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March 16, 1990 - Image 1

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-03-16

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

THE JEWISH NEWS

THIS ISSUE 60 0

SERVING DETROIT'S JEWISH COMMUNITY

Old Population Estimates
Based On Rust Belt Model

KIMBERLY LIFTON

Staff Writer

T

he Jewish community
was shocked last week
after preliminary
results from the first demo-
graphic study in nearly 30
years showed Detroit's Jew-
ish population had been
grossly underestimated
since 1972.
"Where did the lower

number come from?" re-
sponds Don Feldstein, a
researcher with the Council
of Jewish Federations in
New York, the umbrella
organization for Jewish
communities in North
America and Canada. "It
may be as simple as Detroit
just hadn't done a study in a
very long time."

Contrary to popular belief,
the survey reveals a stable

Orthodox Join
Soviet Cause

ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM

Assistant Editor

O

rthodox groups
throughout
metropolitan Detroit
have joined forces to create
Project Achim, an extensive
program of Jewish family
education designed to help
acculturate the 2,600 Soviet
Jews expected to settle here
by June 1991.

Project Achim will sponsor
a number of education
classes, encourage programs
that link Soviet Jewish
families with their Ameri-
can counterparts, offer op-
portunities for Soviet Jews
to participate in Jewish
holiday and Shabbat
celebrations and purchase
mezuzot, Siddurim and
tefillin for new immigrants.
Continued on Page 14

community that increased
from 85,000 in 1963 to the
current 96,000. Figures re-
ported since the last study
were contradictory to the ac-
tual numbers, with Federa-
tion leaders reporting a drop
starting in 1972. At that
time, community leaders
estimated 80,000 Jews were
living here.
"Why is an interesting
question," says Michael
Berke, Federation executive
director who has worked for
the Federation for 18 years,
the longest of any of today's
executives. "I don't know
the answer. Population
estimates were based on a
sense. They were not based
on a study.
"There was a general
sense that northeastern U.S.
communities were shrink-
ing." Berke says. "And
Detroit fit the profile of a
northern community."
Some communal experts
suggest Detroit's low esti-
mates follow trends set by
Cleveland, a city with a
similar community profile
and comparable Campaign
collections. Last year, in

MARCH 16, 1990 / 19 ADAR 5750

Jewish Population

DETROIT

CLEVELAND

1964

84,600

85,000

1972

80,000

80,000

1981

75,000

75,000

1983

70,000

70,000

1988

70,000

65,000

1989

96,000

65,000

Sources: American Jewish Yearbook, Council of Jewish Federations

fact, Detroit raised $27 mill-
ion for the Allied Jewish
Campaign; Cleveland raised
$26 million. In addition,
Detroit has closely modeled
its population figures after
numbers projected in
Cleveland.
"They have been
characterized in the Jewish
world in the same breath,"
Berke says.
The Jewish Community
Federation of Cleveland,
which boasts of its demo-
graphic research depart-
ment, has kept close tabs on
its Jewish population's size,
conducting occasional local,
yet scientific surveys.
Cleveland started shrinking
in 1972 — the same time

Detroit reported lower
population figures.
Whenever someone want-
ed to know the Jewish
population of metropolitan
Detroit, figures batted
around were consistent —
the same as Cleveland.
When Cleveland began to
decline from 85,000 to
80,000 in 1972, Detroit's
leaders also reported
decreases in their numbers.
In 1981, the Detroit figure
was recorded at 75,000. And
in 1983, Detroit's population
was listed as 70,000. These
were identical to Cleveland
figures.
"The fact that they picked
70,000 is not that surpris-
Continued on Page 12

.iC TTLCR::

A•;

PrO.Q.Z.

"

...,CSP?aq/cr Welt,

P F4 C1:

Local
universitie
being barraged by
an anti-Israel campaign.

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