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February 16, 1990 - Image 50

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-02-16

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Something Old
Something New


Staff Writer


arty Feldman
took one look
at the Jimmy
Prentis Mor-
ris Jewish
Community Center 11 years
ago and decided changes had
to be made.
"It was not a happy look-
ing place," Feldman said re-
cently while standing in the
JPM lobby and remember-
ing a room filled with folding
chairs instead of the wide,
cushioned chairs and sofas
which now occupy the space.
Feldman, together with
fellow Huntington Woods
resident Janet Levine and a
40-member improvement
committee, pushed for more
than just cosmetic changes.
A decade ago JPM was fill-
ed with senior citizens.
Although senior citizens re-
main a major component,
more children and Soviet
Jews are now utilizing the
facility. Soviet emigres use
JPM for acculturation and
English as a second lang-
uage classes. Children now
share the classrooms which
were once reserved for
seniors only.

The Jimmy Prentis Morris JCC is
experiencing a rejuvenation.

Gorgia Rashty plays dress up.

Teacher Barbara Skarf helps Ann Feldbaum, a recent Soviet
refugee, pick books for her daughter Bella.

A group of senior citizens plays cards at the JPM.

Until five years ago,
Feldman said, the only pro-
gram geared toward chil-
dren were mother/toddler
classes. Now JPM has a
babysitting class for Soviet
children and working
mothers as well as nursery
and kindergarten classes,
summer camps, gym pro-
grams and birthday parties.
Akiva Hebrew Day School,
Yeshiva Beth Yehudah and
Darchei Torah use the JPM
gym for their students.
Hillel Day School has a lat-
chkey program at JPM and
Temple Emanu-El uses the
building for additional space
for its Sunday school.



When she was named JPM
director five years ago, said
Irma Starr, "The building
was really a concentration of
older adults. But when
younger families from Hun-
tington Woods began asking
the JCC to create programs
for young families, we did."
Other groups have also
begun utilizing JPM. The
Neighborhood Project
operates out of what used to
be a storage closet. Sinai
Hospital gives weekly blood
pressure and sugar tests in
the same room that houses
the Jewish Information Ser-
Although JPM is no longer

just for seniors, Miriam one clamoring for space.
Sandweiss, senior adult di- Starr and Feldman agree
JPM needs to be expanded.
rector, said seniors have not
been forgotten. Programs Feldman believes a swim-
have expanded and approx- ming pool for JPM is a
priority. "Why should we
imately 500 seniors use JPM
daily. They include clubs swim at the Royal Oak
which have been in exis- YMCA? We should have a
tence for 75 years and the pool at our center. I said that
three-year-old Institute of 11 years ago but we still
Retired Professionals where don't have a pool," Feldman
seniors form study groups. said.
Other things on JPM's
Because of the mixture of
wish list include a theater, a
young and old, intergenera-
second locker room, a better
tional programs between the
dance floor, an air condition-
children and those living at
ed gym for use in hot weath-
nearby Jewish Federation
er and maintenance work,
Apartments are encouraged.
including repair of the leak-
"We try as much as we
can to bring the two groups
ing roof.
The Jewish Welfare Fed-
together," Starr said.
eration is studying a $3 mill-
While JPM has undergone
ion proposal from the JCC to
changes in the past 10 years,
add a swimming pool, create
plans are moving slowly to
a small health club, air con-
create a 10 Mile campus
dition the gym and make
area using JPM, Federation
other improvements. Hugh
Apartments and nearby
Greenberg, 10 Mile Road
synagogues. "Space. We
Campus Committee chair-
really need space," Sand-
man, admits the area does
weiss said. "We have no
not have much of a campus-
place for more programs."
like atmosphere even with
Sandweiss is not the only

the addition of a common
driveway between JPM and
Federation Apartments.
Greenberg hopes additional
landscaping, common use of
parking lots and walkways
between the buildings will
make the area more attrac-
tive, but that takes money.
Federation Executive Vice
President Robert Aronson,
who recently toured JPM,
said,"My feeling is renova-
tion is important to the Jew-
ish community. The center
needs to be both renovated
and expanded. I was im-
pressed with all the ac-
tivities in the place and the
way the people who work
there really care about what
goes on. "
Although the Federation is
committed to improving
JPM, Aronson does not know
when it will happen or how
the funds will be raised. The
final project might include
the entire $3 million pro-
posal or only part of it, he
Now that Federation has
purchased the Congregation
B'nai Moshe building on
Church and Ten Mile roads,
the committee is exploring
uses for that facility, Green-
berg said. Temple Emanu-El
and some Jewish day schools
have expressed interest in
the building.
"But at this point, nothing
has been finalized. It prob-



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