INSIDE: DETROIT/ CYBER-SONIC AT TEMPLE ISRAEL;
NEXT GENERATION/ YOUNG, INVOLVED, IN BUSINESS.
THE JE:\X/jETIRIii NEWS
22 ADAR H 5755 / MARCH 24, 1995
More JCC Changes
Reorganization at the top,
and modifications for members.
JENNIFER FINER STAFF WRITER
A fter 19 years of supervising the
day-to-day operations at the
Jewish Community Center of
Metropolitan Detroit, execu-
tive director Morton Plotnick
has a new title and different
Now the executive vice
president/director, Dr. Plotnick will de-
vote his energy to generating money for
the JCC through fund raising, endow-
ments, sponsorship and long-range plan-
Leah Ann Kleinfeldt, the Center's as-
sistant executive director since 1990, as-
sumes responsibility for day-to-day
operations. Now the associate executive
director, Ms. Kleinfeldt supervises the
health club, sports and fitness, member-
ship, marketing, cultural arts and adult
services at both the Maple-Drake and
Jimmy Prentis Morris facilities.
"We have talked about making these
changes for a long time," JCC president
Douglas Bloom said. Implementing
them fits into the Center's plan to even
out the JCC's budget, he
Slowly, a wide range of
changes will occur at the JCC
as Center officials work toward
a goal of increasing health-club
membership and generating
The Center is giving out free passes to
prospective health-club members, and ear-
lier this month JCC doors began opening
at 5:30 a.m. weekdays instead of 6 a.m. A
marketing director has been hired to fo-
cus solely on membership development
and customer relations.
Subcommittees were formed to "help
us know what kind of Center we want to
end up being and what kind of money
we need to do that," Mr. Bloom said. They
are now examining what other revenue-
producing services can be added, how
to make better use of volunteers and
working to understand the demograph-
ics of membership structure. Other sub-
committees are looking at customer
relations, sales and marketing and us-
lays from a rainy-day fund. With $200,000
left in the fund, the board decided to seek
other methods for balancing the budget.
To avoid a projected $450,000 deficit for
1995, the JCC recently laid off eight em-
ployees and made cuts in areas like senior
services, the library and
the Discovery Room. In
total, cuts are expected
to save the JCC $300,000.
"We cannot and will
not present a deficit bud-
get to the community,"
Mr. Bloom said. "Most
the cuts we've made will
be reinstated, although I
cannot say when."
One of the first services
to be reinstated is the
Center's library, which
age patterns in the
closed Feb. 1. Center offi-
cials secured enough fund-
Center officials are
ing to reopen the library
focusing on the Maple-
and have set May 1 as a
Drake building because
target date. Cultural Arts
its health club accounts
director Chris Lewis is
for the biggest mem-
to hire a librarian
Membership at the Jimmy Prentis who will also be responsible for program-
Morris is growing, Mr. Bloom said. "We're ming. Ann Parker, the staff librarian for
not ignoring JPM. We are trying to un- the past decade, was offered the job, but de-
derstand it better. We want to see how clined because of the position's expanded
much we generate in revenue and what it responsibilities.
The Center this year also will save
costs us. We want to see what we're giving
$60,000 in membership dues to the Jewish
people for their money," he said.
The Center had been running a deficit Community Center Association, the um-
for several years. Board members voted brella organization for JCCs nationwide.
to cover the yearly shortages with dol- JCC page 8
Akiva will provide male and female students
with separate secular classes.
JILL DAVIDSON SKLAR AND JENNIFER FINER STAFF WRITERS
So Many Chiefs
Israeli mayors get a firsthand
look at Michigan.
PHIL JACOBS EDITOR
Story on page 40
contents page 3
r. David Beneson believes separating the sex-
es at Akiva Hebrew Day School is an idea
whose time has come.
Last week, Akiva parents received a letter,
signed by school president David Beneson, explain-
ing the board of directors' decision to implement sep-
arate-sex classrooms in secular studies beginning
When the process is complete, all secular studies
for seventh- through 12th-graders will be separate.
The younger grades will not be affected.
This will mark the first time in Akiva's 31-year his-
tory that the sexes will be separated for secular cours-
es. (Religious studies classes for grades seven-12
already are taught separately.)
"The change announced here is not an indication
that Akiva's philosophy or commitment has changed
one iota," Dr. Beneson's letter reads. Rather, it is
an effort to follow "a halachically appropriate format,"
improve the quality of education, and recognize
"changing realities within the Jewish community as
Barry Eisenberg, Akiva's executive director,
stressed that the primary reason for the change was
to "achieve excellence in education."
The first to be affected will be ninth-graders, for
whom the change will go into effect for the 1995-
1996 school year. Then every year, for the next five
years, an additional grade will be split until the 7th
through 12th grades are completely separate.
The decision will not impact students already en-
rolled in grades nine through 12.
School officials said the move has been in the works
since the school was formed 31 years ago, but could
not be implemented until now because it would have
been too expensive. Akiva's financial situation has
changed in recent years thanks to an increase in the
school's enrollment, fund-raising efforts and what
Mr. Eisenberg describes as better management tech-
"We had a commitment to the founding fathers
that at the point in time when the school had the
numbers to allow a split and was financially able, we
GENDER SPLITTING page 10