THE JEWISH N',EAATS
4 IYAR 5754/APRIL 15, 1994
Watch And Worry
security reasons, he and his brothers in
Israel and Australia purchased a condo-
minium for their mother in a new Jew-
ish community retirement village in
Johannesburg. She does not want to leave
She was supposed to move into her new
home this month, but the
movers refused to travel the
roads until after the elections.
Thirty to 40 years ago, says
Dr. Sobel, South Africa's Jewish
community may have been the
most successful in the world. It
was united in its Zionism and
unassimilated. And it was
spread evenly throughout the
"Now," he says, "rural Jews
Some 80-90 percent of the
country's 90,000 to 105,000
Jews live in Johannesburg. "The
move was not for security rea-
sons, but to maintain Jewish
Dr. Jack Sobel
Dr. Jeffrey Maise Is
identity," Dr. Sobel says.
the United States for 28 years. But he
In the last year, however, even more
visited South Africa as recently as last changes have occurred. In Johannesburg
summer and plans to go again next fall. last summer, Dr. Maisels attended Friday
He was not concerned about security night services at the Great Synagogue,
until last year. "Petty crime was always where he was bar mitzvah and married.
quite common," Dr. Maisels says. "People In the past, normal attendance at services
would break into houses and steal some- was 200, he says. That Shabbat last
thing, but they did not kill you. Now, summer, there were 20. Today, the Great
stories of random violence have increased Synagogue is closed. It was located in an
area where it is no longer safe to walk
Dr. Sobel, chairman of the infectious to services.
diseases department at Harper Hospital,
The Jewish community in South Africa
visited his 76-year-old mother 20 miles
outside Johannesburg in January. For WATCH page 10
Expatriate South African Jews worry about friends and family.
ALAN HITSKY ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Local educators take successful
learning techniques to
classrooms of the world.
LESLEY PEARL STAFF WRITER
ra Wise would have been content
packing boxes. But then he found
himself in Los Angeles in a car
next to an artist doodling a Batman-
The artist, Joel Lurie Grishaver,
created Betman. Mr. Wise wrote the
Betman, a young boy dressed in a
cape and face mask, is used as a
teaching tool. Betrnan's Book of
Hebrew Letters was developed in
1990 in the California offices of Torah
Aura Productions. It was Mr. Wise's
internship project during the sum-
mer off from a master's program at
Hebrew Union College, more chal-
lenging than packing boxes or any
other menial task he was more than
willing to do.
Mr. Wise and a handful of others
from Detroit have taken their teach-
ing to a higher level, offering what
works in the classroom to students
worldwide. All use their little spare
time to develop independent projects.
All have a gimmick of sorts.
For Mr. Wise, Temple Emanu-El
educator, it was Betman. Rita
Abramson, director of Temple Israel's
religious school and Stepping Stones
to a Jewish Me — a program for in-
terfaith families — uses familiar
songs. Agency for Jewish Education
director of educational services and
TEACHING page 48
here are areas of Johan-
nesburg where few people
drive at night anymore.
And if they do, they slow
down at red lights and
then speed on through
There are areas of
South Africa's largest city
where Jews no longer live, where it is no
longer safe to walk to synagogue on
These are the realities of South Africa
today, and Jews from South Africa who
live in the Detroit area fear the situation
will worsen after the April 27 national
Conditions will not deteriorate because
blacks will vote for the first time in South
Africa's history, says Dr. Jack Sobel of
West Bloomfield. Conditions may deteri-
orate because the black population may
expect instant economic rewards after the
elections, something any government
would be hard pressed to deliver.
Local Jews with ties to South Africa
are worried about their friends and fam-
ily. Dr. Jeffrey Maisels of Bloomfield
Township calls his parents weekly.
Chairman of the pediatrics depai Linent
at Beaumont Hospital, he has been in
`Schindler' For Free
High schools are offered film on the Holocaust.
LESLEY PEARL STAFF WRITER
loomfield Hills Andover and
Lahser high schools did it. So
did Royal Oak Dondero.
Schindler's List, the
movie chronicling the life of
boozer, womanizer, Jew-saver
Oskar Schindler during World
War II, has been shown to a
number of teens in Michigan
through independent contracts made be-
tween school districts and movie theaters.
An arrangement made between Gov.
John Engler and movie director Steven
Spielberg will bring the true tale to
greater numbers of youth around the state
at no cost.
Michigan joins about 25 other states in
the Holocaust education effort. California
Gov. Pete Wilson was the first to link
schools and Mr. Spielberg.
"Educating kids about history and our
past is so important. We must help them
learn from past mistakes to ensure they
won't be repeated," Gov. Engler said
Monday in a press release. "I applaud
Steven Spielberg for his efforts to teach
young people about the horrors of the
Holocaust and his willingness to work
with the states to make sure students
are aware of the historical significance of
The movie will be shown in theaters,
many of which give space to schools in the
afternoon as a public service. The costs of
the film and educational guides are fund-
ed by Mr. Spielberg.
Teachers will receive four optional
study guides for teaching about the
Holocaust. They are required to use at
least one lesson to prepare for the view-
ing and follow up with at least one dis-
As of Tuesday, John Truscott, spokes-
man for the governor, had not yet seen
the teaching guides. Details as to when
the film will be available to schools also
have not been worked out, but Mr.
Truscott is hopeful some students will
view Schindler's List this spring under
Sid Bolkosky, University of Michigan-
Dearborn professor and author of the
Holocaust curriculum Life Unworthy of
Life, said if the viewing of Schindler's
SCHINDLER page 13
and cold Tigers.
Rising interest rates
force new strategies.
The Ftaimi boys take
childhood to Hollywood.
Contents on page 3