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March 19, 1993 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-03-19

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

Barry Eisenberg: Akiva's new exec.

that for well over 20
years his life has been
"my family, my job and
Akiva." Now it's his fami-
ly and Akiva.
For Mr. Eisenberg,
Akiva is a family affair.
His wife, Andrea, has
served as chairman of the
school's education com-
mittee and PTA. His
daughter, Abby, an Akiva
graduate, is a Stern
College student. His
younger daughter, Marcy,
is an Akiva 10th-grader.
Mr. Eisenberg's broth-
er, Sandy, an Akiva vice
president, has had two
children graduate from
the school: Rabbi Michael
Eisenberg and a daugh-
ter, Lynn. Sandy Eisen-
berg's granddaughter,
Rebecca, is in the school's
kindergarten. Mr. Eisen-
berg's other brother,
Dennis, is a former Akiva
executive director who
now heads the Yeshiva of
Flatbush, N.Y.
"My heart has been
here this year during the
search," Mr. Eisenberg
said. "My immediate job
was to try to reduce the
school's budget deficit,
and in working toward
that goal and others, I
was overwhelmed by the
number of things that
needed to get done."
Mr. Eisenberg's role as
executive director will dif-
fer from his predecessor's.
While Rabbi Volk worked
almost exclusively as a
fund-raiser, Mr. Eisen-
berg will raise funds and
also direct the school's
day-to-day operations, be
it physical plant repairs
or negotiating teacher
salaries.
He also said a priority

will be to bolster the
school's endowment
funds. Akiva, he added,
has not missed a teacher
payroll now for several
years. But finances are a
never-ending concern.
The school did face bank-
ruptcy in 1981 and more
recent financial obstacles.
Mr. Eisenberg hopes
Jewish federations na-
tionwide will re-define
their allocation priorities,
putting education even
higher on the list for
funds. Akiva's tuition is
58 percent of its $1.5 mil-
lion budget. This year the
school awarded $325,000
in scholarships and
received a $197,000 allo-
cation from the Jewish
Federation of Metropoli-
tan Detroit.
"Then there's the issue
of teachers,". Mr. Eisen-
berg said. "We have to get
the best teachers we can,
and to do so we need to
pay good salaries. We
have to be able to com-
pete with other private
schools. We. shouldn't
have to settle for second-
best."
Akiva, he added, wants
to provide many of the
same course offerings and
services as other schools.
Short-term goals include
a school guidance coun-
selor and a school psy-
chologist.
"We need to be able to
offer such services, espe-

cially if we're going to be

saying, 'Send your chil-
dren here.' We have to
offer what other schools
have. We're open to chil-
dren from Orthodox,
Conservative and Reform
families. Our high school
is the community high
school."
Mr. Eisenberg is a life-
time Detroit area resi-
dent. His father, Meyer,
was a founder of Young
Israel in Detroit and built
the Young Israel of
Greenfield building.
"I guess it hasn't hit me
that I'm really at work
yet," Mr. Eisenberg said.
"I'm doing something I
love doing, and more
importantly, that I really
believe in. Centrist
Orthodoxy and love of
Israel are part of my life.
"But what I really like
is to keep my office door
here open because I like
to see and hear the kids.
And for me it's a thrill
because I feel this is my
contribution to my com-
munity and to my people.
Plus, this is better than
having to break in a new
person, teach them about
the community and
Detroit.
"I know this area; I
know the community. I
feel I'm lucky to have this
job. The growth and sur-
vival of the school has
always been important to
me." ❑

Survivor's Story
Haunts The YAD

RUTH LITTMANN STAFF WRITER

N

early 200 young
adults sat silently as
Alex Ehrmann re-
counted his life in
Europe during the Holo-
caust.
In a dark auditorium at
the Maple-Drake Jewish
Community Center, audi-
ence members heard the
67-year-old survivor de-
scribe Hungary during the
late 1930s, where child-
hood friends began calling
him "dirty Jew."
A few years later he saw
a Gestapo agent send his
father to the gas chamber
at Auschwitz.
For some young adults,
Mr. Ehrmann's story
•seerhed ominously parallel
to current events in
Europe.

