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April 07, 1995 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-04-07

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

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Passover Preparations, 5755

Many of us are getting ready to celebrate the
most observed of Jewish holidays.
The photos and illustrations of the family gath-
ered around the neatly ordered seder table are
famous. Father or grandfather leads the service.
The youngest child asks the Four Questions.
What we don't see in their "happy" faces are
the weeks since Purim of cleaning. The stress of
making sure that each forsaken crumb is vac-
uumed, dusted and removed from drawers, clos-
ets, pantries and even automobiles.
By now, many of us have endured the stress
that hits our pocketbooks this time of year that
comes with the purchase of hundreds of dollars
of kosher for Passover products. Like the clean-
ing, the shopping brings its own special stress.
Yes, having a house that is as free of chametz
as possible is important. Of course, certain prod-
ucts must be purchased. But there is so much
more that also must be given priority.
For us to be worthy, for us to enjoy and to ap-
preciate the freedom of our heritage, there's oth-
er "chametz" that must be cleaned out. Some
of us have "cleaned" so much, we've missed the
point of the holiday. There are still crumbs,
crumbs of cruelty, whether through mean-spir-
ited gossip or actual physical abuse of our chil-

dren, our spouses or our parents. Let's work on
cleaning this out of our lives.
There's the expense we pay for not observ-
ing the practices of Judaism beyond the High
Holidays and the seder. Studies have shown that
the seder is our most celebrated Jewish family
event, even more so than Rosh Hashanah. Many
of us can remember "Ma nishtanah," but we don't
know how to light Sabbath candles. It's more im-
portant for our youngest to see their parents
bring the light, the warmth of those candles into
their lives, their homes than to receive an
afikomen prize.
Let's open the door for Elijah next week. And
let's keep that door figuratively open.all of the
year. Clean out your closets. But dust off your
souls and your ways of living as Jews as well.
It's the best answer to any question your chil-
dren might ask.
Why is this night different from any other
night?
Try asking another question each morning:
"How can I make this day better for myself, my
family and my world?" We won't need a Hag-
gadah to find that question, or the answers. We'll
find them hopefully where God left them. Inside
of ourselves.

No Wall High Enough

If there's one thing Jews know about, it's the idea
of walls.
For centuries, walls quarantined Jews from
their gentile neighbors, and some of these walls
made it that much easier to maim and kill the
Jews they contained. Our experience with such
structures gave new meaning to the Italian
word, "ghetto." — literally foundry, named for
the building near the first Jewish ghetto in
Venice in 1516. Since then, memories of walls
have been seared into our collective Jewish con-
sciousness.
So it is disturbing to us that Israel has re-
sponded to its fully justifiable concern about ris-
ing terrorism with plans for a great wall to
separate Israelis from Palestinians.
On a practical level, it would be prohibitive-
ly expensive to build and maintain a wall ex-
tending more than 200 miles and to deploy the
troops and police forces and high-tech equipment
necessary to make the barrier even halfway ef-
fective.
On the West Bank, the fence-builders would
have the seemingly impossible task of creating
a jigsaw puzzle of a barricade, keeping the Jew-
ish settlements in and the Palestinians out.
Traditionally, the only way to guarantee im-
penetrable borders is to apply massive deadly
force, a specialty of nations like the former East
Germany. Israel, the Middle East's only democ-
racy, lacks the utter disregard for human life
that it takes to make walls relatively impene-
trable.

