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January 13, 1995 - Image 1

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-01-13

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

INSIDE: DETROIT/KIDS LEARN HEBREW NAMES; BUSINESS/BUCKLE UP IN BERKLEY;
FAMILY AND CAMP/PARENTING AND SUMMER OPPORTUNITIES

750

DETROIT

THE JEWISH NEWS

1 2

SHEVAT 5755/JANUARY 13, 1995

Bittersweet Memories

Marilyn Cohn, a hospice patient who
died alone, is remembered after all.

PHIL JACOBS EDITOR

PHOTOS BY GLENN TR IEST

M

Temple
In Turmoil

Members of Temple Beth El attend Committee
to Save Temple Beth El meeting Jan. 4.

Beth El's
board votes
to place
Rabbi Polish
on sabbatical
and appoints
a search
committee to
find a
replacement.

JILL DAVIDSON STAFF WRITER

F

or the second time in eight
years, the board of trustees
of Temple Beth El has vot-
ed to end a rabbi's tenure.
After a seven-hour meet-
ing last Sunday, the board voted
22-11 to place Rabbi Daniel Polish
on a paid, one-year sabbatical, ef-
fective June 30, 1995. His official
contract ends June 30, 1996, the
last day of the sabbatical.
The board directed the presi-
dent to appoint a committee to
seek a replacement for the rabbi.
The search has no target date.
The vote followed three weeks
of turmoil. Letters in support of
both the board and the rabbi were
sent to congregants and a meet-
ing in support of Rabbi Polish was
held. Recall petitions were circu-
lated and congregants asked to
have a closed board meeting
opened.
Temple president John Kamins
said the board's primary concern
was that membership numbers

were falling as the temple's deficit
was rising.
Another board member, who
asked to remain anonymous, said
that trustees heard many com-
plaints from congregants that the
rabbi did not respond to the per-
sonal needs of the congregants.
Complaints ranged from un-
availability to serve at life-cycle
events to missing condolence calls
for longtime members.
Rabbi Polish said he was upset
by the decision.
"I am disappointed and sur-
prised. I hoped that the support
from the congregation would
translate to the board, but ap-
parently it did not," he said.
He also acknowledged that con-
gregants had shared stories with
each other about their pastoral
needs not being met.
"There are always going to be,
in any congregation, all kinds of
anecdotes about the rabbi. You

TURMOIL page 14

arilyn Helene Cohn
loved Sander's butter-
cream-frosting cake.
She had a particular
flower arrangement she always
raved about, even though it was
artificial.
People say Marilyn had a "lit-
tle girl" quality about her, though
she was a woman in her 60s.
When she died at age 64 last
November — save for Rabbi
Bunny Freedman, director of
Jewish services for the Hospice of
Southeastern Michigan, and two
Chesed Shel Emes employees —
she was alone.
After a Dec. 2 Jewish News ar-
ticle reported her solitary death,
several people came forward with
memories of Marilyn Cohn. Linda
S. Portnoy of Seattle even plant-
ed three Jewish National Fund
trees in her memory.
Little is known about Marilyn

Cohn. She lived the best years of
her life with her father, David
Cohn, a clothing salesman who
died in his 90s last April.
Mr. Cohn passed away while a
resident of a group home in
Detroit. Marilyn lived there with
him. Diagnosed as schizophrenic,
she was unable to care for herself
and, therefore, followed her fa-
ther all the way to his death.
Her mother died when Marilyn
was young. She was raised by her
father and grandparents.
"She was always very shy," said
Alan Frenkel, a cousin, who until
seeing The Jewish News story did
not know of his relative's death.
The family lost touch with one an-
other, he said.
"No one called us about it. We
all felt very badly. I had not seen
Marilyn for 30 years. I remem-
ber her as being a pretty girl. She

MEMORIES page 10

When Jews Venture
Into Space

NASA's Jewish astronauts are the latest in a long line

of wanderers and wonderers who look to the stars.

LOIS K. SOLOMON SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS
Story on page 54

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