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May 06, 1994 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-05-06

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

In Honor of National Nurses Week
May 6 - May 12
The Greater Detroit Chapter of Hadassah
Nurses Council Recognizes and
Supports Our Colleagues in Israel.

Patricia Averbuch, RN
Linda Belkin, RN
Nancy R. Berman, RN, CS, MSN
Debbie Bernstein, RN, MBA, BSN
Randee Bloom, RN, MBA
Suzy Darmon, RN
Audrey Demak, RN, BS
Fern Carnick Edelstein, RN
Annette L. Frumin Elyazam, RN, BSN
Marilynn Emmer, RN
Deedee Fair, RN
Jan Walters Faultersack, RN, BSN
Laurel Felsenfeld, RN, BSN, CRRN
Pamela Friedman, CRNA
Susan D.G. Gibbs, RNC
Susan Ginzler, RN, BA
Meredith Goldberg, RN, BSN
Carol Cobb, RN, BSN
Barbara Horowitz, RN, MSN
Elaine Horowitz, RNC, BSN
Debra Isaacs, RN

Libby Kaplan, RN
Susan Kay, RNC, M. Ed.
Shirley Kramer, RN
Randee Kovacs, RN, BSN
Susan Lankowsky, RN, MSN

N NDASSAH
► SES couN cii
NUR

qm.

S

Susan D. Loss, RN, BSN
Debra Luria, RN, MSN, CS
Cindy Madgy, RNC

Andrea Marcus, RN, MS
Adele Mattingly, RN
Phyllis Meer, RN, BSN, CPNP
Joyce Meckler Miller, RN, BSN
Cynthia Nagel, CRNA
Barbara Nowak
Elaine T. Robins
Rita Rubin, RN
Agnes Schare, RN, BSN
Joy Schumacher
Elaine Serling, RN, BSN
Deborah L. Silverman, RN, BSN
Lori Steinlauf, RN
Barbara Stern
Rhoda Tashjian, RN
Map R. Gibbs-Tevlo, RN, CRNi
Gail R. Victor, RN, BSN
Carol Walters, RN, BSN
Lois Winer, RNC, BSN
Beth Zoller, RN

For membership information call Hadassah 683-5030 or 357-2920

PRE-MOTHER'S DAY SALE

ONE DAY ONLY!
7TH
MAY
10-6
SATURDAY,

1 5% OFF

ENTIRE STOCK OF
SPRING AND SUMMER SHOES

*prior sales, layaways and evening shoes excluded

SHOE GALLERY

15 Mile and Orchard Lake Road -West Bloomfield Plaza

851.5470

Teacher Claims Bias
In School District

JENNIFER FINER STAFF WRITER

A

White Lake Township el-
ementary-school teacher
has filed suit against the
Huron Valley School Dis-
trict because she has not been al-
lowed to take off work to observe
the Jewish holidays.
Edith Williams, 47, recently
filed a religious discrimination
lawsuit in Oakland County Cir-
cuit Court against the Huron
Valley School District, its super-
intendent and assistant super-
intendent of personnel. A few
weeks ago, the district respond-
ed by having the case moved to
federal court.
Ms: Williams, who became
Jewish through a Reform con-
version four years ago, wishes to
undergo an Orthodox conversion
but said she can not complete her
conversion without being able to
observe the 13 holiest days. She
said the district will not let her
take some of the days off that fall
within the school year, even
though she is willing to take
them without pay.
Ms. Williams decided to con-
vert because of her comfort and
interest in Judaism and the Holo-
caust, according to her attorney
Catherine Farrell.
Rabbi Chaim Bergstein of Bais
Chabad of Farmington Hills has
been working with Ms. Williams
on her conversion for about a
year.
"To convert a person we have
to have a clear vision of his or her
belief system and see his or her
willingness to follow the practices
of the Jewish people,” Rabbi
Bergstein said. "We've covered
the basic principles of Torah, the
laws of kashrut and Shabbat.
She is being tutored in Hebrew
and has done quite a bit of work.
The primary thing is that she has
to live in accordance with Jewish
law and that means not working
on holidays. This has been a ma-
jor stumbling block and her con-
version could be immediate if this
was not in the way."
- Ms. Williams contends that
her job was threatened if she
didn't show up for work during
the High Holidays last year. On
another occasion, she says, the
assistant superintendent of per-
sonnel told her he never would
have hired her if he knew she
needed so much time off.
Ms. Williams claims she was
involuntarily transferred after
the district refused to give her
time off last year. Then, she says,
the school principal started mak-
ing unannounced visits to her
class and parents were asked to
write letters about her teaching
ability.

Superintendent James H.
Doyle said the law provides that
employers must make reason-
able accommodations in situa-
tions like this but he wonders
how many days are reasonable.
"How many days can teachers
take off before it hinders their
performance? We want some
guidelines," he said.
While there are 13 holy days
in the Jewish calendar, usually
six or seven will fall within the
school year.
Ms. Williams, who spends
Shabbat with families in West
Bloomfield or Oak Park, said that
since filing the lawsuit she is try-
ing to "function as if it is business
as usual" at school.
Janet Cooper, the deputy di-
rector of the Michigan Civil
Rights Commission, said there
are essentially two ways em-

Edith Williams said
her job was
threatened if she
didn't work.

ployment discrimination cases
are examined. The first is to de-
termine whether the employee
was treated in a disadvantageous
manner.
"If religion, gender or race ap-
pear to be the causal factor in
that treatment, then one can con-
clude more likely than not some
discrimination is involved," Ms.
Cooper said.
The employer's policy is also
examined. If the policy is "fair on
its face but disadvantages a small
number of people, it could be con-
cluded that discrimination is in-
volved," according to Ms. Cooper.
Ezra Roberg, a teacher in the
Detroit Public Schools and an
Oak Park school-board member,
said he is able to take days off for
religious holidays by using his
sick days. He gets 15 sick days a
year.
"I've never had a problem in
all the years that rve been in De-
troit," Mr. Roberg said.
He recounted one incident
when all Detroit teachers had to
report to work on a Saturday as
part of a strike settlement.
"We felt we were being penal-
ized because there was no way
we were going to make up a day
by working on Saturday," Mr.
Roberg said. "At one point they
were going to dock us pay but in-
stead we were forced to take it off
as a sick day."



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