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April 10, 1992 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-04-10

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

DETROIT

Jewish History Groups
Seek Cemetery Sleuths

ALAN HITSKY

Associate Editor

T

aking inventory is a
massive job.
Recording Jewish
graves throughout Michigan
and Windsor will be an even
bigger one.
Three Detroit area
historical groups are seeking
volunteers to record in-
dividual Jewish burial sites
throughout the state and
neighboring Windsor. The
groups expect the project
will lead to a treasure of
Jewish historical records.
The Jewish Historical
Society of Michigan, the
Jewish Genealogical Society
of Michigan and the Jewish
Community Archives of the
Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit are
sponsoring the project. The
three groups want to record
the name, date of birth, date
of death and grave location
of every Jew buried in Mich-
igan and Windsor, Ontario.
Through this information,
say spokesmen for the

organizations, other records
are obtainable that shed
light on Jewish history in
this area.
The groups will be asking
volunteers to:
• Obtain copies of
cemetery records that show
Jewish graves or to walk
through . cemeteries and
record Jewish graves. Vol-
unteers will be needed
throughout the state. For in-
fo r ma tion, call Tillie
Brandwine, 646-8222.
• Send information on all
pre-1930 Jewish burials to
the FGH Cemetery Project,
c/o Kaufman Chapel, 18325
W. Nine Mile, Southfield
48075.
The groups plan to compile
the information in a book, on
computer and on microfiche.
The FGH (Federation Ge-
nealogical Historical - after
the three agencies)
Cemetery Project began
taking shape a year ago
when Mrs. Brandwine
sought information for a
friend at the Detroit Public
Library's Burton Historical
Collection. She found no

Sharon Alterman, Pam Gordon and Tillie Brandwine check cemetery
records.
At the same time, Pam
complete records of Jewish
Gordon, now president of the
burials.
Jewish Genealogical Socie-
She checked - with several
ty, had been conducting a
synagogues about their
hunt for relatives' graves at
cemeteries and found their
the Beth Olam (Smith
records in various stages of
Street) Cemetery now sur-
completeness.
rounded by General Motor's
She showed some of her
Poletown assembly plant.
records to Sharon Alterman,
Over a six-year period, Mrs.
who is organizing the Jewish
Gordon has used waxed-
Community Archives for
paper rubbings and shaving
Federation, and Mrs. Alter-
cream to bring out faded let-
man was startled to find her
tering on grave markers, as
great-grandfather's name at
well as photographs and a
the top of Mrs. Brandwine's
video camera to identify the
first list.

Retirees Institute
Celebrates Success

Chutzpah's Dershowitz
Coming To Detroit

KIMBERLY LIFTON

Staff Writer

S

ome day, Alan Der-
showitz may stop
preaching to the Jew-
ish community.
But he won't simmer down
until the leaders of major
Jewish organizations quit
speaking on behalf of the en-
tire Jewish community.
"It is time to put an end to
elitist Jewish leadership,"
said Mr. Dershowitz, a Har-
vard law professor, one of
the nation's leading
defenders of civil liberties
and author of the best-sell-
ing novel, Chutzpah.
"There are too many out-
of-touch leaders who are
more in touch with the
power in Washington than
with grass-roots Jewish at-
titudes," said Mr. Der-
showitz, who will bring his
message to the Detroit Jew-
ish community on Sunday at
Temple Israel. "We need
more democracy within the
Jewish community. We need
more polls. It is time for the
Jewish community to be
more assertive."
In his book, Mr. Der-
showitz charges that Jews

