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April 01, 1994 - Image 61

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-04-01

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

t a recent pack meet-
ing, parents talked of
discipline and life
skills. But if you
ask Yeshiva Beth
Yehudah third-
grader Yaakov
Brown why he
likes Cub Scouts,
he simply says, "It's fun!"
Yaakov was taking part in his
third meeting of Pack 1579,
which meets Wednesday nights
at Congregation Beth Achim. The
Cubs and Boy Scouts of 1579 are
unique in the Detroit and Clin-
ton Valley Scout councils: They
are one of three area Boy
Scout/Cub Scout units sponsored
by a Jewish organization and the
only one that runs
the spectrum of Jew-
ish affiliation.
At a recent
Wednesday meeting,
1579 was a four-ring
circus. The three Cub
Scout dens and the
Boy Scout troop meet
weekly in the Beth
Achim school wing,
each group in its own
classroom. Under the
direction of Les Kan-
non, the Boy Scouts
(sixth-12th grade)
were practicing put-
ting up tents for their
weekend camping
trip at Kensington
Park. Because they
would not be arriving
at the camp-site un-
til well after sun-
down Saturday night
— after Shabbat —
they wanted to be
sure they could eas-
ily assemble their equipment in
the dark.
Across the hall, the Bears
(grade three) were doing a unit
on bike safety. Den leader Rich-
ard Steinnon brought in a dirt
bike and a unicycle, which he
demonstrated in the school
The Webelos (grades four-five)
studied maps. They told leaders
Yehudis Rabinowitz and Paul
Magy what roads to take from
Southfield to a General Motors
plant in Pontiac and what inter-
states were needed from Detroit
to New York.
The Tiger Cubs (first grade),
under the direction of Leah
Rosenstein, made pillow place
cards (miniature matzah covers)
for the Passover seder.
But before each group became
immersed in the evening's ac-
tivities, the Scouts were inspected
by their adult leaders. Mr. Stein-
non reminded his Bears to keep
their fingernails clean, to tuck
in their shirts and then come into
the hallway for the Pledge of
Allegiance to the American
flag and to recite the Scout
"On my honor, I will do my

boys and a lot of work for the par- said. "That's a viable option with-
ents. Each Cub Scout den must in the Cub Scouts. And the
have at least two adult leaders to fathers do the leading." Pack 244
plan and oversee the weekly ac- also formed a new Tiger Cubs
tivities. Guiding the youngsters' den for five first-graders.
work on achievements, electives,
Temple Kol Ami also sponsors
activity awards or merit badges a Cub Scout pack, but not every-
is time consuming.
thing is rosy according to leader
"All these parents work," said David Debello. "I'd like to see
Pack 1579 leader Donna Feld- more units. I have kids who had
man, who teaches Hebrew school to drop out because parents
at Congregation Shaarey Zedek couldn't be bothered to bring
and at Adat Shalom Synagogue. them."
"But we can give up one hour per
Parental involvement also
week for our kids."
helps to eliminate a concern of
Even those parents not directly any organization that caters to
involved are required by the children: abuse. After several
pack's rules to come to the highly publicized incidents in the
monthly pack meeting. 'The kids 1980s, the Boy Scouts of Ameri-
used to be upset when they re- ca began more rigorous screen-
ing and training of its adult
Above: Dovid
The national council has files
Rabinowitz and Shim)
on persons convicted of crimes,
Winkler roll up a tent.
"but especially those convicted of
Left: Donna Feldman
crimes against children," said
and Leah Rosenstein
Dave Downton, a senior Boy
form a friendship circle
Scout executive with the Detroit
with the Tiger Cubs.
Council. All leaders are
Below left: Yisrael
trained about abuse and in-
Rabinowitz with Ryan,
structed in state laws on report-
Cheryl and Ken Reid.
ing abuse.
Below: Tiger Cub Nicky
Mr. Downton said two adult
leaders must be present at all
Scout activities, and private coun-
On Page 1:
seling sessions between a leader
Moshe Schreiber,
Jonathan Feldman
and a Scout are not permitted.
and friends.
The Boy Scouts also have been
embroiled in lawsuits challeng-
ing their policies of not admitting
boys who are gay or atheist.
"A belief in God has been part
of our policy since Scouting was
founded in 1910," Mr. Downton
said. 'There have been court bat-
tles across the country, with some
local reversals; but our policy has
been upheld on appeal to
higher courts."
The same, he said, holds
true for the organization's
stance against Scouts or
adult leaders who are

best to do my duty to God and my
country... ."


he groundwork for Scout
unit 1579 was laid in 1931,
when Boy Scout Troop 23
was formed in Detroit. The late
Nate Trager spent 50 years of his
life devoted to Jewish Scouting.
He participated in Troop 23's hop-
scotch from one sponsoring syn-
agogue to another until his death
and the troop's ultimate demise.
Now, Cheryl Reid has picked
up Nate Trager's mantle.
Ms. Reid has been involved
with Scouting since a friend roped
her in nine years ago, revolving
around her sons, Jason and
Ryan. Ryan will be bar mitzvah

April 9 and will earn Scouting's
Jewish religious award, the Ner
Tamid, at the same time.
The Ner Tamid is similar to a
Hebrew school class. Ryan was
required to complete 20 pages of
requirements, including telling
about the Sabbath and holidays,
being involved in Jewish activi-
ties, describing ancient and mod-
ern Jewish leaders, explaining
the meaning and contents of
tefillin, making a scrapbook of
Jewish current events, and com-
pleting three Jewish service

projects, such as ushering at syn-
agogue, helping in the office of a
Jewish organization, or assisting
in a religious school.
Both Ms. Reid and her hus-
band, Ken, are trained Scout
leaders, and she serves as the De-
troit Area Council's Jewish com-
mittee chair.
Ms. Reid became active in
Scouting for the same reason that
makes each Boy Scout troop or
Cub Scout pack a success or a
failure: parental involvement.
Scouting is a lot of fun for the

ceived awards and their parents
were not there to see it. So now
we require them to come," Ms.
Feldman said.
Lack of parental involvement
is a common problem for Scout-
ing, as are competing activities.
Pack 244 in Farmington Hills is
made up of Hillel Day School stu-
dents and chartered to Adat
Shalom. Of the four boys who
participated last year, said leader
David Marks, only his son Joseph
and another youngster wanted to
continue this year. Two dropped
out for other activities. But two
new dens have been formed.
One, with seven Cub Scouts,
meets every other week with no
set location. "The different par-
ents each take a turn," Mr. Marks

S touting has gotten a
welcome push at
Congregation Beth
Achim. Rabbi Martin
Berman is an Eagle Scout
and went with the older boys
to D-Bar-A Scout Camp near
Metamora last summer.
"It was the first time in 20
years that D-Bar-A had a Jewish
troop," said Cheryl Reid. The
troop arranged for kosher food
and davened (prayed) every
Rabbi Berman, seven scouts
and several parents already have
signed up for summer camp this
Ms. Reid says many local syn-
agogues have resisted her efforts
to start Scout units under their
auspices. 'They don't want us be-
cause they think we are going to
interfere with their youth
groups," she said.
Pack 1579 is careful not to in-
terfere. Sunday hikes or other

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