We Need To Change
Thinking On Borman Hall
We learn with the community that Borman Hall
could be in its last five months of operation. Those
that have been following this story over the years
can.recite the reasons by heart. Location on Sev-
en Mile Road, lack of private-pay beds, and op-
erating expenses that made budget allocations
What is the lesson to be learned from Borman
Hall? It's more than yes, the community needs to
keep its home for the aged out here in the suburbs
with us. It's even more than the millions of dol-
lars gone for what now amounts to a move or a
We wonder why the signals from Borman Hall
were not seen five years, 10 years ago. How could
something that was running along at supposedly
an even keel fall apart like this? Were there se-
vere problems that the community was unaware
of? Of course, there were too many who were quick
to point a finger at various paid staffers. There
were too many who were eager to have their name
listed on board letterhead, but then do little in the
way of service. Then they threw their arms in the
air and wondered why? There were too many ad-
ministrators, too many "experts." All of this cost
this Jewish community dearly.
Now the bottom line is that families could be
faced with the relocation of a loved one. Five
months is not a great deal of time. For someone
in their 80s, moving can be life-threatening. It will
cost more than $2 million to close Borman Hall.
Other constituent agencies should be warned
by this situation. With Jewish federation cam-
paigns all over the country struggling to remain
level, agency boards need to be made up of qual-
ified, skilled people who understand the business
and operational side of the agency they govern.
Boards of honor, boards of inaction, boards of fa-
vor are boards of irresponsibility and, as we've
seen here in Detroit, irresponsibility is expensive.
It's not enough that budgets are balanced. It's
not enough to accept that "everything is great in
our agencies." Someone needs to step forward to
challenge agency heads and their staffs. Who will
that be? Who can tell us that the financial drown-
ing of Borman Hall won't show up in other agen-
cies? Board members need to be on a first-name
basis with executive staffers. In the case of Bor-
man Hall, they need to know residents and their
There were many names and faces "on watch"
during the coming apart of Borman Hall. If any
fingers should be pointed, they should be pointed
That's the lesson here. We're a community
counting on one another. The future elderly need
sound action. Lost in all of this were the reasons
why we have a home for the aged. We need to get
back to the people, rebuild their trust and show
them that there is a plan here, that there are goals.
But most importantly, we must show that some-
one is willing to step forward to say, "I'm ac-
countable. Your trust, your needs drive me."
Then we need to get to work.
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
A Sad Act In Germany
Attacks All Of Us
How many times have we Jews been told that if
we would just let go of the Holocaust, acts of hate
would go away, would disappear. We're our own
worst enemies, we've been told. We bring this on
ourselves, they say.
If we needed any reminder that our memories
should act as our guides, the United States
Olympic luge team found out the hard and cruel
way. Luge is a sport where men and women slide
individually on sleds down an icy course. This coun-
try's luge team was in the town of Oberhof, in the
former East Germany, last week for a training run.
Our luge team has white members, black mem-
bers and a Jewish athlete as well.
When the team visited a local disco, a gang of
skinheads started race-baiting Robert Pipkins, a
black U.S. luger, making monkey sounds and
chanting, "nigger, nigger, out, out, out."
Mr. Pipkins and Jewish teammate Gordy Sheer
confronted one of the chanters wearing a swasti-
ka on his T-shirt. The lugers were told by onlook-
ers to run as fast as they could from the disco. A
swarm of 15 skinheads chased the lugers until one
of the teammates, Duncan Kennedy, fearing for
the life of Mr. Pipkins, turned and confronted the
mob. He paid for it with kicks and punches to the
head and abdomen. It took town police an hour to
respond. Mr. Sheer was so frightened, he barri-
caded himself in his hotel room with furniture.
Town officials publicly apologized for the ac-
tions. They also asked the U.S. team not to boy-
cott the Oberhof World Cup meet in January.
Oberhof is 150 miles from Berlin.
Like the defiance that Jesse Owens showed by
winning in the so-called "Hitler Olympics" of 1936,
the U.S. luge team needs to return to this town,
and it needs to go about its business of winning.
Germany, which has worked hard to make
amends over the years for the Holocaust, has to
do a better job of protecting not just athletes, but
every one of its citizens and visitors.
Oberhof might be a relatively short drive from
Berlin. But so is Buchenwald. The years are short
since the Holocaust. But as the American luge
team found out, our memories need to be long. So
must the memories of the people of the former
To A Synagogue
With respect to the Rev.
Louis Farrakhan (Oct. 22), I,
for one, would welcome the
opportunity to speak with
him, in fact, to maintain a
continuing relationship with
His past and continuing
derogatory statements about
Jews are well known. Noth-
ing he could say now would
come as a surprise to anyone.
I, as well as Harry Haberman
and many others, worked at
the Woodward Avenue em-
porium during the Great De-
pression and nostalgically
take historic exception to the
reference of Frank and Seder
as Frank and Cedar (Oct. 22).
Your staff writer Lesley
Pearl, notwithstanding the
fine article, is obviously ei-
ther a baby-boomer or not na-
tive to Detroit, or both.
Bernard B. Brown
To Old Neighborhoods
It is for the world to judge the
merit, or lack of merit, of his
Even were he to apologize,
as some insist he must do be-
fore continuing relations with
him, many would probably
doubt the sincerity of such
apology. In my view, very few
people give credence to his
If it were up to me, I would
invite him to address an au-
dience at one of our larger
synagogues. Give him half
the tickets to distribute and
let the synagogue distribute
half. And let him say what he
I, for one, would refrain
from uttering disapproval of
views in which I do not con-
cur. Meet those views with
I think we might be pleas-
antly surprised at the mod-
eration of his address.
I'm responding to Anita Bo-
gorad's letter (Oct. 15) about
Jews and minorities. Her re-
sponse to a problem of living
in a mixed neighborhood is
I've been fighting for mi-
nority equal rights since the
early 1940s. In our early ef-
forts to integrate and work
together we had some suc-
cesses, until the minority
groups decided to work out
their own solutions by them-
selves, and they turned away
from us. They resolved very
little by themselves, and had
few resources to work with.
The reasons for abandon-
ing a mixed area include be-
ing harassed and having
every house on our block bur-
glarized. When the iron grills
go up on everyone's windows,
I think it's time to leave while
you're still alive!
Anita Bogorad probably
agrees with some writers who
have stated that we have to
try again by moving back into
old neighborhoods and inte-
grate once more. How silly!
I'm forced to live in an area
for safety and peace of mind,
which I really cannot afford,
but have no other choice be-
cause of the criminal element
now controlling virtually
every area of Detroit!
To even consider relocating
again to such devastation;
poverty, crime-infested, filthy
surroundings is totally unac-
NEIGHBORHOODS page 18