14

FRIDAY, APRIL 10, 1992

overlook their issues and
lack assertiveness in show-
ing support., In a phone
interview from his Boston of-
fice, he cited Israel loan
guarantees as an example of
Jewish community neglect.
The Bush administration's
opposition to $10 billion in
loan guarantees for Israel to
resettle Soviet Jews is
wrong, he said.
When he speaks next week
before the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee at
its annual meeting in Wash-
ington, Mr. Dershowitz in-
tends to stress the impor-
tance of continuing the fight
for the guarantees.
No organizations seek in-
put from membership, Mr.
Dershowitz said.
"They tell us what we
ought to think," he said.
"That is the big issue. The
days of Mordechai and
Esther are gone forever. We
don't send a beautiful
woman or influential rich
man to persuade a king."
Mr. Dershowitz will
deliver two speeches during
his Detroit visit. At 3 p.m.
Sunday, he will discuss the
U.S. Supreme Court of the
1990s at a patron program,
and at 5:30 p.m., he will pre-

resting places of eight
relatives.
When the national Jewish
Genealogical Society pro-
posed this year to make Jew-
ish grave registrations an
international project, the
three women began pooling
resources.
Mrs. Brandwine has been
inquiring about Jewish
burials at the Franklin
village cemetery. The
original charter banned
black and Jewish burials in
the cemetery. Only in recent
years have a few Jews been
buried there, she said.
"A worker said the
cemetery still does not have
the equipment to complete
Jewish burials within 24
hours of death," Mrs.
Brandwine said. While it is
customary for Jews to be
buried quickly, there is no
religious law that says
burial must take place
within 24 hours.
Mrs. Gordon will continue
her personal hunt this
weekend at Beth Olam.
Since the construction of the
Poletown plant on the Ham-
tramck-Detroit border, the
cemetery is open only twice
a year, on the Sundays
preceding Rosh Hashanah
and Passover. ❑

KIMBERLY LIFTON

Staff Writer

I

Alan Dershowitz:
Jews must be assertive.

sent "Daring To Be Jewish In
America" in a sold-out public
presentation. ❑

Council Program
Aids Minsk

The Soviet Jewry Commit-
tee of the Jewish Community
Council will hold a program
to let the Metro Detroit
Jewish community get direct-
ly involved in rebuilding the
foundation of Jewish life in
Detroit's sister city, Minsk.
"Buy a Brick," fashioned
after the Jewish National
Fund program whereby
Americans can buy a sym-
bolic tree to be planted in
Israel, enables members of
the Jewish community to buy
a symbolic brick for $2.

rving Ritter joined the
Institute For Retired Pro-
fessionals as a volunteer.
Today, he serves on the
staff as assistant director.
After all, Mr. Ritter,
formerly the director of
training for Detroit-based
Market Opinion Research,
didn't really want to retire.
So he figured he would work
with retirees who needed to
remain active.
"This is the greatest
thing," Mr. Ritter says. "It
is self- fulfilling."
On Sunday, IRP, now in its
sixth year under the
auspices of the Jewish
Community Center, will
host an annual membership
blitz at 2:30 p.m. at the
Jimmy Prentis Morris JCC
in Oak Park.
At the blitz, a tea party,
IRP members will provide
information on their diver-
sified peer learning groups
and other programs. IRP,
with 250 members, is open to
retirees ages 55 and up.
"We need to feel produc-
tive," says Ethel Silberg, a
retired school teacher and
IRP board member. "People

don't always know what to
do when they stop working.
With IRP, they have found a
home."
Mrs. Silberg is a facilitator
for the humanities group, in
which members meet every
other week. The focus is cul-
ture, and the members
discuss books, go to plays,
concerts and art museums.
Each of the 26 peer groups
is autonomous, and each is
planned differently. Some
meet weekly.
President Alan Kandel is
co-leader for the American
Jewish Relationship group.
His group reads newspapers,
and discusses and assesses
opinions on such subjects as
the U.S. loan guarantees for
Israel.
Mr. Kandel, formerly
assistant director for the
Jewish Federation, was a
charter IRP member. He
says the groups are "peer
learning at its best."
Adds Mrs. Silberg, "What
we do that makes us unique
is that we learn from each
other."
Mrs. Silberg says IRP's
success is based on a simple
formula: personal contact
and follow up.
For more information on
IRP, call 967-4030. ❑

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