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June 02, 1995 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-06-02

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A Vote Of Confidence
For The Whole Community

For years, those in our community interested in
the future of its educational scene have won-
dered what life would be like in this communi-
ty if Hillel had a high school. Those moments of
conjecture and "what ifs" could come to an end
after hearing this week of Jay Kogan's landmark
S4 million gift toward the establishment of a Hil-
lel high school. A high school will offer educa-
tional continuity to Hillel students who now must
go different routes following eighth-grade grad-
uation. The school also could provide an impor-
tant option to Jewish families throughout our
If there's one warning that needs to be heed-
ed, it comes in the form of strategic planning and
cooperation for all of our educational bodies in
conjunction with Federation. Last week, we
learned of Rabbi Bergstein's efforts to open a
new day school. This week, it's the Hillel project.
It's easy to say, "the more, the merrier." How-

ever, this community, with its limited resources,
cannot afford to overtax the efforts and funds of
its community members. Before the concept of
"community" high school takes further root, it's
important that the existing educational insti-
tutions at least get word on the effect, if any, a
new school or new schools will have on the over-
all educational community. The last thing need-
ed is for educational institutions to become
jealous of one another. All of this should be be-
yond the petty. It's more a case of whether we're
five or 20 schools, we're still in this together.
A new Hillel high school could impact other
institutions. Not necessarily in number of stu-
dents, but in resource availability. Not to put a
damper on Hillel's triumph, because it is cer-
tainly an announcement to celebrate, we're ad-
vocating caution for the future that keeps the
community together and its voices heard through
planning and communication.

The Case For Shavuot

Back before Lee Iacocca took over, the Chrysler
Corporation was the also-ran of the Big Three
American automakers, not quite up to the stature
of Ford and General Motors. No one thinks that
way today.
So maybe we could use some smart Iacocca to
help pump up the image of Shavuot, the Chrysler
of the Big Three Jewish agricultural/pilgrimage
holidays (the others are Pesach and Sukkot).
The holiday, which begins at nightfall Saturday,
commemorates God's giving, at Mt. Sinai, of the
Torah to the Jewish people and the world. This
is the moment supreme in our tradition. But,
outside of the Orthodox community, most Jews
do little to celebrate Shavuot.
That's because Shavuot is a victim of circum-
stances. While Memorial Day opens our swim-
ming pools, by the time Shavuot rolls around,
many of us have jumped into our summer rou-
tines. That means fewer hours in synagogue,
Jewish programs and anything other than va-
cation and relaxation.
But look•again, with your leisure-bound mind-
set. Like other Jewish holidays, there is a pha-
lanx of fun customs and traditions built into this
celebration. Shavuot has its unique food and rit-
w ual• Readings include the Book of Ruth, with its
LU two female protagonists, and an important chap-
ter from the Book of Ezekiel.


It is customary to eat dairy foods on the hol-
Shavuot's position as an early summer fes-
tival makes it perfect for covered-dish get-to-
gethers for families. Shavuot means "weeks,"
as the holiday falls seven weeks and a day af-
ter Pesach.
And then there is the tradition — college stu-
dents get ready — the Shavuot all-nighter. Dur-
ing the tikkun leil Shavuot, or the night of
repair, Jews study together until dawn. This
mystical custom parallels the days the Israelites
prepared before receiving the Torah. A num-
ber of Detroit synagogues will carry on this cus-
Historically, the pastoral Book of Ruth re-
flects the agricultural roots of Shavuot as the
gathering of the first fruits. And, paralleling
the communal meeting with God at Sinai, the
first chapter of the prophet Ezekiel, in which
he envisions God's chariot, reflects a personal
encounter with the Holy One.
We but scratch Shavuot's surface here.
Shavuot commands your energy and calls for
your attention. So, as the talmudic scholar Hil-
lel said, go and study — even if it takes all night.
When it comes to Judaism, be your own Lee Ia-


Fein Article
`A Disservice'

I believe that Leonard Fein's ar-
ticle, "Embracing Poverty's Ene-
my," was offbase and a disservice
to the Jewish people. It is not a
"shame" or "disgrace" that Newt
Gingrich is to be honored by the
Theological Seminary of Conser-
vative Judaism. Although you
may not agree with some of Mr.
Gingrich's policies, he is possibly
the strongest and most influen-
tial member of Congress, and one
of the strongest supporters of the
State of Israel.
Israel and the Jewish people
need support from the broad
spectrum of the political arena.
The only way to gain this support
is to provide support in turn. Mr.
Fein seems to have a social jus-
tice litmus test which matches
that of many of the recently de-
feated former members of Con-
gress. It is noteworthy to be
involved in social justice, as Jews
have always been and will con-
tinue to be. However, I am afraid
that if Mr. Fein had been in
charge of Jewish politics, Israel
and the Jewish people would
have lost their support when his
acceptable politicians were put
out of office in the last election.
Where would we be then?
Jeffrey J. Kahan
Bloomfield Hills

A Wrong

The Clinton administration now
has an opportunity to correct a
"wrong" committed against Is-
rael 15 years ago. In July 1980,
President Carter acquiesced in a
U.N. Security Council resolution
calling upon member states to
take their embassies out of
The result was that 10 diplo-
matic missions moved out of
Jerusalem. In 1980, the U.S. Sen-
ate overwhelmingly approved a
resolution introduced by Sen.
Patrick Moynihan recognizing
Jerusalem as the capital of the
State of Israel. At that time, too,
the Arabs raised a hue and cry,
threatening bloodshed. But the
Senate was not intimidated and
Arab threats fizzled out.
Today, President Clinton and
Secretary of State Christopher

are voicing disapproval of a res-
olution proposed by Senate Ma-
jority Leader Bob Dole, with the
support of House Speaker Newt
Gingrich, calling for the transfer
of the U.S. Embassy from Tel
Aviv to Jerusalem, as an "ill-
timed initiative that is likely to
disrupt the peace process." Once
again, the Arabs are threatening
a Mideast Armageddon, sensing
— it seems, correctly — that the
Clinton administration is "weak"
and more susceptible to black-
While Israeli Prime Minister
Rabin has given the Dole initia-
tive a tepid signal of approval, an
unnamed aide traveling with the
prime minister let it be known
that adoption of the Dole resolu-
tion would prove "embarrassing
and counterproductive." As if on
cue, some ultraliberal pundits
and columnists intimated that
Sen. Dole's initiative smacked of
political expediency and should
be treated as such.
For years, Zionists and Israel
activists have been pushing for
U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as
Israel's capital. President Clin-
ton has pledged — time and
again — to make it so. It be-
hooves the president to reject the
counsels of fear and intimidation
and come out boldly in support
of the Dole resolution. The U.S.
can ill afford to repeat the polit-
ical folly on Jerusalem commit-
ted by the Carter administration
15 years ago.
Ezekiel Leikin
Executive Vice President,
ZOA — Detroit

Reflecting Community's
Enthusiasm At Library

Hats off to Jennifer Finer for the
terrific article on the reopening
of the Henry and Delia Meyers
Memorial Library at the
Maple/Drake Jewish Communi-
ty Center. She accurately re-
flected the enthusiasm of the
entire community concerning our
We wanted to remind your
readers that the JCC Library is
a community library and is open
to everyone, whether or not he or
she is a Center member.
Lee Kepes, Susie Rosenzweig
Friends of the Library Committee

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