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September 25, 1992 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-09-25

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A Short List For New Year's



We tend to as-
sociate New
Year's resolu-
tions with the
January 1-type
secular New
Year, but there
are several reso-
lutions I'd like to put on the
table in time for Rosh

Some are too personal to
share with you here, like
calling my mother more
often and going to syn-
agogue more regularly and
keeping my dirty socks in
neater piles near my bed.
But there are other resolu-
tions that merit the widest
possible audience. Like my
commitment to spend more
time with family and friends
and fewer hours listening to,
watching, and worrying
about the Baltimore Orioles
next season. I know it's a
inishegas I have, this obses-
sion with a baseball team,
and that Cal Ripken Jr.
doesn't stay up late at night
worrying about whether I'll
perform my job OK the next
It's true, Cal doesn't even
think about whether I could
be more productive if I just
held my hands a little diff-
erently or sat up a little
straighter at my computer
I also know that I prob
ably could find a more pro-
ductive way to spend my
ing at home than hun-
ched over the radio, listen-
ing to the announcer explain
that the middle of the lineup
just isn't producing any
So I'll just store away my
O's cap and throw out my
black and orange Johnny
• Oates-adult-model dental
floss and stop scanning the
minor league box scores.
Well, maybe not just yet,
but definitely next season.
Unless, of course, the O's
have a great spring .. .
Another Rosh Hashanah
resolution is to share with
the world my plan to save
the American Jewish com-
munity —not spiritually but
at least financially. Every-
one knows how poorly the
Jewish organizations are
faring during this endless
recession, and I've got a way
that they can save millions
of dollars in the months
ahead. All they have to do is
stop' faxing me every press
release they write to justify
their existence.

It's not enough that they
all send these releases in the
mail, first class with an oc-
casional telegram, on why
they support loan guar-
antees for Israel and are
against Iraqi aggression.
Now they clog our fax
machine, and surely the fax
machines of scores of other
Jewish newspapers, with
these same releases. Think
of the money they could
save, not only on the paper
and the faxes themselves
and the mail and the tele-
grams, but on the public re-
lations staffs that write, edit

I resolve to share
with the world my
plan to save the
Jewish community,
at least financially.

and produce these
I don't want any credit for
this money-saving idea. All I
ask is that they stop sending

me all of those press
As long as I'm on a roll, I
resolve to ask rabbis
throughout the land to try
not to make up on Rosh
Hashanah and Yom Kippur
for all the sermons of theirs
we missed throughout the
I know it must be hard for
them to look out at a packed
congregation, finally, and
not berate us for not filling
the place each Shabbat and
holiday. Or to offer us their
insights on an hour's worth
of important topics.
But if they really want us
around more often, they'd be
better off talking to us as
fellow travelers on the spiri-
tual journey, sharing some
experiences and insights
rather than trying to prove
how knowledgeable they are
about every aspect of Jewish
As for you cantors, you're
probably off gargling
somewhere, but if you read
this, please keep in mind
that we humble parishioners
(you should excuse the ex-

Artwork from the Los Angeles Times by Barbara Cummings. Copyrogb to 1990. Barbara Curnrrungs. Distributed by Los Angeles

pression) would much rather
sing along with you during
services than hear you turn
the prayers into arias.
We know you have good
voices. That's why we hired
you. But don't show off your
vocal dexterity. Show us how
to participate and feel part of
the choir, not the
Finally, I resolve to try to
make this column more in-

Times SYneeele.

formative, entertaining and
thought-provoking in the
coming year. Your com-
ments —yes, even criticisms
— are appreciated. At least
it means you're reading.
(And in the age of Nintendo,
that means a lot.)
So as you sit down to write
your own Rosh Hashanah
resolutions, may I wish you
and yours a healthy and
happy new year. ❑

Day Schools: Dollars Vs.
Enrollment And Jewish Future


ewish day school edu-
cation in Detroit is at
a crossroads. The recent
teachers strike at Hillel Day
School only heightens and
amplifies my concerns.
As a parent of two Hillel
graduates, and supporter of
cultural and religious day
school education, I see the
future of Hillel and the other
day schools in Detroit as
viable institutions coming in-
to question.
America is the best and
worst place for American
Jews. We may worship as we
please, and where we please,
but the "great melting pot" is
accomplishing with an
astonishing 52 percent inter-
marriage rate, a diminution
of Jewish religion and
cultural identity.
While it is true that many
converts to Judaism truly im-
bibe the precepts. and
teachings of our faith, it is on-
ly all too common for Jewish
culture and religious prac-
tices to be diluted. Additional-
ly, many Jews do not identify
or weakly identify with our
culture and religion. They,
too, attenuate our cultural

For these reasons, any in-
stitution that can strengthen
the identity of American Jews
is crucial. I believe that day
school education is in large
measure a way to supplement
home and personal Jewish
Unfortunately, several fun-
damental problems exist that
make the viability of these
present institutions in
Detroit doubtful.
Previous editorials and
comments in The Jewish
News have addressed the
issues of monetary allocation.
However, the collective policy
of the Jewish community
regarding enrollment has not
been discussed.
Unlimited enrollment in
Hebrew day schools, the pre-
sent philosophy, cannot con-
tinue with the present alloca-
tion process. Money is not
unlimited, and the subsidiz-
ing of students on either a
part- or full-scholarship basis
must be controlled. At Hillel
each year, a larger and larger
percentage of parents are re-
questing tuition allowances.
Tuition allowances are ap-
proaching one-third of all
enrolled students there.
I assume the situation is
the same at the other day
schools, considering the pre-

sent economy, the inexorable
rise in the cost of living, and
inflation. It is unfair to have
the parents, through spiral-
ing tuition increases, and the
teachers, through a diminish-
ed pay scale, be held respon-
sible for these students.
School fund-raising ac-
tivities are inadequate to
meet the present needs of the
schools, and do not even ap-
proach the financial burdens
of the schools.
All parents have a financial
limit. As the tuition at day
schools increases, eventually
more and more families will
choose not to send their
children, or to withdraw them
from the curriculum. As a
result, two students are in
jeopardy — the subsidized stu-
dent and the regular tuition
student. Consequently, the
tuition must continue to rise.
This whole process is con-
tinued with further tuition
increases causing more need-
ed subsidies, in an ever-
increasing spiral. Ultimately,
the system falls in upon itself.
If you add families with
more than one child at day
school — the vast majority —
these problems are
geometrically compounded.
Rather than having an enor-
mous burden imposed

because of multiple tuition,
many families are opting for
no day school education for
any member of their family.

The Jewish community has
to have a policy regarding this
matter. If unlimited enroll-
ment is allowed to continue,
then Federation must come
forward with more funds and
assistance. The meager
amounts given to the Detroit
day schools cannot be allow-
ed to continue.
In addition, other Jewish
organizations must sponsor
students through subsidies
and grants. Perhaps syna-
gogues can sponsor students,
or groups can be set up to
supply aid to the willing and
To use Hillel Day School as
an example, the Federation's
annual contribution to the
operating budget of Hillel on-
ly barely exceeds the scholar-
ship needs of the approx-
imately 48 students who can
be defined as living at the
poverty level. Obviously, the
remaining students who re-
quire tuition assistance have
to be supported by the full tui-
tion paying parents and the
lower salary of the teachers.
Additionally, many new

Continued on page 10

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