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January 03, 1992 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-01-03

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

LETTERS

Southfield
Is Closer

It was interesting to read
about Andrea Steingold's
reasons for leaving Southfield
as stated in The Jewish News
article of Dec. 13, "Staying or
Moving?" In particular, she
said, "She wanted to be closer
to the Jewish community."
Surprise! That's exactly
why my husband and I mov-
ed our family to Southfield, so
we would be closer to the
Jewish community — the
Jewish bookstores, the kosher
bakery and kosher butcher
shops, Congregation Beth
Achim, the Hebrew school,
and Southfield Public
Schools.
We like it here. In fact, to
borrow a statement from Mrs.
Steingold, "Things are close."
Not just those places men-
tioned above, but also shopp-
ing malls and hospitals with
state-of-the-art facilities.
In addition, 1-696 allows
Southfield residents the ease
of rapidly moving anywhere
in the metropolitan area. Ci-
ty leaders chose the right
slogan when they said,
"Southfield — the center of it
all."
It was heartening to read
the positive comments concer-
ning Southfield made by Rab-
bi Irwin Groner of Congrega-
tion Shaarey Zedek and by
Mr. David Gad-Harf, ex-
ecutive director of the Jewish
Community Council. These
two well-known community
leaders are knowledgeable
and can carry the correct
message out to the entire
community quicker than
anyone else: that Southfield
is a great place to live.
Unfortunately, the choice of
photographs used for the ar-
ticle was quite disappointing.
The bleak photo of an ice-
coated street sign with a
dismal sky in the background
is definitely not a fair
representation of the bustling
Jewish community in the Ten
Mile-Greenfield area of
Southfield.
I also take exception to the
photo of the children pictured
on the cover. The skeptical
looks on their faces set the
tone for the remarks concern-
ing the changing demogra-
phics in the schools. Yet, the
Southfield Public Schools
demonstrate not only a very
high standard of education,
but encourage a broad-
minded view of the world and
emphasize a positive learning
environment.
To those of us who enjoy
Southfield for its ambiance
and its cosmopolitan at-
mosphere, it is tiresome to see
articles that suggest the city
is "at risk." Questioning

whether it is "too late or just
in time for the Jewish com-
munity of Southfield" is as
upsetting to Southfield
residents as receiving realtor
notices that state a certain
number of homes have been
sold in the area and if the
homeowner doesn't want to be
left behind, he should jump
on the bandwagon and put his
house on the market now.
The Jewish community in
and around West Bloomfield
would not like it at all if this
attention Southfield is cur-
rently receiving were to be
directed toward their corn-
munity. Yet, with the
migratory pattern of the
Jewish people in this
metropolitan area, this very
situation (i.e., the already in-
creasing presence of other
ethnic groups) will become a
reality within the next 10-15
years for them.
I hope the Jewish communi-
ty will put an end to this
needless leap-frogging that
has been our pattern for so
long. Let's make this the
decade that people stand firm
and say no more moving.
We like our homes. We like
our city. We're here to stay.
There is no reason why we
can't have two Jewish com-
munities in the metropolitan
area, one in the Southfield,
Oak Park, Huntington Woods
area and one in the West
Bloomfield, Farmington Hills
area.
This can be a reality star-
ting now and we will have
done so much good in so many
ways.

Andrea S. Gordon

Southfield

Southfield Series
Shows Racism

I have never written to a
newspaper before. I've never
felt the need to, but after
reading your article
"Southfield: At Risk?" I had
to. What moved me to write?
I guess it was the question
"Southfield: At Risk?" At risk
of what?
I ask, does one ethnic group
have a monopoly on an entire
city? As a black woman,
excuse me, an African-
American woman, that has
seen in my 31 years of living
many acts of injustice, I find
it appalling that such an ar-
ticle was even included in
your newspaper.
I have been a resident of
Southfield for over 12 years
and now I am a resident of
Oak Park. I like the fact that
my handsome African-
American son goes to school
with all kinds of children. I
like that; I want my child to
have a well-rounded
upbringing.

But in my years of living
out here, I have seen so much
bigotry and prejudice from
the Jewish people toward
other people it really opened
my mind and my eyes. It took
me awhile to understand that
people who had been perse-
cuted for years, people who
were also once slaves, people
who under Hitler's hands
were burned in gas chambers,
could turn right around and
persecute another group.
I think your article was sad
and the sadness comes from
the fact that you have forgot-
ten the long road that you
traveled.
Southfield at risk? Maybe
at risk of being a community
of love and peace.
In thinking about this, your
article was racist. I wonder
what would have been said if
Detroit, a city that is 73 per-
cent black, said, "Oh. We
want to keep it black." What
an uproar we would hear
today.

Brenda Pardon

Oak Park

Southfield Stats
Upside Down

Some 80 percent of
Southfield's Jewish residents
intend to stay in Southfield,
according to the Jewish Fed-
eration's 1989 demographic
study — a seemingly ringing
endorsement of the city's
future Jewish viability and
vitality. Yet on more than one
occasion, including the Dec.
20 article on Southfield as
one of five tales of integrated
cities, your newspaper con-

tinues to turn that demogra-
phic statistic on its head by
stating that 40 percent of
Southfield's Jewish popula-
tion is planning to move —
"many out of Southfield."
The "many" you cite is in
reality half of that 40 percent,
or 20 percent, leaving four out
of five Southfield Jews con-
tent to live in the metro area's
most Jewishly populous
suburb. Please correct this
misperception in future ar-
ticles and references to
Jewish Southfield.

Allan Gale

Southfield

Evangelism
And Chabad

In his attempt to build a
case for Jewish evangelism
towards non-Jews (Dec. 20);
Barry Mehler belittles the
outreach work of Chabad and
other Orthodox groups. Since
Mr. Mehler singles out
Chabad, I would like to res-
pond to his comments as one
who has been involved in
Chabad outreach for a
number of years.
Although I do challenge the
reliability of some of his
statistics, I consider it more
important to address the
broader issue of Jewish
outreach.
Mr. Mehler's contentions
are based on his misconcep-
tion of our outreach goals.
Chabad shlichim (emissaries
of the Lubavitcher Rebbe)
and, to the best of my
knowledge, other Orthodox
outreach workers as well, are

not out to make other Jews
"Lubavitchers" or "Or-
thodox."
The philosophy of Chabad
underscores the eternal bond
with God which is establish-
ed through the performance
of any mitzvah, be it tefillin,
Ibrah study, Shabbat candles,
or shalach manos.
Our job is to reveal to every
Jew the inherent divinity of
his or her soul which can be
illicited through the perfor-
mance of a mitzvah.
Anyone who can deny the
"mitzvah explosion" in our
midst is blind to reality. The
burgeoning number of kosher
consumers even in non-
Orthodox circles, the myriads
of sukkot that can be seen in
non-Orthodox neighborhoods,
shalach monos and shmura
matzah becoming household
words even in many assimi-
lated homes, and Torah study
groups springing up all over
the Jewish landscape attest
to this "mitzvah revival."
There is one God in heaven
who will judge the quality of
our mitzvot, but in terms of
quantity. I do venture to say
that there has never been a
time in recent history that so
many Jews have been doing
so many mitzvot. This is in no
small measure due to the
work of the Chabad shlichim
and others who have given of
themselves so selflessly for
the sake of the Jewish people.
The historic mission of the
Jewish people is to prepare
the world for Mashiach and
the Messianic Era, when all

Continued on Page 9

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

7

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