"I ask myself a question
today," Mr. Ehrmann
"Are we going to see a repe-
tition of what went on? I'm
afraid I have no answer. I
leave it up to you."
The Cultural Awareness
Committee of Federation's
Young Adult Division host-
ed the activity March 9.
Mr. Ehrmann's speech fol-
lowed an address by
Michigan State University
Professor Kenneth Walt-
zer, who spoke on the
upsurge of tribalism and
nationalism throughout
Europe and the Commen-
wealth of Independent
States.
"Anti-Semitism is not
limited to Europe, but

SURVIVOR'S STORY page 16

50 YEARS AGO...

Algerian Jews'
Status Changed

SY MANELLO SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

en. Henri Giraud,
French High Com-
missioner of North
Africa, supposedly
issued an ordinance dis-
pensing with laws of
racial discrimination.
However, instead of
Jews, Frenchmen and
Arabs being on an equal

G

plane, Jews have been
lowered to the position of
"subjects." Jews and
Arabs could apply for
French citizenship but
there was no guarantee
that it would be granted.
Observers felt that
Algerian Jews had been
tricked.
One item that now
seems to foreshadow
today's events came from
the London Times. It
indicated that the Arab
population of Palestine
would probably take
another 20 years to reach
a point of maturity
where it could take care
of its own destiny; the
article stressed the fact
"Jews have brought pros-
perity to Palestine,
enabling Arabs to enjoy
lavish government ser-
vices."
The plight of refugees

was, as ever, in the fore-
front of the news. The
Bolivian. government
instructed its consulates
in Europe to grant immi-
gration visas to 100 chil-

dren. Of the more than
200;000 Rumanian Jews
who had been deported to
barren areas of the
Ukraine, only about
75,000 still were alive;
most were mortally ill
due to starvation and
lack of medical care. The
British government indi-
cated that it did not
intend to admit into
Palestine more than the
30,000 Jews entitled to
enter under terms of the
White Paper.
The mills of change do
sometimes grind slowly.
Twenty months after
President Roosevelt
ordered the industry of
the nation to employ all
groups who could be of
service in the war effort,
the government was con-
sidering a ban on ques-
tions dealing with race
and religion in applica-

tions for war plant
employment.
One focus of the com-
munity at this time was
on Purim. A page was
devoted to an article on
the meaning of Purim,
Purim facts and fancies
and an editorial titled
"Our Last Purim" by
Judge Levinthal. He
said in part, " When
Hitler is gone we shall
celebrate another Purim
in commemoration of his
defeat, but let it be our
last such festival, for we
shall no longer be
defenseless, homeless
people..." In the spirit of
the holiday, a picture
captured the varied cos-

tumes of children at the
party at Temple Israel.
Thinking ahead to the
holiday yet to come, the
National Jewish Welfare
Board was making
attempts to supply
kosher food for Passover
for members of the
armed forces.
Servicemen were asked
to contact the nearest
Jewish chaplain or JWB
representative to make
arrangements. Locally,
the Detroit Moeis Chitim
Committee, under the
chairmanship of Charles
A. Smith, began ar-
rangements to collect
funds.
As we near the end of
our 50th anniversary
year reports, this issue,
50 years ago, celebrated
the first anniversary of
The Jewish News.

,

Renewing our pledge to
serve the Jewish commu-
nity, the editor expres-
sed his gratitude for
community support and
invited continued coop-
eration of the entire
community.
As the community
expanded, so did local
organizations. William
Hordes, president of the
Jewish National Fund of
Detroit, announced that
JNF had acquired its
own offices on Dexter
and Burlingame and was
going to increase efforts
to redeem land in
Palestine. The semi-
annual collection of the
blue and white boxes
was planned. ❑

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