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December 16, 1994 - Image 1

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-12-16

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

DETROIT

750

1 3

TEVET 5755/DECEMBER 16, 1994

Place For Prayer?

Religious observance in public schools challenged.

JILL DAVIDSON SKLAR STAFF WRITER

Never The Same

RUTH LITTMANN STAFF WRITER

H

omicide leaves in its wake grieving loved ones,
shocked and angry. Last year, violent crime took
the lives of 24,526 people in America, including
more than 4,375 boys and girls under 19. As death
tolls climb, parents of murdered children struggle to come to
terms with the incomprehensible.

Story on page 56

Task Force Convenes

Subcommittees consider Hillel Day School's future.

JILL DAVIDSON SKLAR STAFF WRITER

A

task force of 20 posed move from the
Hillel Day School school's Farmington Hills
parents met last location to the Jewish
week and took the Community Campus at
first step in a three- Maple and Drake roads,
month fact-finding mission said task force chairman
which may be the basis Jeff Garden.
for a decision regarding
Findings will be deliv-
the school's future loca- ered in March to the
tion.
school's board of directors,
The group, embodying a when the board is expect-
demographic representa- ed to make a decision on
tion of the Hillel commu- the move.
nity, gathered to decide
The creation of a task
which concerns to investi- force comes in response to
gate in relation to a pro- a $5 million donation pro-

posal by Oakland Mall
owner and developer Jay
Kogan, made early last
month. The offer carries
the stipulation that the
school move to the
Maple/Drake campus, a
site Mr. Kogan believes to
have longevity.
"The school has the po-
tential to be the recipient
of his generosity, an in-
vestment which he wishes
to make in day school edu-
cation," said Robert
TASK FORCE page 18

DETROIT

Peanut Buller Soup

Far East Appeal

A temple and church have

Scholnick didn't know what
to expect. Page 96

inter-cultural exchange.

Page 14

Contents on page 3

PHOTO BY BILL GEMMELL

IV

hen Wendy Sadler read
the back page of the
October issue of her
daughter's elementary
school Parent Teacher
Organization newslet-
ter, she was shocked,
angry and disturbed.
What the Canton woman saw
there, tucked below a notice regard-
ing the success of the last PTO bake
sale and a mention of the Girl Scout
troop's good deeds, was an endorse-
ment of a Christian after-school Bible
club — complete with an enrollment
form.
"By faithfully teaching our chil-
dren the truths of the Bible we be-
lieve they will attain a knowledge of
God and Jesus Christ and a strength
of character that can keep them from
evil and make them truly happy, use- Wendy Sadler read the PTO letter.
ful citizens," said a newsletter ad-
vertisement for the Boys and Girls Bible public schools, but it is terrible that we
have to do it," she said. "These are edu-
Club.
An endorsement above added: "(The cated people. They ought to know what is
club) will be meeting every Wednesday appropriate."
Among the cases the Council is moni-
and all students are invited and encour-
toring this month:
aged to attend."
* A Farmington Hills parent, whose
"After you took me down from the ceil-
ing, I saw a couple of things," Ms. Sadler elementary-aged daughter was asked to
said. "I was appalled at the wording and sing a Chanukah song in the
that elementary-school students would Highmeadow Common. Campus school
be walking home from school wondering chorus, requested assistance in making
what they need to be saved from and what school officials more sensitive to singling
out children because of their religion.
was evil."
* At West Bloomfield High School, the
Ms. Sadler is not alone. The Jewish
JCCouncil
is monitoring the formation of
Community Council is now monitoring
a before-school Bible club.
her case, along with two others.
To help the parents, Ms. Imerman is
Every year around this time, the
JCCouncil receives a few complaints re- working with public-school officials, at
garding apparent violations of the sepa- times explaining the legality of the issue
ration of church and state. Most have dealt at hand.
Although a myriad of laws and legal de-
with nativity scenes on public property,
said Miriam Imerman, the Council's di- cisions govern what is appropriate reli-
gious observance in public schools, many
rector of domestic concerns.
Recently, however, complaints have fo- gray areas exist, Ms. Imerman said.
cused on the formation of after- and be- Secondary public schools, for example, are
fore-school Bible clubs and other covered by the equal access laws which
public-school related concerns. People, Ms. rule the operation of religious groups in
Imerman said, are becoming more aware schools.
Elementary schools, where young chil-
of the bipartisan support for prayer in
public schools. (Members of the dren are not likely to initiate Bible cours-
Republican Party have endorsed a mo- es or other religious programs, are not,
ment of silence and President Bill Clinton however, covered by the laws.
Often, the JCCouncil must rely on the
is considering the issue.)
"It is terrible to assist with this in the PRAYER page 8

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