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November 24, 1989 - Image 66

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-11-24

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

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66

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1989

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THE JEWISH NEWS

29107 Northwestern Hwy.
Southfield, Michigan

358-4085

Breaking Barriers

Continued from preceding page

In recent years, groups
have formed seeking an in-
crease in the observance of
holidays in schools. Respon-
ding to such requests, many
school districts have drafted
policies which they say are
more sensitive to all
segments of the school
population.
Despite some movements
to teach religion in schools,
educators - at the conference
said teachers more often
than not are taking trees
and other religious or-
naments out of the public
school classrooms. Now,
many educators said, it is
time for more courses in
culture and world religions.
"It is important to under-
stand different cultural
backgrounds," Brouhard
said, adding he now would
like to see a mandatory com-
parative religion course in
the Bloomfield Hills high
schools.
"Comparative religion is
just as important as
teaching government,"
Brouhard says."We are mov-
ing into a time of multi-
ethnicity. And we need to
heighten awareness of the
different religions and
cultures through teaching."
At the institute, Rabbis M.
Robert Syme, Harold Loss
and Paul Yedwab led
workshops. Speaker Rabbi
Daniel Syme, vice president
of the Union of American
Hebrew Congregations, ad-
vised the educators against
teaching Judaism without
understanding it.
"Only the teacher who
knows can transmit," Daniel
Syme said. "We cannot fool
our students."
Institute founder Sonia
Syme, wife of Rabbi M.
Robert Syme, agrees that
ethnic outreach belongs in
the schools. She launched
the first Judaism institute
for educators while she was

Rabbi Daniel Syme:Keynote
Speaker

teaching in Detroit 35 years
ago to help people under-
stand each other. The first
programs, jointly sponsored
by Catholic groups, were
"the crowning glory for
today's programs."
The program, held each
November, lasted for 17
years. Four years ago, Sonia
Syme decided to start over.
"You hear all sorts of
things that surprise you
when you sit in a teacher
lounge in a place where you
are a minority," Sonia Syme
says of her teaching days in
Detroit. "Prejudice is so
prevalent."
"It comes from every-
where. The white teachers
face it in black schools and
vice versa. Hostility is
everywhere. Arabs, Jews,
Polish, etc. Nobody under-
stands anybody."
Sonia Syme says she
planned the institute to br-
ing people together.
She has a grandiose vision
for the institute, which
would be supported by chur-
ches, synagogues, temples
and schools.
"I would love to see this go
to Cobo Hall."



Christmas

Continued from preceding page

Superintendent Gary Doyle.
"It was a highly inaccurate
letter."
Signed Concerned
Citizens, the letter promoted
a booklet to help teachers
prepare holiday season cur-
riculum. The booklet is
called Christmas in the
Schools: Constitutional Ways
to Observe Religious Holi-
days.
It states in part:
"Last year, there was
much diversity when it came
to the celebration of
Christmas in many of our
classrooms. It was not ap-
parent that it was fine to

discuss Chanukah but it was
not generally felt that it was
appropriate to discuss
Christmas."
Among the accusations,
the letter said parents
brought latkes to some
school classrooms, but that
candy canes were not allow-
ed to be distributed in an-
other. Doyle said the accusa-
tions are false.
"If you teach one religious
holiday then teach them
all," the letter states. "Don't
just pick and choose depen-
ding on what school you
might teach at or your own
religious persuasion."

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