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March 27, 1992 - Image 145

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-03-27

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

THE JEWISH NEWS COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE

194 2-19 92

Rabbi Leo
Franklin, left, and
Rabbi Sherwin
Wine.

Yeshiva Beth Yehudah, Young
Israel and the Jewish Corn-
munity Council.
He also was an ardent
Zionist and held numerous
national and local posts
reflecting that interest. Dur-
ing the 1930s, he served as
president of the World
Mizrachi Organization, or
religious Zionists, and en-
couraged Zionist support
among Jews throughout
Detroit.

Jewish Joint Distribution
Committee, the Hebrew Im-
migrant Aid Society, the
Hebrew University of
Jerusalem, the Jewish Theo-
logical Seminary, the Israel
Tennis Centers Association,
the Detroit Round Table of
Christians and Jews, and Bar-
Ilan University, among
others.

to local causes even amid the
excitement and furor that
came with the founding of the
State of Israel. When others
around him suggested alter-
ing the budget to send more
to Israel, Mr. Sobeloff voiced
his famous call: Don't change
percentages, raise more
money.
A longtime supporter of the
Technion, Mr. Sobeloff also

Isidore Sobeloff was the
man many say defined the

founded the Resettlement

At union meetings, Isaac
Litwak
for
what he believed were
eager pledges with the
call, "I can't hear you,
illimpo ,brother.'*

David Hermelin, a promi-
nent local businessman, is ac-
tive in numerous Jewish and
civic organizations, both
locally and worldwide.
He has served as interna-
tional campaign chairman of
the State of Israel Bonds,
chairman of Operation In-
dependence, national vice
chairman of the United
Jewish Appeal executive com-
mittee, vice president of the
World ORT Union, president
of the Jewish Home for Aged
in Detroit and vice president
of the local Federation.
He also has been active as
a member of the board of
directors for the American

nature of Detroit's Jewish
Federation. Executive direc-
tor of the Federation for 30
years, Mr. Sobeloff accepted
the position in 1937. The first
question he was asked upon
his arrival: "Do you speak
Yiddish?"
Mr. Sobeloff supported the
idea of the Federation
representing all sectors of the
Jewish community and
wanted it to be the central
arm of Detroit Jewry. A fam-
ed fund-raiser, he worked to
change the image of the
Federation from a charity to
a social service organization.
He believed strongly in see-
ing that funds were directed

From the top:
Isaac Litwak,
Rabbi Morris
Adler and Joyce
Keller.

Service with Fred Butzel.
Isaac Litwak was a labor
leader during the 1930s, '40s
and '50s whose actions af-
fected thousands of Jewish
workers.
Mr. Litwak, whom author
Sidney Bolkosky described as
"feisty and intransigent,"
first organized the Detroit
Laundry and Linen Drivers
Association in 1934. The
laundry business was a
powerhouse 50 years ago, and
Litwak's group gained addi-
tional strength when, at his
urging, it joined Teamsters
Union Local 285.
The workers became in-
volved in numerous, often
violent, strikes, at which Mr.
Litwak himself was often at-
tacked. Once beaten bloody,
Mr. Litwak "washed the blood
off and went back to the
picket lines," Mr. Bolkosky re-
counts in Harmony and
Dissonance.
A friend of Teamsters head
Jimmy Hoffa, Mr. Litwak
secured pay raises for workers
under his wing, including a
1937 raise from $18 to $95
weekly for • drivers.
Mr. Litwak brought union
support — both among Jewish
and gentile workers — to
Jewish causes, including
Israel and the Federation. At
union meetings, he made ap-
peals for funds, answering
what he believed were
meager pledges with the call,
"I can't hear you, brother." ❑

MARCH

27, 1992

15

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