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April 19, 1991 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-04-19

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

DETROIT

B'nai Moshe And Its Rabbi
Cancel Employment Contract

ALAN HITSKY

Associate Editor

A

fter four years as
spiritual leader of
Congregation B'nai
Moshe, Rabbi Allan
Meyerowitz and the con-
gregation have signed a
"mutual termination
agreement."
On Tuesday, the syn-
agogue's board approved the
agreement, which gives the
rabbi his immediate release
from his contract. Final
details were worked out
Wednesday.
Rabbi Meyerowitz was
hired by B'nai Moshe in
1987, replacing Rabbi
Stanley Rosenbaum. He was
given a two-year contract in
1987 and a three-year con-
tract in 1989, which expires
in June 1992.
Sharlene Ungar, Bnai

Moshe's president, said the
rabbi has family needs that
required the change.
Mrs. Ungar said B'nai
Moshe's building plans
would have required Rabbi
Meyerowitz to move to West
Bloomfield from his
Southfield home to fulfill his
contract. "This would have
been a financial hardship for
him and his family" to move
shortly before his contract
would expire, she said.
Rabbi Meyerowitz called
the agreement amicable.
"We are leaving to get our
family closer to our family in
the Northeast. With the bir-
th of our twins last year, and
the enlargement of our fami-
ly, it made us want to move
home," he said.
The rabbi said the
slowness of the synagogue's
building campaign was also
a factor in his decision.

B'nai Moshe sold its Oak
Park building to the Jewish
Welfare Federation last year
and moved to temporary
quarters at its site on Drake
Road in West Bloomfield.
Services are held at the
Maple-Drake Jewish Com-
munity Center. Mrs. Ungar
expects a decision within the
next two-to-three weeks on
whether the congregation
will build a new synagogue by
itself or with another
congregation.
"It is not a question of
whether we are going to
build," Mrs. Ungar said.
"We are working on the fi-
nancial details right now."
B'nai Moshe's construction
plans were delayed during a
lengthy battle with West
Bloomfield Township over
site approval. The syn-
agogue now has construction
bids and expects to take ac-

Rabbi Meyerowitz:
Four-year tenure.

tion within a month, she
said. "The decision with the
rabbi does not affect this at
all," she said.
Mrs. Ungar said Cantor
Louis Klein will take over
some of the rabbi's duties
while a replacement is
sought.

She said the termination
agreement, coming at this
time, allows B'nai Moshe to
begin looking for a replace-
ment immediately under the
rules of the Rabbinical
Assembly (organization of
Conservative rabbis).
Without an agreement,
B'nai Moshe would have had
to wait until June, the begin-
ning of the rabbi's contract.
The congregation is send-
ing a letter to its members,
explaining the rabbi's
departure, and is planning a
reception in the rabbi's
honor. Rabbi Meyerowitz
said he does not expect to
move from the Detroit area
until later this summer.

Rabbi Meyerowitz joined
B'nai Moshe after serving as
rabbi in Spring Valley, N.Y.,
north of Manhattan. He was
active in the Soviet Jewry
movement and his wife,
Robyn, was founding direc-
tor of B'nai Moshe's Golden
Dreams nursery school.
They are the parents of four
children. ❑

Southfield Man To Get Bone Marrow Transplant

SUSAN GRANT

Staff Writer

H

is search for a bone
marrow donor is over,
but Jonathan Cohen
knows he still may lose his
battle with leukemia.
First diagnosed with the
disease in December 1989,
Mr. Cohen, 20, a Southfield-
Lathrup High School
graduate, went into a brief
remission with the help of
chemotherapy. But when the
disease returned a few mon-
ths later, doctors told Mr.
Cohen's family his best hope
was finding a bone marrow
donor.
And so began a year-long,
complicated and expensive
donor search, which includ-
ed a quest to find Mr.
Cohen's natural parents.
Because he was adopted as a
baby, neither his mother,
Charlene Ehrlich, nor his
sister, Sheila, 27, were com-
patible donors. Instead, the
search took him to
Youngstown, Ohio, where a
probate court allowed him to
open adoption records in the
hopes of finding his
biological family. Although
he never found his natural
mother, Mr. Cohen
discovered three half-sisters,
none of whom matched his
tissue type.
But in early March, Mrs.
Ehrlich received word that
an anonymous donor had

