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January 13, 1995 - Image 24

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

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

Quality you can build on,
a name you can trust.

HILLELS page 23

Though the itinerary is not fi-
nal, planners expect to visit
Michigan's sister region, the cen-
tral Galilee, where metro Detroit
will team up in a "Partnership
2000" program fostering joint eco-
nomic, cultural and academic en-
deavors.
At a recent gathering of Hil-
lel of Metro Detroit, a handful of
young adults shared their en-
thusiasm over the impending
trip.
Kevin Elbinger, Joel Davidson,

Jason Roskind and Aaron Kleid
anticipated an exciting spring-
time excursion.
"When I was there before, I
didn't get to see anything because
of the Gulf War," Mr. Kleid said.
"This time, I want to see every-
thing." ❑
" or rnA a inf ormat3oa.,call
Hind
-34
'.'(313)
769-0500; MSU Hillel at (51.7)
332-1916; Or Jeff Kaye at (810)

64242.60.

Jewish In The City,
Teachers Share Issues

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hen I took my class to
the Holocaust Memori-
al Center, I got a lot of
flack (from other teach-
ers). It didn't matter how rele-
vant I made it," says Rita Sitron,
an English teacher at Cass Tech-
nical High School in Detroit.
Ms. Sitron, and some 30 other
Jewish teachers from the Detroit
Public Schools, last month par-
ticipated in a by-word-of-mouth
meeting to discuss whether there
is anti-Semitism in the schools.
The teachers shared their ex-
periences — from pressure to
wear Santa hats before Christ-
mas to rumors of prayers at a hol-
iday assembly at Osborne High
School. Ms. Sitron has heard
comments like, "Oh, you're wear-
ing your Star of David."
But no one attending last
month's meeting described inci-
dents directed at individual Jew-
ish teachers as systematic or
blatant anti-Semitism.
"It's ignorance," says Marlene
Swarin, a speech therapist who
returned to work in Detroit Pub-
lic Schools in 1993 after a 20-year
absence.
She mentioned an incident
that she heard had happened in
a school several years ago. An as-
sistant principal, distributing do-
nated Christmas ornaments,
opened a classroom door and
asked a teacher, "Are you a Jew?"
Ms. Swarin is asked numerous
questions about Judaism by fel-
low teachers and students. She
services two elementary schools
near Linwood and the John
Lodge freeway: Glazer (named
for the late Rabbi B. Benedict
Glazer of Temple Beth El) and
Thurgood Marshall (formerly
Custer).
She downplays talk of anti-
Semitism in the schools. "There
are lots of Jews in the Detroit
Public Schools and lots in my de-
partment," she says, "I'm happy
to be back; it's been great."
On the other hand, Ms. Swarin
shares an experience with Ms.

Sitron. Formerly a volunteer at
the Holocaust Memorial Center,
she was surprised to find the
HMC missing from the list of "ap-
propriate field trips" published
by the Detroit Public Schools.
Richard Lobenthal, Michigan
Region director of the Anti-
Defamation League — one of the
meeting co-hosts — said the De-
cember session for Jewish teach-
ers was called because "we've
heard all kinds of things.
"We asked people what their
life was like as a Detroit teacher
and no one could say that the
schools were anti-Semitic or that
the schools didn't care. But there
were a lot of individual incidents,
things that were anti-women or
anti-white."
Mr. Lobenthal says the public
perception about working for the
Detroit Public Schools is nega-
tive. "But if you ask the Jewish
teachers in individual schools, it's
a great job."

Individual incidents,
but "a great job."

The meeting was an out-
growth of regular discussions be-
tween Mr. Lobenthal, David
Gad-Harf of the Jewish Com-
munity Council of Metropolitan
Detroit, and Sharona Shapiro of
the American Jewish Commit-
tee.
"We started hearing a common
theme from phone calls and fliers
sent to us," Ms. Shapiro says.
"There was concern about the
schools' Afrocentric education
thrust and summer workshops
that talked about Jews and the
slave trade."
Notices about the December
meeting were sent to a limited
number of teachers because some
"were worried about making too
big a deal. over this," Ms. Shapiro
says. "But it became clear that
they enjoyed hearing from one
another and networking." ❑

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