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December 22, 1989 - Image 121

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-22

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

Jerry Moss & Al Kaftan

of

J. STERLING GEMOLOGISTS

the warmer southern
California climate, Jim
Gilfix says the colder and
snowier things are better.
He, too, came back, mainly
to further his career, but
also to seek someone with
whom to share his outdoor
interests.
Gilfix, a Farmington Hills
Harrison graduate who
earned a counseling and
holistic health degree from
Evergreen State College in
Washington state in 1981,
backpacked north to Alaska
and decided to stay.
"My parents always en-
couraged me to try new
things," he said, noting that
between high school and col-
lege he spent seven months
in Israel, including two mon-
ths in a Jerusalem yeshivah;
a month in Greece and two
months traveling in - Europe,
selling jewelry on the
streets. "By the time I made
it up to Alaska, I was no
stranger to traveling by my-
self."
An avid skier, Gilfix was
thrilled by the mountains
and snow and being around
his kind of people, the kind
who "believe in themselves
and do what they want.
The shortage of social
work counselors meant he
could earn a good salary
"and I could ski every month
of the year." Gilfix worked
at a psychiatric hospital in
Anchorage and spent his
spare time the next 43 mon-
ths skiing, backpacking,
canoeing and camping, the
latter even in winter.
Nevertheless, he became
somewhat domesticated,
buying a car and a house.
But the lack of an Alaskan
master's degree program in
social work resulted in his
enrolling at the University
of Michigan.
His plan was to go back to
Alaska, but the oil crisis and
a renter who trashed his
house changed his mind.
Now working as a chemical
dependency therapist for
adults at the Henry Ford
Maple Grove Center in West
Bloomfield, Gilfix said he en-
joys being "re-attached to
my family here."
Although he would like to
open a house for runaway
adolescents, he still hasn't
given up on Alaska.
However, he noted, "There
are not a whole lot of Jewish
people in Alaska," he said.
"The thought of not finding
a Jewish woman up there
was some consideration in
my decision about going
back there alone."
Adventure, excitement
and romance in a foreign
country was what Cathy

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

113

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