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May 10, 1991 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-05-10

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MAY 10, 1991 / 26 IYAR 5751

Engler Staff Apologizes
For Proclamation Mixup


Associate Editor


as it Israel's dem-
ocratic status in the
Middle East or
miscommunication? Mark
Schlussel doesn't care.
He hopes to turn a poten-
tial snub of Sunday's Walk
for Israel in West Bloomfield
into closer ties between the
Jewish community and the
office of Michigan Governor
John Engler.
A routine resolution,
prepared each year by the
Jewish Welfare Federation
of Detroit for the governor
and state legislature to sign,

was mishandled in Lansing
last week. That raised some
eyebrows among Federation
The proposed resolution
was sent to State Rep. Max-
ine Berman's office April 22
and forwarded to the gover-
nor's office April 23. At this
point the story gets political:
Rep. Berman's office man-
ager and a Federation staff
member say the governor's
correspondence office waited
too long to handle the
resolution and questioned a
statement in it which de-
scribed Israel as "the only
democracy in the Middle
The governor's director of

communications says there
was a mixup over whether
the document was to be a
joint resolution of the state
House and Senate, or a proc-
lamation by Mr. Engler.
"Let me say right now that
there was no controversy at
all about Israel's democratic
status," said Rusty Hills,
Gov. Engler's director of
"There was a time problem
and miscommunication bet-
ween who was doing what
and when. We hope there is
no communication problem
between the governor's of-
fice and the Jewish commun-
ity. The governor has par-
ticipated in a number of
events and is very open to
the community."
Mark Schlussel, president
of the Jewish Welfare Fed-
eration, was concerned
about the incident. Rep.
Berman (D-Southfield) hur-
riedly pulled together a
House resolution, had it
signed by Rep. David Gubow
(D-Huntington Woods) and

Legislators David Honigman, Jack Faxon and Maxine Berman present
the House resolution to Mark Schlussel at Sunday's walk.
Rep. Burton Leland (D-
(Rusty Hills), who was very
Detroit), and presented it
forthcoming, very upset and
Sunday before the Walk for
very apologetic about this.
The governor was not in-
"It was too late last
volved in this affair, and ap-
Thursday to get the resolu-
parently they are very anx-
tion into session and it was
ious to correct this."
In an effort to make
too late to get other names,"
Ms. Berman said. "The im-
amends, on Tuesday Mr.
portant thing was the
Engler signed an executive
declaration using the exact
language originally propos-
Mr. Schlussel believes
ed by the Federation.
some good may have come
Said Mr. Schlussel, "It was
out of the incident. "We
received an apology from the
Continued on Page 24
director of communications

Shir Shalom Struggles
For Township Approval

Staff Writer

When the Land
of Milk and Honey


Between new peace initiatives,
Soviet olim and increased
economic woes, Israel is undergoing
a dramatic metamorphosis.

Page 28


emple Shir Shalom of-
ficials were optimistic
when they first sub-
mitted their request to build
a synagogue on the
southeast corner of Orchard
Lake and Walnut Lake
Temple leaders had seen
Congregation B'nai Moshe
struggle in 1990 as it sought
approval from West Bloom-
field Township officials to
build a facility on Drake
Road, just south of Maple
Road. But, when the temple
submitted its plans to the
West Bloomfield Township
Planning Commission in
February, it did not expect to
face the same obstacles.
After all, Shir Shalom,
which occupies an office
building on Maple Road,
east of Orchard Lake, is al-
ready situated in the
township. Knowing parking
would be an issue, temple of-

facials planned 183 parking
spaces, well above township
code specifications, and
secured the use of West
Bloomfield High School and
Doherty Elementary School
parking lots to provide extra
space during the High Holy
Yet, while the optimism
remains, it has been

Photo by Glenn Triest


Judith Holtz:
Jews need to get involved.

tempered by the delays suf-
fered during the past few
months. Planning commis-
sioners have not decided
whether to approve the
facility. A decision is ex-
pected May 14.
Township and temple at-
torneys are ironing out
details, said David Levine,
Shir Shalom's president.
Regardless of the commis-
sion's decision, the temple
still needs West Bloomfield
Township Board of Trustees'
approval. Temple officials
had hoped to break ground
later this year, but are un-
sure it will happen.
"We had hoped it would be
a quicker process," Mr.
Levine said. "We're trying
to work within the system.
We're taking one step at a
While no one at Shir
Shalom has made any at-
tempt to link the delay with
charges of anti-Semitism,
concerns about the
township's willingness to ac-
Continued on Page 24

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