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April 05, 1991 - Image 66

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

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


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Southfielder Pearlena Bodzin keeps busy building a
Jewish home
and a community.


Associate Editor


U Pearlena Bodzin:

"My nature is to get
involved in things."

earlena Bodzin's life
has changed. After
all, her children are
away at college, and she is
now keeping a longtime pro-
mise to husband Jason that
she will travel to some of his
medical meetings.
You would think her vol-
unteer career might be slow-
You would be wrong.
Just visit her kitchen-
office for a while and make
small talk, if you can. Don't
mind the constant interrup-
tions from the telephone or
the oven. It is just Pearlena
Bodzin's way of doing busi-
Volunteering, helping
others, is something she
grew up with. "I used to
schlepp with my mom on
Cortland for the March of
Dimes," she recalls. "And I
started volunteering when I
was in B'nai B'rith Girls. My
parents lived that kind of
life, and we were always in-
volved with the shul."
Her parents, Harry and
Etta Wilson, are still that
way. Members of Young
Israel of Southfield, Mrs.
Wilson "still makes soup for
all the neighbors and my dad
still teaches Judiasm." Vol-
unteering, Pearlena Bodzin
says, has always been part of
her family. "I married into
it, also."
But making volunteering
a "career" began for Mrs.

Bodzin through her children.
She became active at Con-
gregation B'nai Moshe,
chairing the youth commis-
sion and the town -hall
speaker series, serving as
president of the sisterhood,
serving on the synagogue
board and now as recording
She also represents B'nai
Moshe at the local council
meetings of Mazon - the Jew-
ish Response to Hunger.

"We need to learn
each other's
cultures. We need
to learn to live,
work and play
together. It's a
slow process, but
I'm optimistic."

Her children's schools
have also felt her presence.
When son Gordie started at
Akiva Hebrew Day School,
Mrs. Bodzin started, too. Her
active role at the school
began as the Rosh Chodesh
(beginning of the Jewish
month) hot-dog lady, prepar-
ing and serving hot dogs.
"There is a whole generation
of Akiva kids who remember
me for thatjob," she laughs.
Through the Jewish com-
munity's Family-To-Family
Project, the Bodzins are
paired with a Soviet Jewish
family that recently im-
migrated to Detroit. Mrs.
Bodzin helped her Soviet

counterpart enroll her son at
"It was like enrolling my
own child all over again,"
Mrs. Bodzin says. "We stood
in the parking lot and
When daughter Beth was a
senior at Southfield-Lathrup
High School last year, Mrs.
Bodzin served as president of
the Parent Teacher Student
Association and co-chaired
the all-night senior party
with Rose Lynn Schlussel.
"I don't know about the
kids," she says, "but Rosie
and I had an absolute blast."
Mrs. Bodzin claims to be
having a hard time ad-
justing to the empty nest. "A
lot of my activities were
geared around the kids," she
says, "and I don't think they
have a PTA at the Univer-
sity of Michigan or Michigan
Despite her protests, Mrs.
Bodzin is managing to keep
busy. She has just been
named to the City of
Southfield's Total Living
Commission and is serving
as president of the Kenwyck
Residents Association, a
three-street neighborhood
group bordered by Con-
gregation Shaarey Zedek,
the Southfield Post Office
and 11 Mile Road.
"When Beth graduated
from high school, I decided to
put my energies somewhere
else," she says. "The Total
Living Commission is a bun-
ch of good people trying to
keep the neighborhoods
stable. Is it working? To
some extent, yes.
"We have trouble getting
into the schools. We need to
learn each other's cultures.
We need to learn to live,
work and play together and
get to know each other. It's a
slow process, but I'm op-
timistic. Of course, I'm
always optimistic," she says.
"I never want to give up."
Mrs. Bodzin was also in-
volved with the Jewish
community's Neighborhood
Project — "but they always
have their meetings on a
night when I'm already hav-

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