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November 18, 1994 - Image 1

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-11-18

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

15 KISLEV 5755/NOVEMBVER 18, 1994

Controversial
Education

Girls Unite

Bais Yaakov hosts 435
students for a national
convention.

Lubavitch continue with
Noah Webster Academy.

JENNIFER FINER STAFF WRITER

n Sunday morning, a group
of girls at the 36th annual
Bais Yaakov Convention
gathered around a table,
fighting the clock to solve
the Hebrew puzzle before
them.
While focusing on text from Exodus, each
girl tried to "one up" the other, a bravado
of sorts over who had done the most or
stayed up the latest while attending the
international get-together.
"I didn't get to sleep until 5:30 this morn-
ing," said Shera Heyman of Los Angeles,
rubbing her eyes. "I ended up getting four
hours of sleep."
"Yeah, well, I went to sleep at 4:30,
but we wanted to play basketball at
2 a.m.," said Dassie Hochheiser of Oak
Park.
"I went to sleep at 4," said Blis Harrold
of Miami Beach. "I am having so much fun."

PHOTO BY MOSHE GOLDBARD

JILL DAVIDSON SKLAR STAFF WRITER

Students attend a workshop Sunday afternoon.

The group was a small segment of the
435 girls who drove and flew from sever-
al Canadian and American cities to attend
the conference for girls who attend Bais
Yaakov schools.
Concurrent with the convention, 85 pro-
fessionals from the 38 participating schools
held an enrichment seminar.
The theme of both conventions was tak-
en from a Psalm which instructs, "Speak
your praises in the morning and have faith
in the night."

Rabbi Nathaniel Lauer, education di-
rector for the Sally Allan Alexander Beth
Jacob School in Oak Park, said the main
purpose of the annual meeting was to find
a common ground on which to build the fu-
ture.
"Tart of it is to build camaraderie among
the students," he said. "Part of it is that the
schools are so far apart that this is the only
time that the students are exposed to oth-
er students. They learn from each other
GIRLS page 8

CLOSE UP

On The Carpet

The academy saves
Lubavitch parents
between $1,000 and
$1,200 a year in tuition.

David Morrison's passion
can get underfoot.

Page 14

FOR WOMEN

Six Notables

Detroit activists
are Zionists of Year.

Page 26

Dateline Buenos Aires

A Heartsick Community
Struggles To Regain Its Footing

JUDY OPPENHEIMER SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

Story on page 68

Cook, Peace, Dali

Jewish Book Fair
brought a unique mix.

Page 92
Contents on page 3

D

espite a court ruling earlier
this month that places the fu-
ture of the Ionia-based Noah
Webster Academy in jeop-
ardy, Southfield resident Dov
Berkowitz and 20 other par-
ents of Lubavitch girls say
they will continue to educate their
daughters through the controversial
home schooling network.
Earlier this month, an Ingham
County circuit judge declared the
state's charter school law unconstitu-
tional. He said it does not meet the
constitutional definition of a public
school and takes away the authority of
the State Board of Education to su-
pervise public education. The judge
said the law violates a 20-year-old ban
on spending public money in private
schools. He also said public money can-
not be used to support schools run by
privately selected boards that have
vague rules about accountability.
The Noah Webster Academy allows
parents to home-school their children,
giving them the option of using mate-
rial provided by the academy.
Among those enrolled in the pro-
gram is the daughter of Mr. Berkowitz,
who said he chose to enroll her because
the academy allows her to learn at her
own pace and the parents like the cur-
riculum provided by Noah Webster.

'

Mr. Berkowitz's daughter and her
classmates, all students enrolled in
the Lubavitch cheder, spend several
hours a day receiving their Jewish ed-
ucation at the cheder in Farmington
Hills. Their mornings are spent paired
with classmates who have similar
learning abilities, using Noah Webster
materials. Afternoons are devoted to
Jewish studies.
David Kagan of the Lubavitch
Foundation of Michigan would not say
where the girls are receiving their sec-
ular education and refused to let The
Jewish News visit the site.
Despite the public controversy over
charter schools, Mr. Berkowitz said the
Noah Webster Academy provides a
good secular curriculum and saves him
and other Lubavitch parents between

LUBAVITCH page 10

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