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June 18, 1993 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-06-18

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

UHS Educator Retires
After 47 Years

LESLEY PEARL STAFF WRITER

Bea Kreichman:
With UHS 47 years.

B

Cohen branch for six years.
(She worked in both the
public and UHS schools
briefly before choosing
Jewish education.)
In 1952, a son was born.
Mrs. Kriechman consid-
ered the event the end of
her teaching career. But
six months later she was
approached to teach at the
Ahavas Achim branch of
UHS at Seven Mile Road
and Schafer. She accepted
it and remained there
until 1955.
A move to Oak Park
that same year could have
made teaching at the new
Beth Aaron branch at
Curtis and Wyoming diffi-
cult. But UHS sent a taxi
five days a week to the
Kriechman household so
Bea could enlighten area
children in Hebrew, prayer
and history.
Around this time UHS
made a departure from its
established curriculum. In
attempts to "change with
the times," UHS altered
its schedule from 1% hours
of classes five days a week,
to two hours of learning
three days a week.

ea Kriechman never
planned to make a
career of Jewish
education.
Yet 47 years after begin-
ning her first job in
Detroit as a teacher at the
Rose Sittig Cohen branch
of United Hebrew Schools
(UHS), Mrs. Kriechman is
only now calling it quits.
Hardly unappreciated,
Mrs. Kriechman has been
honored with luncheons,
farewell letters and a
Jewish Federation
"Parents still want
Schochet Award for excel-
lence in education.
a quality
Following World War II,
education for their
Mrs. Kriechman moved to
Memphis with her hus-
children."
band and his family. Bert
and Bea Kriechman relo-
Shortly after the modifi-
cated to Detroit shortly
cation, in 1962, Mrs.
after — Bea with a mes-
Kriechman moved to the
sage from Memphis for
Beth Achim branch in
then-UHS Superintendent
Southfield. She taught
Bernard Isaacs.
there for 16 years.
"I was supposed to bring
The year 1978 brought a
him (Mr. Isaacs) greetings
transfer and promotion to
from the Conservative
assistant principal at the
rabbi in Memphis," Mrs.
Adat Shalom branch. In
Kreichman said. "Mr.
1980, Mrs. Kriechman was
Isaacs was excited to meet
named principal at Adat
me — he offered me a job.
Shalom.
But I had already accepted
"I was fortunate. All
a position in the public
along I had been offered
schools.
positions in the public
"So he asked me to help,
schools. But some magnet
to substitute. My husband
drew me to Hebrew
says it's the longest sub
schools," Mrs. Kriechman
job ever."
said. "It (the attraction)
Mrs. Kriechman re-
certainly wasn't the
mained at the Rose Sittig
salary. I really enjoyed

teaching Jewish students."
A lot has changed in
Jewish education in 47
years. One aspect, Mrs.
Kriechman said, has not
altered: "Parents still
want a quality Jewish edu-
cation for their children."
When UHS changed its
teaching schedule, some
parents were displeased.
An accelerated program
was added on Sundays.
Students could attend for
an additional two hours
after scheduled dismissal.
In 1978, two students
entered the accelerated
program at the Adat
Shalom branch. Seventy-
five students were enrolled
in the program this year.
Some lay leaders and
educators believed this
still wasn't enough — that
the UHS focus had been
lost.
In 1992, a Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan
Detroit task force called
for the closing of UHS and
making elementary educa-
tion the responsibility of
the synagogues. Only a
handful of congregations
maintained UHS schools;
most had developed their
own curriculums.
"In education you can't
stand still," Mrs.
Kriechman said. "You
have to experiment. An
educator cannot afford to
not try something new,
even if it falls flat on its
face.
"Everyone talks about
modernizing Hebrew
schools. But if it means
watering down the pro-
• grams, I'm not for it."
Mrs. Kriechman agrees
with many aspects of the
task force report, such as
the importance of family
education and involve-
ment. She does not agree
with the phasing out of
UHS.
"Not every synagogue
can afford to have its own
school. And parents want
quality schools. I believe
eventually we'll consoli-
date again," Mrs.
Kriechman said.
Mrs. Kriechman said
she would retire regard-
less of the change, but
added, "I was disturbed by
the report in some ways. It
diminished what we were
trying to do here. It cer-
tainly wasn't `gobbledy-
gook.'..."



Akiva Will Lose
Secular Principals

LESLEY PEARL STAFF WRITER

A

kiva Day School stu-
dents will be greeted
with new guidance
next fall.
At the end of the acade-
mic year, secular studies
principals Ruth Boren-
stein and Janet Moses will
leave to pursue different
ventures.
Ms. Moses will take on
Congregation Shir Tikvah's
educational program.
Shir Tikvah was an affil-
iate of United Hebrew
Schools. The congregation
is in the process of devel-
oping its own curriculum.
Ms. Moses will be leav-
ing behind a 10-year histo-
ry with Akiva. Originally
hired as an English
teacher, she helped fill the
gaps as assistant princi-
pal, rising to the position
of high school principal
about five years ago.
"I feel I've learned a
great deal here. But if you
don't move, you don't
grow. This is true both for
me and the school," Ms.
Moses said. "Shir Tikvah
is the opportunity of a life-
time — there is no history.
We're building the pro-
gram from the ground up.
And I hope to put into
practice all I've learned."
Dr. Borenstein came out
of retirement in 1989 to
take on the role of elemen-
tary school principal. She
had worked as an educator
and administrator in the
city of Detroit for 34

years.
"The position with Akiva
sounded interesting. And
it was part-time," Dr.
Borenstein said. "In the
course of my life it was the
right opportunity for the
time. There are other
things I want to pursue
now."

"If you don't
move, you don't
grow."

Janet Moses

Dr. Borenstein did not
elaborate on future plans.
Religious school princi-
pal Rabbi Zev Shimansky
said a nationwide search
for a successor has begun.
Akiva plans to hire only
one person for the posi-
tions vacated. According to
Rabbi Shimansky, that
has always been the ideal
plan.
Rabbi Shimansky does
not forsee picking up any
additional responsibilities.
He is confident a replace-
ment will be found by fall.
"Both Dr. Borenstein
and Ms. Moses are won-
derful administrators,"
Rabbi Shimansky said.
"Dr. Borenstein has served
many years in public and
private education. She
knows what she's doing.
And Ms. Moses was a
great addition to our high
school program."



Exchange Student
Seeks A Jewish Home

RUTH LITTMANN STAFF WRITER

z

oriy Elterman, a 17-
year-old Jewish boy
from Russia, is look-
ing forward to becom-
ing an American for a
year. But first he needs a
Michigan household to
take him in as part of the
family.
The young lover of music

and economics is one of
1,200 students from the cr,
'
former Soviet Union who —
received a scholarship to a)
spend 12 months in the L I--
United States. The stu-
dents were chosen for their =,
academic excellence.
President Bill Clinton 15
STUDENT page 16

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