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August 16, 1991 - Image 57

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-08-16

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

WEST
BLOOMFIELD
LANES
6800 Orchard Lake Road • West Bloomfield, Michigan

On-The-Job Training
In Being A Jew

GARY ROSENBLATT

Editor

A

new high-tech corn-
pany in Israel is seek-
ing to provide Soviet
Jewish employees with on-
the-job training in Judaism
as well as Israeli culture.
The two-year-old company,
Integrated Technology In-
corporated (ITI), is small,
employing five new immi-
grants at present, but hopes
to hire a dozen more in the
coming year.
Founded by two Ameri-
cans now living in Israel,
Roy Saslow and Alan Haber,
who have owned and
operated businesses of their
own previously in the

ITI employs five
new immigrants at
present.

United States, ITI is com-
mitted to easing the tran-
sition to Israeli society not
only socially, but in terms of
education as well.
According to Ed Abram-
son, who offers classes on
Jewish customs and holidays
to the newcomers, the com-
pany would like to see the
corporate learning program
expand to other companies
throughout Israel.
Mr: Abramson, an ordain-
ed rabbi who settled in Israel
in 1983, is the public rela-
tions officer of ITI and is
concerned about the nature
of the current Soviet aliyah.
"The problem is that this is
an aliyah without motiva-
tion," he said during a re-
cent interview in the United
States.
His, and the company's,
goal, he said, is to motivate
the new immigrants to ex-
plore their Jewish heritage,
either through courses
offered at ITI or at educa-
tional institutions in Israel.
At present, Mr. Abramson
said he conducts informal
classes with the employees
during their lunch hour, us-
ing a Jewish text but en-
couraging open-ended
discussions. To his knowl-
edge, he said, ITI is the only
Israeli company offering on-
site Jewish classes for new
immigrant employees.
What surprises him, he
acknowledged, is the com-
plete lack of Jewish knowl-
'edge among the Soviet
newcomers and "the very
open way they ask basic
questions." He added that
many Soviets have an an-
tagonism toward religion,

the product of a Communist
culture, but he has found an
openness among those he
has met toward exploring
their Jewish heritage.
"My job is simply to
motivate them," Mr.
Abramson said, "because
otherwise they may not even
consider learning more
about what it means to be a
Jew."
Mr. Abramson was in the
United States, along with
ITI founders Roy Saslow and
Alan Haber, to promote
their company, which spe-
cializes in a product called
CompuPhone, combining the
capacities of a computer
keyboard and a telephone to
save desk space and increase
office efficiency.
The product was greeted
enthusiastically at the PC-
Expo trade show in New
York and Comdex in Atlan-
ta, but finding American fi-
nancial support for a fledgl-
ing Israeli company is not
easily accomplished, Mr.
Abramson noted. He said
that despite various
U.S.-Israel business associa-
tions, there is little available
in the way of making con-
nections between small
Israeli companies and poten-
tial American investors.
Despite those problems,
though, he said ITI is
meeting with success in fin-
ding investment capital.
ITI's corporate head-
quarters are in Roseland,
New Jersey and its research
and development facility is
in Jerusalem, on the campus
of the Jerusalem College of
Technology. ❑

mml LOCAL NEWS h"

JHA Hosts
Issues Meeting

Jewish Home for Aged will
host community service
organization leaders at a
"Bagels and Brainstorming"
meeting 10 a.m. Aug. 19 at
the Maple-Drake Jewish
Community Center to discuss
a critical need for city-wide
community involvement in
the areas of programming for
our Jewish elderly.
Sharon Fleischman, chair-
person of the Community
Outreach Program, and co-
chairpersons Helen Cherrin
and Evelyn Levine have ask-
ed president, program vice
presidents and/or directors of
organizations to help resolve
current and future issues of
the elderly that confront us
all.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

57

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