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April 05, 1991 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-04-05

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Fresh Air Will Curtail
Winter Camp Programs


Staff Writer


eginning this fall, the
Fresh Air Society will
close Camp Maas in
Ortonville from September
through March, eliminating
fall and winter camp for
schools and community
Ortonville's Butzel Con-
ference Center, which can
accommodate about 115
people, will remain open and
will be available without ho-
tel services for weekend
retreats, conventions and
educational programs for
Jewish groups. Rentals for
the general community will
be scheduled during April
and May.
"This is back to basics to
focus more of our time,
energy and resources on our
mission — providing
residential camping experi-
ences for Jewish children,"
said Fresh Air President
Richard Komer. "We went
through a long process and
we all feel very good about
it. We are consolidating our

outdoor education program
to run more efficiently."
Closing camp during the
fall and winter comes amid
economic hardships for
Fresh Air and other Jewish
and community agencies.
Yet Fresh Air officials said
cuts do not follow last week's
request by the Jewish Wel-
fare Federation that agen-
cies reduce budgets by 5 per-
"We've been talking about
refocusing the agency for the

Cuts will affect
some youth groups
that regularly take
teens to camp.

past six months," said Sam
Fisher, Fresh Air Society
executive director. "This is a
major and necessary step in
the evolution of the agency."
Fresh Air is expecting to
operate on a $2.6 million
budget in 1991-92 —
$600,000 less than the
previous year. It expects
Federation will contribute
$464,000 to the budget for

APRIL 5, 1991 / 21 NISAN 5751


subsidies and scholarships
for Jewish campers.
Already, five of the agen-
cy's 26 year-round employees
have been laid off. Additional
staff cuts could be made in
September, Mr. Fisher said.
"We can't afford it
anymore," Mr. Fisher said.
Cuts will affect some youth
groups that regularly take
teens to camp.
Each October, about 200
high school students from
Michigan's B'nai B'rith
Youth Organization have
retreated to Camp Maas for
a fall conclave, aimed to
boosting enthusiasm for the
rest of the year. Butzel can
accommodate only 100 to
115 people.

"It is really going to hurt
our program," said Arnold
Weiner, senior executive di-
rector for Michigan Region
BBYO. "It will cut our pro-
gram in half. We often have
turned some kids away when
we could bring 200. Imagine
what will confront us next

Continued on Page 36

Mission To Israel Gains
Post-War Significance


Managing Editor


hen President Bush
drew his history-
making January 15
line in the sand in Saudi
Arabia, he effectively halted
a Detroit Jewish Welfare
Federation solidarity mis-
sion to Israel.
Now that the war has long
been completed, and a great
deal of the world's magnify-
ing glass is now focused on
Israel, the Detroit Federa-
tion and the Jewish Com-
munity Council are plann-
ing to go again.
The trip, scheduled for
April 21 through April 26,
won't be about climbing
Masada or floating in the
Dead Sea. It will include
visits with families displac-
ed by Scud missiles and
tours of reconstruction sites
of buildings damaged by the
deadly missiles. It will also

include meetings with Rus-
sian olim fresh off their
flights at Ben-Gurion Inter-
national Airport, and a
meeting with Jewish West
Bank settlers and moderate
"Back in January, we
made a commitment to go to
Israel as soon as the war
eased," said David Gad-
Harf, executive director of
the Jewish Community
Council. "Within a day or
two after the war, Mark
Schlussel and Paul D. Bor-
man came together and said
we have to go forward and
fulfill our plans. Part of the
message we send with this
trip is that Detroit Jewry
has a long-standing com-
mitment to Israel and won't
renege on it. We would have
been sending a poor message
if the trip were never
In the war's aftermath,
Mr. Gad-Harf said, it became

more important for Ameri-
can Jews from any city to
make contact with Israelis.
He also said that little of the
trip will involve group
meetings to hear various
leaders. The Detroit group,
he said, wants to get into the
country and hear what olim
from Michigan, as well as
other Israelis, have to say
about post-war Israel.
Mr. Schlussel, Federation
president and co-leader of
the mission, sees the trip as
having more symbolism
"The January trip was
designed for us to get in
touch with ourselves as Jew-
ish leaders in connection
with the State of Israel," he
said. "Now, we're looking at
an Israel that has come
through a difficult period
and is still facing pressure
and numerous obstacles.
This is important for us, be-

Continued on Page 36



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