A wall excluding Palestinians would be a crip-
pling blow to the battered economy of the new
Palestinian self-rule areas and a wonderful new
opportunity for the Islamic fanatics who have
successfully exploited the economic misery of the
Palestinian people.
A wall, too, would create a de facto Palestin-
ian state, something most Israelis continue to
oppose, and it would make it that much hard-
er for Israeli officials to have a hand in shap-
ing a democratic Palestinian entity that acts
aggressively to combat terrorism.
And then there is the awful imagery of walls
erected to separate people. Even if such a con-
struction offered a modest improvement in se-
curity, which is debatable, the negative
symbolism of a Jewish state creating a self-im-
posed ghetto would be devastating to Israel's ef-
forts to undo decades of diplomatic isolation.
We agree that providing enhanced security
for Israel's citizens should be a top priority for
the government in Jerusalem. We understand
the agony of a country that has seen too many
of its own citizens blown to pieces in bombings
perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists who have
found it relatively easy to spread their special
brand of chaos.
But in the end, the only real security will come
with a comprehensive set of treaties between Is-
rael and all her neighbors and a carefully erect-
ed network of economic and personal
relationships that will turn the fancy diplomat-
ic words into reality.

Letters

Only The Best
For The Children

Our Detroit Jewish community
has been following with great in-
terest the deliberations of the
board of directors of Hillel Day
School following the announce-
ment of Mr. Jay M. Kogan's in-
tent to invest in Jewish education
via Hillel Day School with a $5
million_gift.
Acceptance of the gift, which
is the largest individual gift ever
offered in the history of the De-
troit Jewish community, would
mean that the school would move
from its present campus to land
owned by the United Jewish
Foundation — the Jewish Fed-
eration of Metropolitan Detroit.
The new school campus would be
on a site that is presently shared
with the Hechtman Apartments,
the Holocaust Memorial Center,
the Fleischman Residence and
the Jewish Community Center.
Because of the move as con-
templated by the potential gift
and the widespread implications
of a decision either way, the ex-
ecutive committee of the board
convened a task force to study
these implications and report
back to the board their delibera-
tions and fact findings pertain-
ing to the potential relocation.
The findings were brought to
the board in written and oral re-
ports at our March 7, 1995 meet-
ing. The board has been meeting
weekly and now is in the process
of reviewing, questioning and
seeking further clarification
where necessary, all toward the
end of reaching a consensus.
The Board is in agreement
that we want only the best for our
children both now and in the fu-
ture. We want the best teachers,
with the proper environment for
them to teach. We agree that re-
gardless of location, teachers and
textbooks make the success of a
school.
We also agree that the Hillel
mission statement must not
change, nor shall our affiliation
with the Solomon-Schecter Day
School movement change.
It will be difficult to decide
what is best for the majority of
all concerned. The final decision
will carry with it thorough study,
including a sensitivity toward the
emotions of the move, that edu-
cationally we will gain, and that

we can afford it. No one will per-
mit the fiscal integrity of the
school to be jeopardized. It has
become a community issue. We,
as part of the community and a
board, have an obligation to par-
ticipate in the future of day-
school education.
Whether we accept the gift
and move or not, Mr. Kogan's
generosity has put the impor-
tance and need for Jewish edu-
cation for now and the future in
the minds and on the lips of our
Jewish community and has
raised the consciousness of the
community to local needs.

Robert I. Schostak
President
Hillel Day School

Reader Remembers
The Children's Home

I did not share the same experi-
ence that was expressed in your
article about the Jewish Chil-
dren's Home. I grew up in the
home beginning at age 5 because
my parents died. Living at the
home gave me security, struc-
ture, a safe environment to eat,
sleep and play. Mother (Fannie)
Lasser, Dr. and Mrs. Hersh, Al-
ice (our main cook), Mr. New-
mark, Mr. Perkel and Rabbi
Luke took care of us and treated
us like their own children.
I felt like I had more brothers
and sisters than I could ever
want, and had opportunities that
other kids may not have had liv-
ing in such poor times. We went
to the movies once a week, saw
cartoons every Friday night,
went to Belle Isle and the circus.
For me the loneliness came
when I had to leave the home at
age 17. I lived in several foster
homes before I enlisted in the
Army. The families were always
nice, but I felt like an outsider,
like I didn't belong or fit in. It was
a very empty feeling.
I am not ashamed or embar-
rassed about growing up in the
home.
If you were in the home from
the years 1926 to 1938, please
call (810)539-3126. We have re-
unions and would love for you to
attend.

Sol Smith
West Bloomfield

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