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July 15, 1994 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-07-15

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

Fearing For Jerusalem
This Tisha B'Av

It's a shame that for many Jews, and we hope
not most, the observance of Tisha B'Av goes
largely unnoticed.
This commemoration of the destruction of both
the first and second Temples, as well as other
disasters in Jewish history, is observed through
prayer, the reading of the Book of Lamentations
and a fast.
For some, the pain over losing Temples built
more than 2,500 years ago is perhaps impossi-
ble to understand.
A year ago, though, no one knew that the un-
stable world of the Middle East would be turned
on its ear by secret peace talks between Israel
and the Palestine Liberation Organization. No
one knew that those talks would consummate
in an accord-signing last September on the White
House lawn.
Then came the deaths of more than 40 Israeli
citizens and military personnel at the hands of
terrorists. Then came Dr. Baruch Goldstein's
deadly definition of justice at the Tomb of the
Patriarchs. Next came words from PLO Chair-
man Yassir Arafat concerning jihad, or holy war,
and the division of Jerusalem. And then came
his "apology" for saying it.
Now Mr. Arafat resides in Gaza and leads that
area as well as Jericho. The Palestinians look-
ing to him to be their leader are tired of the old

slogans and the calls for revolution. They want
schools, sewage treatment plants and infra-
structure.
Mr. Arafat's image in the area of fiduciary re-
sponsibility is hardly respected in world finan-
cial circles, so the pressure he faces to deliver
services - without the money he needs - is very
real.
If he cannot offer housing and jobs, maybe he'll
attempt to deliver the unthinkable, part of
Jerusalem. This seems to be the goal.
For many years, Jews were prohibited from
visiting the Western Wall, the remaining exte-
rior wall of the Temple. The land on which it
stands was ruled by the Arabs. It was in 1967,
with the Six-Day War, that Israel secured and
recovered the Wall.
The figurative note we leave in the cracks of
the Wall calls on every Jew to if not observe Tisha
B'Av in its strictest sense, then to at least learn
more about why this ninth day of the month of
Av is so critical to our history.
It is a day of mourning, a day of introspection.
It should be a time when Jews comprehend what
the Temples meant and what the role of
Jerusalem means for Israel and our heritage.
Simply contemplating the kinds of changes for
that city, as proposed by the PLO leader, makes
us even more mournful.

Letters

Explanation
For Allocations

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Unfortunately, The Jewish News'
recent articles and editorial re-
garding Federation allocations
for member agencies were, in sev-
eral respects, inaccurate, mis-
leading and incomplete.
Please permit me to set forth
essential points which were not
conveyed accurately in the arti-
cle or were actually omitted, de-
spite the fact that these points
were understood during my in-
terview with The Jewish News.
The total raised by the Allied
Jewish Campaign for 1994-95 is
projected at $26 million; $23.2
million is the amount available
for allocation after Campaign
costs and shrinkage for deaths
and uncollected pledges.
Despite our community's fund-
raising success, the Campaign
raised $275,000 less than last
year. Notwithstanding this de-
crease, the allocations to our lo-
cal agencies increased by $48,000
in the aggregate.
Consistent with established
community priorities, we allo-
cated $155,000 more to formal
Jewish education (primarily the

day schools) than ever before. In-
creases also went to local uni-
versity Hillels and BBYO for teen
programs. Why didn't The Jew-
ish News quote any of these
agency directors about how they
viewed their allocation increases?
We increased (not decreased
as reported) the allocation to AJE
to $868,000. Comparing "apples
to apples," the AJE allocation
went up by $50,000, since last
year's ME budget included
$50,000 for operating the com-
munity Hebrew high school, now
closed.
AJE certainly will be able to
utilize at least a portion of these

monies at its discretion for teen
and early childhood development
programs. Only AJE itself, not
Federation, can decide whether
to put any of its programs "on
hold."
In comparing "apples to ap-
ples" for allocation purposes, it
must be remembered that ME's
mandate and responsibilities
have changed from a direct ser-
vice (retail) provider of classroom
education to a resource (whole-
sale) provider of assistance to
classroom education at temples
and synagogues. Under such cir-
cumstances, it is necessary and
appropriate for Federation to

Letters

fully review and analyze the
needs of the newly-shaped AJE.
We will do so in the coming year,
together with ME representa-
tion.
During the interview, we also
expressed Federation's great
pleasure at the financial and pro-
grammatic success of the Fresh
Air Society (Tamarack Camps).
In fact, the camp's income for
1993-94 was far greater than
even they projected.
For 1994-95, Federation an-
ticipated at least significant, if
not identical, extra income, as
well as a reduction in expenses
of approximately $135,000, re-
sulting from the closing of Camp
Tamarack at Brighton. Under
the circumstances, a reduction in
the allocation to Fresh Air of
$60,000 seemed (and still seems)
justified and moderate. Federa-
tion does not believe that any pro-
grammatic cuts will result or be
necessary.
Everyone recognizes, I am
sure, that Federation's responsi-
bility is to the community as a
whole. We are required to look at
the "big picture" and advance the
multiple needs of the communi-
ty.
We seek to provide funding for
those who cannot help them-
selves. When an agency is able
to increase its income (without
increasing its expenses), we, the
community, benefit because Fed-
eration dollars can be used to
help other agencies that may be
more in need of those dollars. Yet,
we undertake the allocation
process in a manner that is con-
sistent with the community's
established and sometimes
changing priorities.
Although the allocation
process is a difficult and imper-
fect one in the best of times and
a painful one in the worst of
times, we are confident that the
hundreds of dedicated commu-
nity volunteers who have devot-
ed thousands of hours have done
an outstanding job.
Unless and until substantial
additional dollars are raised in
our community, the sad reality
is that allocation increases for
certain agencies likely will result
in allocation decreases for other
agencies.
Are we spending enough on
Jewish education? Of course not.
Are there scores of deserving lo-
cal programs and agency needs
that we were unable to fund? Of

course.
What is the answer? There is
only one answer — and it is a
simple one which we must repeat
again and again: We must raise
at least several million dollars
more in order to satisfy existing
local needs. Each one of us can
help us achieve that goal, one
dollar at a time. We seek and look
to The Jewish News to help us
achieve that goal.
Peter M. Alter
Chairman, Planning and Alloca-
tions Steering Committee, Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

Federation
And Darchei Torah

As a parent of children in He-
brew day schools and as a profes-
sional involved in the Hebrew
schools, I was happy to learn
from your July 1 headline article
that our Federation is increasing
its allocation to three of our area
day schools (Hillel, Akiva and
Yeshiva Beth Yehudah).
However, I have serious con-
cerns regarding the omission of
Yeshivas Darchei Torah from
this allocation of funds. I thor-
oughly agree with Federation Ed-
ucation Division Chairman
Douglas Bloom's statement that
Federation "decided the best
place to put more money is in day
schools." In my opinion, these
schools should be getting even
more than a $40,000 increase.
Superior education has always
been a cornerstone of Jewish
identity and has historically been
of paramount importance to our
tradition and heritage.
How, then, can it be that
Yeshivas Darchei Torah, a vital,
rich and significant Hebrew day
school with a current enrollment
of 200 students, is totally disre-
garded by the same agency that
perceives as its mandate to sus-
tain, nurture, and foster Hebrew
education? Clearly the ramifica-
tions of this decision are serious
and not to be underestimated!
Detroit is a growing commu-
nity whose needs are increasing
geometrically. Darchei Torah fills
an essential niche in the provi-
sion of services to the community
and must be encouraged and
maintained.
I urge all concerned Detroiters
with an eye to the future — and
the plurality of the community
DARCIFI page 8

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