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May 15, 1992 - Image 25

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-05-15

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

est pals. By Elizabeth Applebaum

Richard
Lobenthal




Richard Lobenthal, direc-
tor of the Anti-Defamation
League Michigan Region,
has three sets of best friends:
John and Sandra Shephard,
Robert Naftaly, and Karl
and Julie Kadow.
Mr. Lobenthal met Mr.
Shephard, a judge with the
Michigan Court of Appeals,
through mutual friends in
the early 1980s. The Loben-
thals and the Shephards
travel to Europe, rotate
eders at each other's homes,
and attend concerts and
plays together.
Mr. Lobenthal and Mr.
Naftaly, executive vice pres-
ident of Blue Cross of Mich-
igan, met in 1964 through
• I L activities.
"He's my oldest friend,"
Mr. Lobenthal says. He ad-
mires Mr. Naftaly's interest
in social issues; "that's
critical for me."
"I remember Bob was
olicited by the Capuchin
•Food Kitchen, and he was
looking at the list of names
of the staff and saw that no
Jews were involved," he
recalls. "He thought that
was a scandal."
So Mr. Naftaly himself
signed up, and today is an

active fund-raiser for the
soup kitchen.
Mr. Kadow is a Chaldean
whom Mr. Lobenthal met
more than 20 years ago. He
is the father of eight.
"We have the largest
cultural gaps to cross (of any
of my best friends)," Mr.
Lobenthal says. "But there ,
have never been any prob-
lems. It's been exciting to
see each other's understan-
ding of the world."
Mr. Lobenthal says he
finds one of the most critical
aspects of friendship is
common values.
"We might quibble about
strategy, but the issues and
values you hold dearest are
shared," he says. "Then you
begin to build assumptions,
and those assumptions lead
to trust."
He also seeks "someone I
respect intellectually" and
friends with whom he can
discuss personal subjects,
like children, "and in no way
feel at risk or vulnerable."
He loves a fun social life,
Mr. Lobenthal says. He also
wants a friend who knows
.how to keep private matters
private.
Something extraordinary
happens as a close friendship
develops, he says. "You
achieve a level of intimacy
that you don't have with
other relationships."

Judge John Shephard and Richard Lobenthal in Spain

right, and families

Zager, tar left, with Yolanda Tsdale, second from

No

Norma Zager

Comedienne Norma Zager
absolutely, positively could
not pick just one best friend.
She says she has three.
"I've known Judy Green-
berg since I was 10, though I
don't even remember that
far back," she says. "I
couldn't have made it
without her."
Ms. Greenberg has an un-
canny ability to "put every-
thing in perspective when
I'm completely scattered,"
Ms. Zager says. "She's
always there for me when I
need her."
Ms. Zager met Marsha
Barnett 23 years ago when
the two were sorority sisters

at Wayne State University.
"We became friends be-
cause we had common inter-
ests," Ms. Zager says. "Like
eating. Like the Rib Shack
and Baskin-Robbins. She
was a great diet partner."
Ms. Barnett "has been
very supportive of my ca-
reer," Ms. Zager adds.
"When my husband couldn't
make it to one of my shows,
Marsha was always there."
Her most recent best
friend — of 12 years — is
Yolanda Tisdale. They met
at a party.
"There was a bunch of
people in the living room,
and a whole different group
in the family room," Ms.
Zager recalls. "The people in
the living room were staun-

ch and quiet. But the people
in the family room — we
were a bunch of crazies.
Yolanda and I became
friends when we both fig-
ured out we were family-
room people."
Ms. Tisdale is her shopp-
ing and let's-go-to-the-
theater buddy, the kind of
friend who you can just sit
around and do nothing with,
Ms. Zager says.
"You've got to be able to
confide in friends and feel
comfortable with them," she
says.
"I'm lucky. My friends
have been very supportive.
They were all there for me
even though I was nuts in
the beginning."

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

25

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