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November 02, 1990 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-11-02

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Day School Is Struggling
For Community Support


Staff Writer


r. Margaret Eichner
knew when she ac-
cepted the job as
headmaster at Yavneh
Academy, the Reform Day
School of Metropolitan
Detroit, it would take three
to five years to get the school
off the ground.
She was right. After its
first year and an enrollment
of 14 students, Yavneh
Academy is struggling to
find the community support
it needs.
"I think people expect too
much from this poor school,"
Dr. Eichner said. "It's just
like a business. It takes time
to get the product known in
the community."
When Yavneh opened in
1989 in room 333 at the Jew-
ish Community Center, two
kindergartners and 10 first
graders were enrolled. To in-
crease enrollment, Dr.
Eichner spent her summer
running advertisements,

sending out 1,100 invita-
tions to prospective parents
for an open house, and driv-
ing around neighborhoods
passing out flyers.
By mid-summer, she had
almost 20 students enrolled
in kindergarten through se-
cond grade. But a few weeks

"If we develop the
way other day
schools have, we
will continue to

Dr. Margaret Eichner

before school started,
Yavneh lost a number of
returning second graders.
Some children left after re-
ceiving a lower tuition rate
at another day school. An-
other child moved out of
state. One student with a
learning disability needed to
be in a public school. Three
couples pulled their
daughters from the second

NOVEMBER 2, 1990 / 14 HESHVAN 5751


grade because they believed
there were not enough girls
in the class. Another child
left because his parents
wanted him to go to the
public school his siblings at-
tend. That left two second
graders and forced the first
and second grades to be
"Not one of those people
left because they were
dissatisfied with the pro-
gram," said Dr. Eichner.
"There was nothing I could
say to make those parents
stay. Parents found reasons
not to send their children to
Gigi Freed said her
daughter, Orly, 8, was happy
at Yavneh Academy. "But
there weren't many girls
enrolled. Socialization is im-
portant in second grade. We
wanted her to be with other
Although Orly now at-
tends West Bloomfield
schools, Mrs. Freed said, "I
wish Yavneh had more

Continued on Page 24

Ze'ev Chafets Fires Back
At Critics of 'Devil's Night'


Staff Writer


e'ev Chafets blasted
back this week at
those who criticized
him for his book about his
"I thought there would be
some interest" in Devil's
Night: And Other True Tales
of Detroit (Random House),
his controversial look at
Detroit's rise as a black-
controlled city surrounded
by hostile suburbs, "but I
never thought I'd be the
target of the thought police
in Detroit," Mr. Chafets
said. "I didn't think people
would call me a racist."
The "thought police" are
people "who are attacking
the book without having
read it," Mr. Chafets said,
and he included Arthur
Johnson of the Detroit bran-
ch of the National Associ-
ation for the Advancement
of Colored People and

Ze'ev Chafets:
"Thought police" target?

Detroit Mayor Coleman A.
Young in that group. Mr.
Johnson called Devil's Night
"a racist tract" in the Oct.
24 Macomb Daily.
"They both rushed out in

print with criticism before
the book was even out," Mr.
Chafets said. "That's a
variety of criticism I'm not
familiar with — maybe it
could be called the Detroit
School of Literary Criticism.
"They're trying to make
the book the problem. The
book is not the problem. It
may not be the solution, but
it's not the problem," Mr.
Chafets said.
"The time has come for
people to talk about what's
going on in Detroit." The
Detroit press is timid around
Mayor Young, he said.
Mr. Chafets, who lives in
Tel Aviv, grew up as Bill
Chafets, a dentist's son, in
his native Pontiac. He took
his Hebrew name, Ze'ev,
when he made aliyah in
1967. A former public rela-
tions specialist with the
Israeli government of
Menachem Begin, his
column appeared weekly in
The Jewish News until June,

Continued on Page 26

Episcopal Bishop R. Stewart Wood


Socially-conscious local
Christian clergy have entered
the Middle East fray.

Page 28

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