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June 07, 1991 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-06-07

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JUNE 7, 1991 / 25 SIVAN 5751

Young Israel Prohibits
Woman From Presidency


Staff Writer


ea Luger could have
been the first woman to
be elected president of
her synagogue.
But no one will ever know
because the Young Israel of
West Bloomfield canceled its
Wednesday election.
In a ruling last week by
Rabbi Herbert Bomzer,
chairman of the Council of
Young Israel Rabbis
Halachic Commission, the
leadership of the Young
Israel of West Bloomfield
was informed that a woman
could not run for or hold the
office of synagogue presi-
The congregation, which
was founded almost two
years ago and meets in the
Sinai Goldin Center, was
faced with a dilemma. One
half of the synagogue

threatened to leave if Mrs.
Luger, who is now vice pres-
ident, ran for president. The
other half threatened to
leave if she didn't run.
In the end, the decision
was made for them by the
Council of Young Israel
Rabbis in New York.
"This was a halachic deci-
sion based purely on Torah
and talmudic sources,"
Rabbi Bomzer said. "The
Torah says, Som tasim
aleycha melech, Judges 17-
15, "You should elect
yourselves a king."
Maimonides, in Hilchot
Melachim, Laws of Kings,
ruled: Ein ma'amidim ishah
b'malchut, shene'emar
aleycha melech velo malcah,
"One does not elect a woman
for rulership, as it says, one
should elect a king — not a
Rabbi Bomzer said the
Rabbinical Council of
America posed the same

question many years ago to
his rosh yeshiva, Rabbi
Joseph B. Soleveitchik,
distinguished professor of
Torah and Jewish
philosophy at the Rabbi
Isaac Elchanan Theological
Seminary of Yeshiva Univer-
"The Rav said then that a
woman cannot be president
of a synagogue," Rabbi
Bomzer said. "The office of a
synagogue president is con-
sidered a religious post. In
this regard, we follow the
Rambam, not to mention my
rebbe who already paskined,
or ruled, on this area of
Rabbi Ephraim Sturm, ex-
ecutive vice president of the
National Council of Young
Israel, who was in Detroit
this week to attend a joint
Young Israel dinner, said he
had received the West

Continued on Page 20

ADL Foundation Honors
Righteous Gentiles


Assistant Editor


Education, not theology, leads
Jewish students to Catholic schools.

Page 24


`Back To Basics'

in Bloomfield school election


JVS Marking
50th Anniversary

braham Kashdan was
a 17-year-old Jew in
Nazi-occupied Poland.
Helen Chorazyczewski was
a Catholic who lived next
On an afternoon in 1942
Abraham knocked on Mrs.
Chorazyczewski's door and
begged for help. "They've
killed my parents," he cried.
"I have no one left. Will you
be my family?"
It took Mrs. Chorazyczewski
no time to make up her mind.
Despite the fact that she was
endangering her life, the life
of her husband and the life of
her teen-age son, Cezary, Mrs.
Chorazyczewski let Abraham
into her home. She would look
after him for years, until
Abraham escaped to join the
Her decision to help her
neighbor, Mrs. Chorazyc-
zewski would later say, was
nothing special. It was simp-
ly "the Christian thing to do."
Taday, Mrs. Chorazyczewski

lives in Hamtramck. Thgether
with Peter and Adriana Thr-
maat of Grand Rapids, who
during the war opened their
Dutch home to Jews and
Allied pilots, Mrs. Chorazyc-
zewski was honored this week
with the "Courage to Care"
award. Presented by the Anti-
Defamation League's Jewish
Foundation for Christian
Rescuers, the award is given
to Righteous Gentiles who
risked their lives to save Jews
during the Holocaust.

Guest speaker Abraham
Foxman, national director of
the ADL, said the Righteous
Gentiles had "rescued the
conscience and reputation of
mankind." They proved that
"even in that hell called the
Holocaust there was good;
there was heroism; there
was courage; there was love
and compassion, and there
was understanding."

The Chorazyczewskis' and
the Termaats' deeds show,
Mr. Foxman said, "that if
people have the courage to
care, they can change the

Peter Termaat was born in
1914 in Holland. At 18, he
joined an anti-Nazi group.
He met his future wife,
Adriana, in 1936 and mar-
ried her three years later.
The day the Nazis invaded
the Netherlands, the Ter-
maats opened their home to
a family of six refugees.
Later, both Jews and Allied
pilots, shot down by the
Nazis, would find shelter in
their house.
Throughout the war, the
Termaats stole ration cards
to feed refugees and helped
Jews out of the country.
Once while helping a Ger-
man-Jewish couple escape
via train, the Termaats
found themselves riding in
the same compartment with
a Nazi officer.
The Termaats, along with
their four children, settled in
1952 in Grand Rapids.
After receiving his award,
Mr. Termaat told those in
the audience they must con-
tinually warn of the dangers
of totalitarianism. He ad-
dressed audience members
as "brothers and sisters"
Continued on Page 22

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