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August 31, 1990 - Image 1

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-08-31

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

SECOND CLASS

THE JEWISH NEWS

SERVING DETROIT'S JEWISH COMMUNITY

SEVENTY-FIVE CENTS

AUGUST 31, 1990 / 10 ELUL 5750

JWF Approves
Suburban Site

KIMBERLY LIFTON

p

Staff Writer

Tans by the Jewish
Welfare Federation to
follow its community
to the suburbs are sailing
smoothly as the board of
governors gave overwhelm-
ing approval this week to
buy 5 V2 acres of land in
Farmington Hills for future
agency headquarters.
No purchase can be made
without the approval of
United Jewish Charities,
whose board is scheduled to
meet Sept. 6. Purchase of the
land, where an old mansion
stands behind the Lutz
building on 13 Mile Road
east of Northwestern, would
be made with private dona-
tions. Price of the land is

"The perception
initially is an
appearance of
abandonment."
— Stanley
Winkelman

under negotiation.
"The issue has not been
over whether we should
move," Federation Exec-
utive Vice President Robert
Aronson said. "The issue has
been where, and whether we
can afford it."
Mr. Aronson said the Fed-
eration is not ruling out
leasing an existing building
or continuing to look for
other sites. But, he said, the
location in Farmington Hills
is central to the Jewish
community. If the purchase
is made, he said, Federation
will bank the land until a
decision is made.
Federation, which has
maintained offices at 163
Madison partly as a symbol
of its commitment to Detroit,
has been studying a possible
move for the past four years.
The Jewish community
has not been centered within
the city limits since the
1960s, and a recent demo-
graphic study confirms that
the building is located far
south of the main population
centers of the Jewish corn-
munity in the northwest
suburbs.

In addition, an in-house
Federation study shows the
Butzel Building needs an
estimated $1 million in
renovations. About 85 per-
cent of Federation's business
meetings take place out of
the office, and the average
staff person spends less than
four hours a day at the
Madison office.
A move could take place in
from one to five years, Mr.
Aronson said. If Federation
constructs its own head-
quarters, the agency would
remain at its present loca-
tion for at least 2 1/2 years, he
said.
Talk of relocating comes
amid trying times for the
Jewish community, which
has been financially stretch-
ed by additional solicitations
for Operation Exodus, the
international campaign ex-
pected to raise $420 million
to help Israel absorb and
resettle Soviet Jewish im-
migrants.
"We have had an un-
precedented year in Jewish
community activity and fund
raising and our concern for
the plight of Soviet Jewry
will continue unabated as
the mass migration to Israel
continues," Federation Pres-
ident Mark Schlussel said.
"We believe that if we bank
the land, and we plan, the
move will not interfere with
our other activities."
Although some board
members and longtime
community leaders express-
ed disappointment, most
were accepting of the deci-
sion to move. Of the near-60
board members who voted,
only a handful dissented.
Dissenters questioned the
impact of the move on the
community's relationship
with the city of Detroit, cost
of the project, the historical
value of the Butzel Building
and the centrality of the new
location.
"We are very sensitive to
the fact that while most of us
don't live in the city, Detroit
is still important to each of
us," said Dr. Conrad Giles,
Federation immediate past
president, who supports pur-
chasing land for a future of-
fice. "I feel very uncomfor-
table moving to the suburbs,
and any proposed future
Continued on Page 14

A complete wrapup
on last week's
JCC-Maccabi
Youth Games.

The subtle effort to introduce the new
immigrants to American Jewish life.

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