of
1989.
"But if we have a new ex-

ecutive in place, Marty may
leave after the CJF General
Assembly in mid-November,"
Dr. Giles said.
Kraar's predecessor in
Detroit, former CJF official
Wayne Feinstein, served here
four years before being nam-
ed head of the Jewish Federa-
tion Council of Greater Los
Angeles.
Although Detroit lost its,
last two executives after
relatively short periods, Dr.
Giles believes "this speaks
well for Detroit. Our com-
munity is seen by other ex-
ecutives in the field as one
where you can perform great
service. It is a great selling
point and if will allow us to
attract the best available can-
didates . . . But the better per-
son we get, the more likely we
will be to eventually lose
him."
Dr. Giles said Kraar's
departure is a loss.
"But CJF is so important to
the Jewish world," Dr. Giles
said. "It needs the kind of
leadership a Marty Kraar can
bring.
"We did everything in our
power to keep Marty. He was
sensitive and knew how much
we cared about him," Dr.
Giles said. "I'm very sad. His
having been here has been
good for us."
Dr. Giles was expected to
finalize a search committee
today to find Kraar's suc-
cessor. David Page will head
the committee. ❑

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

5

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