14

FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 1991

Jonathan Cohen:
Donor found.

been found through the Na-
tional Bone Marrow
Registry. The registry holds
the names and tissue types
of more than 100,000 poten-
tial bone marrow donors.
While the bone marrow
transplant surgery, schedul-
ed for May 17 at Harper
Hospital, offers Mr. Cohen's
best chance for a full recov-
ery, it is not without its
dangers.
A week before the
transplant, Mr. Cohen will
enter the hospital and
receive total body radiation,
said Missy Frey, bone
marrow transplant coor-
dinator at Harper. The pro-
cess not only destroys re-

maining cancer cells, but
Mr. Cohen's immune system
as well.
Meanwhile, the donor will
undergo surgery to remove
the marrow from a hip bone,
Ms. Frey said. The marrow
will be hand-delivered to Mr.
Cohen's hospital bed. For
the next few hours, the
marrow will enter his body
through an IV placed in his
chest.
Then the wait to see if the
transplant is successful
begins. Although Mr. Cohen
will have no immune
system, the donor's marrow
does, and will likely attack
Mr. Cohen's body as a for-
eign substance.
Graft versus host disease
is common after bone
marrow transplants, even if
the match is perfect, Ms.
Frey said. Symptoms range
from a rash to diarrhea, or
could lead to death.
Mr. Cohen is well aware of
the dangers. But he also
knows the transplant gives
him a 50 percent chance of
survival. Without it, his
chances fall to 20 percent.
"I worry about whether I'll
make it through the
transplant," Mr. Cohen said.
"I'm optimistic about it. It's
good to go in with a good at-
titude. If I go in thinking it's
going to work, then it prob-
ably will. Hopefully."
Although relieved to find a
donor, Mr. Cohen's family
worries not only about the

dangers of the procedure,
but the expense. While in-
surance covers the
transplant itself, the
medical expenses for the do-
nor, preliminary transplant
exams for Mr. Cohen and the
cost of the search must be
paid by the family, Mrs.
Ehrlich said.
At one point, the family
had collected $30,000 from
fund-raisers and donations
to a fund established by
Rabbi Martin Berman at

Funds are still
needed to cover
the donor's
medical expenses.

Congregation Beth Achim,
she said. But that money has
already dwindled to $10,000
and the donor's medical ex-
penses alone will total
$15,000.
To ease the financial
burden, a four-hour fund-
raiser will begin at 8 p.m.
April 27 at the Southfield
Sheraton Hotel, featuring
two country music shows by
"Little Darlin's." There will
be dancing in between the
shows. Tickets are available
at the door. For information,
call Helene Gottfried, 358-
1875.
Meanwhile, Mr. Cohen

looks forward to the day
when fund-raisers will be
unnecessary. If the
transplant goes well, he can
leave the hospital in two
months. After a year, his
body will have a new im-
mune system provided by
the transplanted bone
marrow.
Then he will be able to
make a long-awaited trip to
Florida and visit his three
half-sisters in Philadelphia.
Eventually, he hopes to
enroll in school and become
either a pastry chef or a wat-
chmaker.
But for now, he keeps busy
going out with friends, in-
cluding girlfriend Sherrie
Bradley, whom he met when
she volunteered to wash cars
during one of many recent
fund-raisers. He also writes
poetry and listens to rock
and roll and heavy metal
music.
His friends provide sym-
pathy and support. But as he
watches them drive away
from the Southfield apart-
ment he shares with his
mother, he sometimes
wonders why he got sick, he
said. While he has occa-
sional bouts of self-pity, Mr.
Cohen is trying to accept his
fate.
"I feel like I have to be
more mature because I don't
know whether I will live or
die from it," he said. "You
have to spend your time as
best as you can."



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