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December 09, 1994 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-12-09

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6 TEVET 5755/DECEMBER 9, 1994




News of commitment ceremonies
concerns Orthodox and
Conservative Jews.

Police and family remain baffled
by the slaying of a local



welve weeks ago on a warm
Thursday afternoon, some-
body walked into Perry
Warehouse Furniture in
Pontiac, fired several shots
at the owner, and then van-
The victim was Burt Duchin. He was a
businessman who loved the outdoors, clas-
sical music and art. He had the reputa-
tion of being generous, creative and
The shooting occurred between 5:15 and
5:30 p.m. Sept. 22. Mr. Duchin was dis-
covered soon after the shooting and taken
to Pontiac Osteopathic Hospital. He died
there several days later.
Today, the case is officially unsolved.
Police have no murder weapon, no motive
and no killer.
`This is a 'who done it,' " said Detective Stewart Trepte
of the Pontiac Police Department, who is investigating
the case with Detective Ray Gottschall. "It's a real mur-
der mystery."
In the hope it will turn up clues, police are appealing
to the public.
Perhaps someone remembers Mr. Duchin speaking
about an acquaintance who threatened his life. Or maybe
he expressed concern about a customer with whom he
had strained relations.
Police are especially interested in contacting the indi-
vidual whom Mr. Duchin may have been speaking with
at the time of the shooting. (The telephone was off the
hook when he was discovered.)
"My brother's death is still very fresh and very, very
painful, particularly the shocking way in which it came
about," said Mr. Duchin's brother, Neal. 'It would bring
tremendous comfort to the family to know what hap-
Neal Duchin said he has received support from Rep.
David Gubow, D-Huntington Woods, and Sen. Carl Levin.

Burt Duchin

Perry Warehouse
Furniture, where Mr.
Duchin was shot.

Now he is asking the community to call for continued in-
vestigation into the case.
'We're asking people to call Travor Hampton, chief
of police in Pontiac, to let him know they care and want
more man hours dedicated to this case," he said.
"Our major concern is that the perpetrator of my broth-
er's crime be found and punished."
Burt Duchin was born in Detroit and raised in Oak
Park and Southfield.
His mother, Cecilia, remembered her oldest son as a
thoughtful boy who brought her handfuls of dandelions,
and tulips from the neighbor's yard.
MURDER page 8

In A

Detroit Tigers fantasy camp founder
Jerry Lewis is facing competition...
from the Tigers.

Contents on page 3

abbi Steven Weil is
not condemning
Judaism, the
rabbi of Young Israel of
Greenfield said, is not a re-
ligion that advocates cas-
tigating individuals
But at the same time,
each person is held ac-
countable for his actions
and Judaism cannot
condone behavior forbid-
den in the Torah and
"Judaism does not con-
demn the person," Rabbi
Well said. "It condemns the
Among the proscribed
acts in Judaism is homo-
Rabbi Weil was one of
the leaders in metro
Detroit disturbed to hear
that several Reform rabbis
here have agreed to per-
form commitment cere-
monies for homosexual
Often, these ceremonies
include a chuppah, a ke-
tubah (marriage contract)
and other objects found in
Jewish marriages. There
are parties, dinners and
special blessings said for
the couple.
Though without legal
standing in any state and
opposed by leaders of all
major religions, including
Christianity and Islam, the

ceremonies are increasing
in number every year.
Reform rabbis say
they are not bound by
Halachah, Jewish law.
But for a number of
Conservative and Ortho-
dox leaders, the very idea
of uniting a couple engaged
in an act forbidden by
Judaism in a specifically
Jewish ceremony is offen-
"If you are going to do
this because it is a societal
standard, then do it as a
minister or a justice of the
peace. Don't do it as a rab-
bi," said Rabbi Chaim
Bergstein of Bais Chabad
of Farmington Hills.
"(Performing the cere-
monies) is like saying to
the young people, We can
kosherize anything you
want.' "
Rabbi Weil said he ob-
jects to "the institutional-
ization of homosexuality
because it promotes a
lifestyle of instinctual grat-
ification which is not chan-
neled or sublimated
toward a greater objective."
Rabbi Alon Tolwin, ed-
ucational director of Aish
HaTorah, said he has
heard a great deal of neg-
ative reaction to the
Reform rabbis' decision to
perform same-sex com-
mitment ceremonies.
REACT page 10

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