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November 29, 1991 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-11-29

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

DETROIT

• • • CO • • •

Local Families Donate
Panels For AIDS Quilt

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AMY J. MEHLER

Staff Writer

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16

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1991

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H

arvey Berkowitz loved
being a waiter, travel-
ing, walking in sun-
shine, pulling coins from his
nieces' ears.
Mark Silverman made
films, Raising Arizona,

Miller's Crossing, Blood
Simple.
That's how their families
remember them. That's how
they'd like the public to re-
member them. This weekend
they can, as their families
donate two new panels to the
Names Project AIDS
Memorial Quilt.
The quilt, brought to
Detroit by the Michigan
Jewish AIDS Coalition
(MJAC), will be displayed
Dec. 1, World's AIDS Day, at
the Jewish Community
Center in West Bloomfield.
It remains on display
through Dec. 14.
"We heard the quilt was
coming to Detroit, and we
wanted to make something
lasting to honor my
brother's memory," said
Susan Efros, Harvey
Berkowitz's sister.
"When my brother was di-
agnosed HIV-positive six
years ago, it wasn't accep-
table to talk about it," said
Pola Friedman, Mark
Silverman's sister. "Today,
things are beginning to
change."
Acquired Immune Defi-
ciency Syndrome is a failure
of the immune system to
ward off infectious diseases.
As of Nov. 1, a total of 2,533
cases of AIDS have been re-
ported in Michigan. Of those
patients, 1,606 have died.
As of Oct. 1, there has been
a total of 195,718 cases of
AIDS reported in the United
States. Of those, 126,159
have died.
"The Jewish community
has been touched by AIDS
too," said Susie Leemaster,
chairman of MJAC. "The
quilt has at least eight
panels dedicated in memory
of Jewish victims of AIDS."
Susan and David Efros
learned Mr. Berkowitz was
HIV-positive five years ago.
In May, Mr. Berkowitz, liv-
ing in Los Angeles, came
down with toxoplasmosis, a
fungus of the brain causing
seizures. He died in
September. He was 26.
His niece, Michelle, 15,
has written a ,poem and his
family has made panels
depicting things he loved
best.

"Harvey came back to
Detroit when he got sick,"
Mr. Efros said. "He was with
his family and we all took
turns caring for him. The
Jewish community has a lot
of work ahead of itself as far
as accepting people with
AIDS. Having the quilt at
the JCC will hopefully open
a lot of eyes."
The quilt, made up of
14,000 panels, covers the

TWo local families
donated two
panels to the
quilt, which will
be on display at
the JCC from Dec.
1 through Dec. 14.

length and width of 5.6 foot-
ball fields. A portion of it is
coming to Detroit.
Mrs. Friedman's brother
died of AIDS in 1989. She
gave him his first movie
camera when he was a boy.
"Mark was gay. He was
also creative, capable and
intense," Mrs. Friedman
said. "Since the beginning,
I've been open about this
disease and never hid from
it. That's how the Jewish
community needs to feel to-
day."

Events Planned
For AIDS Quilt

Several activities are plann-
ed in conjunction with the
display. An opening ceremony
will take place at 2 p.m. on
Dec. 1 at the JCC, which will
include a memorial service,
reading of names in the quilt
and the official unfurling of a
64-piece portion of the quilt.
Following the ceremony, Com-
mon Threads a documentary
about the quilt which won an
Oscar in 1990 for best
documentary, will be shown.
On Dec. 8, a two-hour pro-
gram will be held at the
Agency for Jewish Educa-
tion/United Hebrew Schools
building on 12 Mile Road in
Southfield. High school and
middle school students will
participate in a panel discus-
sion about AIDS facts, com-
munity response and Jewish
values pertaining to re-
sponses to AIDS. The stu-
dents will view a short film
about AIDS, and students
from Jewish Parents Institute
will perform a short play.
The closing ceremony will
take place 5 p.m. on Dec. 14.

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