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June 29, 1990 - Image 50

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-06-29

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

SPORTS

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Doreen Hermelin,
Seymour Brode
and David Hermelin
watch Harel Levy
and Dana Kleinman
play.

ISRAELI NET GAIN

Support in Detroit keeps growing for a
program that teaches tennis to
Israeli Jewish and Arab youngsters.

RICHARD PEARL

Staff Writer

love this community,"
Seymour Brode was
saying. "It is so gene-
rous with its support, so
willing to help."
As the newly re-elected
president of Israel Tennis
Centers, Inc., Brode should
know. He was coming off the
13th annual fund-raising
exhibition June 13 in
Detroit, at which 250 at-
tendees pledged some
$200,000 to the interna-
tional organization, which
builds tennis facilities in
Israel for the country's Jew-
ish and Arab youth.
The exhibition, hosted by
David and Doreen Hermelin
at their Birmingham home,
featured a tennis demon-
stration by Israeli
youngsters participating in
the program. A highlight
was Brode's announcement
that 11 couples from the
Detroit and Flint areas each

/

FrMAY .IIINF 29 1990

had pledged $10,000 or more
and would be participating
in a 10-day expenses-paid
trip to Israel in October to
visit the centers and see
the programs.
"And this comes right in
the middle of Operation Ex-
odus," Brode said, referring
to the $420 million
worldwide Jewish campaign
to fund the resettlement of
Soviet Jews in Israel.
Brode said ITC is part of
Operation Exodus in that it
strives to upgrade the quali-
ty of life in Israel so that new
settlers there will want to
remain. "Give to Operation
Exodus, but make us No. 2
or 3 on your list. We're a
very important part of
Operation Exodus, too,"
Brode told the crowd at the
Hermelins.
In its 13-year history, the
ITC has received some $2
million from Detroiters, said
Brode, who was elected in
March to his second two-year
term as the group's presi-
dent.

According to Steve Lecker
of New York, ITC executive
director, Jews around the
world have pledged a total of
$50 million to the organiza-
tion since its inception in
1977. The support has per-
mitted it to open nine tennis
centers, which offer, in addi-
tion to tennis lessons and
free equipment, counselling
in fitness, nutrition and
hygiene, plus social services,
rehabilitation, libraries and
tutoring.
The tennis centers have
boosted Israel's stature
among Davis Cup countries
(it's among the top 16) and
developed such net stars as
Amos Monsdorf and Ilana
Berger.
Brode took exception to a
recent remark by Berger
that Israel hasn't built a na-
tional tennis game because
to do so "takes time and pa-
tience, neither of which are
Israeli characteristics."
"The reason isn't that
Israelis don't want to work
at it, but that there isn't

enough top-quality competi-
tion in Israel yet — not
enough kids playing the
game," Brode said. "It will
take more money and effort
to develop world-ranked
tennis players," which he
said is a by-product of the
ITC's programs.
In its "bar mitzvah" year,
ITC has 130 tennis courts
and more than 100 coaches
in such communities and
cities as Kiryat Shemonah,
Haifa, Tiberius, Ramat
Hasharon, South Tel
Aviv/Jaffa, Jerusalem,
Ashkelon, Arad and
Dimona. Included is a
5,000-seat stadium at Ramat
Hasharon and a 1,200-seat
stadium in Jerusalem.
A 10th center, sponsored
by the South African Jewish
community, will be opened
in Beersheva before the end
of the year, Brode said.
Brode said a complete
center — with gymnasium,
library and study halls —
costs $4-5 million. A basic
center, consisting of six

courts, fences, hitting walls
and office, costs $1 million.
To strengthen Detroit sup-
port for ITC, Brode said
Marvin and Sandra Rubin of
Bloomfield Township have
been named Detroit area
ITC chairmen, serving on
the ITC international board.
They will plan year-round
programs and will recruit
younger adults.
But the key agenda item,
Brode said, is continuing
support.
"Israel is to get a quarter
of a million Soviet Jews and
a lot are young adults with
young children. Our tennis
centers already have
welcomed 500 Soviet kids
who can't speak Hebrew yet,
but through the centers they
are learning tennis and
other things and are becom-
ing integrated into the Israel
community," Brode said.
They are also playing with
Israeli Arab youngsters.
"They've got to learn to live
together, for the future of
Israel," Brode said. ❑

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