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May 01, 1992 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-05-01

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

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Celebrating 50 years of growth with the Detroit Jewish Community

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MAY 1, 1992 / 28 NISAN 5752

JPAC Takes On
Issues Of State


Staff Writer


What's it like to live in Detroit's
largest enclave of Soviet Jews?

Page 22

group of activists this
month is launching a
fund-raising drive to
gain Jewish political power
in Michigan.
A program scheduled for
May 20 will inform the
community about a new bi-
partisan political action
committee called JPAC, an
acronym for Jewish Agency
Political Action Committee.
"We are giving money to
assure that the Jewish
community gets its fair
share," said JPAC treasurer
Robert Naftaly. "The PAC is
designed to bring issues of
Jewish community concern
to state legislators."
To date, JPAC, which
registered with the state last
May, has raised about
$4,000 for contributions to
state-level political cam-
paigns, according to records
from the State Bureau of
The PAC goal is to give
between $5,000 and $15,000
annually for distribution to
Republicans and Democrats
running for state offices, or-
ganizers said.
Although the Federation is
not connected to JPAC (no
monies from the Allied Jew-
ish Campaign will go to the
PAC), the idea stems from
the lobbying activities
mounted by Federation and
its agencies.
The PAC formed at the
urging of Jewish Federation
lobbyist Dennis Muchmore,

who discussed the idea with
some local activists, in-
cluding Mr. Naftaly, who
divides most of his volunteer
efforts between the Dem-
ocratic Party and the Jewish
Bloomfield Hills attorney
Nathan Upfal, who also
serves on various Jewish
community boards, is the
committee's designated
record keeper. He and Mr.
Naftaly are authorized to
sign checks.
The Jewish community
last year hired Mr.
Muchmore, a Lansing-based

Federation is not
connected to
JPAC, but the
idea stems from
its lobbying.

lobbyist, to help par-
ticipating agencies secure
state funding. JPAC, organ-
izers said, provides addi-
tional clout.
For many years, the Jew-
ish community's political at-
tention has gone toward the
federal government, which
provides funding for Israel.
In fact, Detroit's Jewish
Democrats run another
PAC, the Motor City Polit-
ical Action Committee.
MOPAC supports pro-Israel
Democratic U.S. House and
Senate candidates through-
out the country. (MOPAC con-
tributes to campaigns based
on other factors, including a

Continued on Page 20

Gay-Lesbian Conference To Be Here In June


Assistant Editor


esbian and gay Jews
from throughout the
Midwest are expected
at this summer's Regional
Conference of Gay and Les-
bian Jews, the first such
convention to be held in
"Integrate and Celebrate,"
a three-day conference
beginning June 5 in
_Rochester, is being planned
Ind hosted by Simcha, the
ocal gay/lesbian Jewish

group. The World Congress
of Gay and Lesbian Jews is
serving as cosponsor.
"The purpose of the con-
ference is to create a support
network and build friend-
ships," said Dan, a member
of Simcha and conference co-
"But for me, I think the
most profound thing is that
it gives a feeling of commun-
ity and of belonging, of in-
tense belonging," he said.
"All of us as human beings
want to belong, but growing
up I never felt that. (As a
Jewish gay or lesbian),

you're not really part of that
youth organization or syn-
agogue youth group; you just
know you're different.
"At the conference, you're
not different. And it's a good
feeling to say, 'I'm with peo-
ple like me.' "
The event will include
workshops on the different
branches of Judaism and
their approach to homosex-
uality, psychological con-
cerns such as identity and
shame, and health issues.
Workshops also will ad-
dress family matters, in-
cluding gay and lesbian

parents, and discussing sex-
ual identity with one's fami-
ly. Jewish members of P-
FLAG, Parents and Friends
of Lesbians and Gays, will
speak at some of the
Other guests will include
Evelyn Torton Beck, author
of Nice Jewish Girls: A Les-
bian Anthology and a pro-
fessor of Jewish and wo-
men's studies at the Univer-
sity ,c) f Maryland-College
Park; singer Eliot Pilshaw;
East Lansing resident Lev
Raphael, author of Dancing
on Tisha B'Av; and Richard

Lobenthal of the Michigan
Region Anti-Defamation
Simcha also has planned
Friday night services and a
Havdalah service for the
The World Congress of
Gay and Lesbian Jews, with
chapters in 25 states and
Canada, England, France,
Israel and the Netherlands,
hosts major conferences
every other year. In between
such meetings, regional con-
ferences are held. Dan said

Continued on Page 20

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