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May 10, 1991 - Image 47

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

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

"Some of Windsor's
earliest settlers
wound up in
Windsor so they
could sneak across
the border and get
into the United
States."

Rabbi Jonathan Plaut .

son, David David, but it
wasn't until the 1880s that
the next significant wave of
Jews came to Windsor,
Rabbi Plaut said.
"They were mostly Jews
looking to escape pogroms,"
he said. "Canada has a long
history of being settled by
immigrants from other
countries. It's like a grab
bag of mixed nationalities."
Alan Juris, director of the
Windsor Jewish Community
Centre, says it's this sort of
multiculturalism that
makes Jewish life in Wind-
sor so attractive.
"Here we call it a cultural
mosaic," said Mr. Juris, who
used to work for the Jewish

Welfare Federation of
Detroit.
Mr. Juris, who moved his
family from Detroit to Wind-
sor 10 years ago while still
working in Detroit, said the
Canadian cultural mosaic is
different from the American
concept of the melting pot.
"In a melting pot, every-
one is encouraged to conform
to one basic culture," he
said. "Canada, on the other
hand, encourages peoples of
every ethnic background
and religious affiliation to
practice their customs and
maintain their own cultural
identity.
"The Windsor Jewish
community has a mind of its
own. For while it's small, it's
a close-knit, independent
Jewish community with
everything Detroit has —
just in miniature."
The Jewish Community
Centre of Windsor is actu-
ally a JCC and a Jewish fed-
eration rolled into one. The
Centre, which is 35 years
old, oversees the adjacent
I.L. Peretz Home, a home for
the aged similar to the Fed-
eration Apartments of
Detroit.
The Centre, which gen-
erally functions as the
meeting place for most
Windsor Jewish communal
events, also runs a nursery
school, a summer day camp
and youth chapters.
Per capita, the entire
Canadian Jewish commun-
ity annually raises more
than does the entire Ameri-
can population, according to
Mr. Juris.
"In the last Operation Ex-
odus, for instance, 6 million

Photos by G le nn Triest

representative charged with
the responsibility of buying
furs from the Indians and
linking the fur trade to the
Montreal-based family busi-
ness," Rabbi Plaut said.
"He never truly fit into the
family business since he lik-
ed living in the wilds and
dealing with the Indians so
much. He rarely returned to
Montreal, although he tried
to keep up some ties with his
family."
Moses David died when he
was 47 in 1814. He left one

American Jews raised $450
million, while 300,000 Cana-
dians Jews raised $100 mill-
ion," Mr. Juris said. "We
still network within the
Detroit Jewish community,
but we rely more and more
on the Canadian counter-
parts of charity organiza-
tions. More and more, Wind-
sor resembles Detroit in
sophistication."
Windsor supports a large
university, parks and an
excellent public library and
school system, Mr. Juris
said. His daughter, Rachel,
attends a French Immersion
school and benefits by study-
ing both Canadian and
French cultures, he said.
"The U.S., with its strict
emphasis on separation of
church and state, doesn't
allow for the same level of
public education," he said.
"Our secretaries of state not
only support the accultura-
tion of ethnic groups, they
even provide grants for Jew-
ish schools."
Mike and Marla Schmitz,

both 26, have lived in Wind-
sor for two years. They say
they're as committed to
Windsor as they were to
their hometown of Toledo,
Ohio. Maybe even more.
Mrs. Schmitz, a speech
pathologist at Windsor
Western Hospital, makes
time for the young
sisterhood and adult edu-
cation committee of Shaar
Hashomayim. She also vol-
unteers on the advisory
committee of the Windsor
Jewish Community Centre,
and the United Jewish
Charities Women's Division.
Once a week, she bowls with
the B'nai B'rith men's
bowling team.
Her husband, a certified
public accountant with Ern-
st and Young in Detroit, is
treasurer of the Shaar, a
board member of the Centre
and executive vice president
of B'nai B'rith of Canada.
He's also the other half of his
bowling team.
"A la of Detroiters don't
know this," Mrs. Schmitz

Isaac Epshnteyn of the
Peretz Home
catches up on world
events with McLean's.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

47

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