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August 11, 1989 - Image 48

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-08-11

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

I EDUCATION I

Educator

Continued from preceding page

Syme believes Jewish teachers must instill a passion in their students.

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FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 1989

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Terry Wilson puts his money
in U.S. Savings Bonds.
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will be reflected in reality
within three hours. When
they buy into something, it
changes their life. Once they
buy into you, you have the
capacity to change their lives.
They will do anything for you
because trust is established."
His interest in youth has
become well known. Stuart
Paskow, director of com-
munications for the Jewish
National Fund in America,
calls him a "role model for
young Jews."
"Young people are attentive
to him," Paskow said. "He has
credibility. Hopefully, young
people will use him as a role
model."
For every upside, there has
to be a downside, but Syme
doesn't see it that way in
Jewish education. If he
doesn't reach students the
first time, then he feels he's
got to work harder. "The
strength of Jewish education
is its greatest weakness, that
is that you're never done."
Today, Syme's teaching ef-
forts focus on youth suicide.
prevention. A founder of Yad
Tikvah (Hand of Hope) Foun-
dation, Syme, whose brother
Michael committed suicide,
alerts parents and children to
the signs of a potential
suicide.
He also is involved in efforts
to bring the three major
streams of Judaism to talk
together on issues of impor-
tance to all Jews. He led a
coalition of rabbis and ex-
ecutive directors from all
Jewish denominations to
Israel to discuss the Who is a
Jew issue. He also made ef-
forts to draw in Jewish
representatives of each
stream to discuss conversion.
The rescue of Soviet Jews
plays an important part in his
life, and he has gone outside
the Jewish community to
draw in others. One of these
is folk singer Mary Travers, a
member of the Peter, Paul and
Mary folk music trio.
Fans of the trio's music,
Syme and his wife met

Travers while on their honey-
moon. The singer and the cou-
ple formed a friendship which
eventualy grew to include the
whole group. When told of the
plight of Soviet Jews, Travers
wanted to become .involved.
Syme arranged for her to go
to the Soviet Union, where
she performed in the homes of
refuseniks.
The Soviet Jews, said Syme,
had a fondness for Peter, Paul
and Mary music. "She was so
moved by the experience, she

The strength of
Jewish education
is its greatest
weakness, that is
that you're never
don&

became a champion of Soviet
Jewry," he said.
Similarly, Syme said,
Jewish teachers should instill
in students "a passion to
know who they are as Jews."
The goal of teachers is not to
give students a list of facts to
memorize, but to "open up
their minds and inspire a pas-
sion to know more."
As a vice president of the
UAHC, Syme hopes to build a
path for members to "express
their creative energies, to root
them on and to assure the
resources are there." He also
wants to expand social justice
efforts and outreach to Jews
by choice. But most of all, he
wants Jews to feel good about
being Jewish.
"I want people to get good
at Judaism. I want people to
take pride in what other Jews
are doing for the Jewish com-
munity and the world at
large.
"We're on a purpose on
earth. We don't always know
what that purpose is. It's a
constant search for that pur-
pose. The discovery of that
charge makes Jewish life
meaningful."



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