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September 14, 1990 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-09-14

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

DETROIT

Jewish Educator Supports
Community Involvement

SUSAN GRANT

Staff Writer

A

new curriculum or
program won't solve
the problems facing
Jewish education, according
to a Los Angeles Jewish
educator.
"As long as we focus only
on schools, we are not going
to make substantive changes
in the quality," said Sara
Lee, director of the Rhea
Hirsch School of Education
at the Hebrew Union Col-
lege in Los Angeles.
"We must look at the in-
stitutions and the commun-
ity to provide support and
context and only then can we
begin to address the prob-
lems facing Jewish edu-
cation," Ms. Lee told a group
of Detroit Jewish educators
last week. Ms. Lee, who was
brought to Detroit by the
Agency for Jewish Edu-
cation, spent last weekend
talking to teachers, admin-
istrators, and temple board
members about the
challenges facing Jewish
education.
The basic challenge is
restoring the people to the
Torah and the Torah to the
people, she told Temple

Emanu-El members during
Shabbat services. "It is the
challenge of connecting the
people to the meaning of
their identity as Jews.
"What it means to be a
Jew is no longer presumed,
but rather a subject of
debate," Ms. Lee said. "In
the absence of understan-
ding what Jewish identity is,
it is difficult to set mean-
ingful goals for Jewish lear-
ning. In the absence of a
physical and acceptable
community which embodies
a Jewish way of life, it is
questionable that Jewish
education can be taken seri-
ously.
"Jewish education is a
service provided by the
community. It is not the
lifeblood of the community
that it should be," she said.
"We must change the
definition of who owns Jew-
ish education. Everybody
owns it: the community,
parents, the whole congrega-
tion. Everybody is responsi-
ble for it," Ms. Lee said.
"We have to expand who
gets involved in education,"
she said
Suggestions to improve
Jewish education can not be
left only to a small corn-

Jewish Teams Miss
Green In Tournament

ALAN HITSKY

Associate Editor

team from Wabeek
shanked their chance
last week to put the
Oldsmobile Scramble golf
tournament in a more
precarious public relations
position.
The team from Wabeek,
comprised of four Jewish
men and the club profes-
sional, were hoping to win
the sectional event Sept. 4
and pressure the national
Oldsmobile Scramble ad-
ministration, the Profes-
sional Golf Association, arid
Oldsmobile Division of Gen-
eral Motors to change the
Yom Kippur tee off date for
the finals of the tournament.
Al Iwrey and three part-
ners won a local qualifying
tournament in August. Mr.
Iwrey then learned of the
Yom Kippur date for the
finals of the net division of
the tournament. The gross
division finals are in Oc-
tober.

Mr. Iwrey has lobbied offi-
cials throughout Michigan
about the tournament date
and the Anti-Defamation
League has written a letter
to Scramble officials. The re-
sponse has been that nation-
al scheduling commitments
will not permit a change in
date.
Mr. Iwrey and his partners
were hoping a victory last
week would add to the
pressure. But Wabeek pro-
fessional Tom Fortuna
became ill, and a woman
professional from Southfield
substituted for Mr. Fortuna
Women players were not
allowed to use women's tees,
Mr. Iwrey said, and that
proved to be a handicap for
the team.
Two predominantly Jew-
ish country clubs, Knollwood
and Tam O'Shanter, each
had three teams playing in
last week's sectionals at
Wabeek and Bay Pointe.
None of the teams qualified
for the national finals on
Yom Kippur.

.



mittee, she said. Synagogue
boards must discuss Jewish
education and decide what
they must do to improve it.
The entire community
must make Jewish learning
an integral part of Jewish
life, Ms. Lee added.
"Americans are good at
developing programs to save
Soviet Jews. What we're not
good at is transforming
ourselves into better Jews,"
she said. "Adult Jews, soph-
isticated in so many ways,
feel ill-equipped to the task
of acculturating the next ge-
neration."
Most people look to their
congregations to provide
Jewish education. While
congregations are central to
Jewish life, many families
join the temple only long
enough for their children to
get an education and then
leave.
To encourage families to
stay, temples and syn-
agogues must talk to the
family about their expecta-
tions, she said. Officials
must ask each new family
what they expect from the
congregation and what the
congregation can offer them.
"It takes time, but it is one
of the most important things
a synagogue can do," she
said. "Hopefully, people will
feel connected and not just a
name on the membership
role."
"We probably cannot do a
great deal to transform the
community, but we can do a
great deal to transform in-
dividual congregations," she
said.
To get more people in-
volved in Jewish education,
Ms. Lee suggests asking
community members to
teach classes. People don't
have to be certified teachers
to be in the classroom, she
said.
Another challenge facing
Jewish education is who
receives it.
"Our attention should be
turned to the family, not just
the child," she said.
While stories about the
Holocaust and Israel are im-
portant, there are other
stories which cannot be ne-
glected which capture the
beauty and ideas of Judaism,
"To remember who we are,
we must experience Jewish
history with its great
moments of achievement,
not just oppression. We
should bring to life the ac-
complishments of men, wo-
men, and communities here."

More than 700 persons attended a classical concert offered by recent
Soviet immigrants at Temple Israel. The Aug. 29 concert raised an
estimated $5,000 for Operation Exodus to help Israel absorb Soviet
Jews. Shown performing at the concert are Nikolai Lemberg, Yury
Khalitov, Ludmila Lemberg and Vladislav Kovalsky.

Photo by Glenn Triest

Palestinian Supporters
On U-M Funded Mg

MELANIE KOFF

Special to The Jewish News

T

wo representatives of
the Palestinian Solid-
arity Committee held
a press conference last week
to discuss their two-week trip
to Israeli-occupied territories,
a trip that was partially fund-
ed by students at the Univer-
sity of Michigan.
The Michigan Student
Assembly (MSA), which
represents almost 40,000 U-M
students, and the Rackham
Student Government, which
represents U-M graduate
students, each allocated
$1,000 to subsidize the trip.
The remaining costs, which
the representatives estimate
at $500 to $1,000, were paid
by PSC and the individual.
U-M senior David Levin of
Farmington Hills and U-M
graduate Luis Vasquez
visited the Gaza Strip and
West Bank in August, where
they met with students and
faculty of Birzeit University.
Birzeit, located 12 miles
north of Jerusalem in the
West Bank, was closed by
Israeli authorities in
December 1987, according to
a PSC newsletter. Mr. Levin
says he met with various
Palestinian and Israeli
groups who are "eager to end
the closing of the university."
In March 1989, MSA laun-

ched a sister-university rela-
tionship with Birzeit. It ap-
proved $3,500 for the PSC to
send a six-person delegation
on a similar mission to the
West Bank in 1989.
Discussed during last
months' visit was possible
establishment of a student
and faculty exchange bet-
ween thetwo universities and
raising money for a scholar-
ship fund established by the
Birzeit student council.
Mr. Vasquez wants to
establish a. computer-link bet-
ween students at U-M and
Birzeit. Says Mr. Vasquez,
"They do have computers but
they aren't on an interna-
tional network. The universi-
ty doesn't have access to that
yet."
'Mr. Levin says no specific
plans were made during the
two-week visit. "I realize
we've spoken largely in
generalities." He believes the
most important achievement
of the trip was "establishing
an environment where a
dynamic sister-university
relationship can be built."
He adds, "I hope U-M
students will learn from our
trip and push for social
justice. They can influence
our government and Israel to
reopen the universities."
Mr. Vasquez is not a
member of PSC. Mr. Levin,
who is Jewish, is a member of

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

17

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