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January 19, 1996 - Image 166

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-01-19

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

"PM

Ike

on Self Defeating Behavior

A Mixed Blessing
From A Woman's Will

JOSEPH AARON SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

Noted Author, Lecturer & Psychiatrist

Dr. Abraham Twerski

Director, Gateway Rehabilitation Center, Pittsburgh

will be in Detroit to offer his uniquely
Jewish perspective on drug and alcohol
abuse, as well as his compassionate
insight into the mind of a person-driven
to self destructive behavior.

A colorful and unusual personality, Dr.
Twerski is a member of a prominent
Chassidic dynasty, and a founder of
one of society's most successful
rehabilitation programs.

Monday, February 5
8:00 pm

Free Admission

Maple/Drake JCC

A program of the The Daniel Sobel Friendship Circle
Co-sponsored by the JCC and The Jewish News

TH E DETRO IT JE WISH NEWS

THE JEWISH NEWS

For information about the lecture or the Daniel Sobel Friendship Circle
please call Rabbi Levi Shemtov at (810) 855-1212

DANIEL SOUL

FRIENDSHIP

CIRCLE

,04tao‘qzusawalsowt.
-

Lorna Sakalovsky
• Distinctive • Collectible • Charming

Available at:

Tradition! Tradition!

(810) 557-0109
Alicia R. Nelson

id you ever feel like you
don't know how to feel
about something?
I've felt that way the
last couple of weeks.
That's because of the story of
Anne Scheiber. In the parlance
of the news biz, Anne Scheiber
is one of the best "human inter-
est" stories to come along in quite
awhile.
For me, it's a story that has
evoked more mixed emotions
than any in quite awhile.
You've probably heard the ba-
sic facts by now. Ms.
Scheiber was a spin-
ster who lived in the
same rundown
Manhattan stu-
dio apartment
for decades
and who spent
her career
working as an
auditor for the
Internal Rev-
enue Service un-
til her retirement
in 1943.
From that point
on, she basically did
nothing but play the stock
market. She began with $5,000.
By the time of her death a year
ago at the age of 101, she had
amassed a fortune of $22 million.
Ms. Scheiber's story, incredi-
ble enough on its own, made the
news because in her will, she left
all $22 million to Yeshiva Uni-
versity in New York, a school she
never attended, a school she nev-
er had any contact with.
In her will, Ms. Scheiber spec-
ified that the $22 million be used
exclusively for scholarships and
loans to female students. Why?
Because she believed the IRS
had discriminated against her
because she was Jewish and a
woman.
Ms. Scheiber's stockbroker
said she did little else but play
the market and spent virtually
none of the money she made. She
wore the same cheap black coat
and hat, never bought furniture,
lived in a rent-controlled apart-
ment where the paint peeled
from the walls. Indeed, Ms.
Scheiber didn't even spend mon-
ey to follow the market. She'd go
to the library to read the Wall
Street Journal.
Which is where my ambiva-
lence begins. On the one hand,
what a testament to the gen-
erosity of the Jewish people, to
the idea of tzedakah, to helping

Joseph Aaron is the editor of
the Chicago Jewish News.

fellow Jews, to helping make the
world a better place.
And yet, I must admit I found
myself cringing while reading
about the story. Time magazine,
for instance, included with its sto-
ry a red box that read, "She
would visit the library to read the
Wall Street Journal without pay-
ing for it."
Now, I know the natural Jew-
ish reflex here is to blame the me-
dia, call it anti-Semitic, biased
against us. But I don't think it's
that at all. The stories were fair,
accurate and treated the
whole thing with
just the right
touch of be-
musement
that such an
odd, intrigu-
ing story
called for.
What
made me,
and perhaps
other Jews,
uncomfortable
is that it so ties
in to stereotypes
about us. Yes, on the
one hand I am proud that
Anne Scheiber gave all her mon-
ey to tzedakah, that she wanted
to do something to make sure
young Jewish women won't be
discriminated against like she
was.
But her single-mindedness,
her frugality convey an image of
Jews I'm not exactly thrilled
about.
I'm ambivalent, too, about
Anne Scheiber herself. On the
one hand, you've got to respect
her financial acumen.
And I admire what she did
with her fortune. Admire that
she didn't spend it on lavish
things for herself, but gave it to
tzedakah. And gave it in such a
noble way: She gave it away
when she could no longer bene-
fit personally from it.
And she gave it to help Jewish
women, a great cause too often
overlooked in the male-domi-
nated world of fund-raising and
fund-giving.
While in death, Anne Scheiber
acted very Jewishly. But I'm not
sure she's much of a role model
in having lived a life that, in so
many ways, was not very Jew-
ish.
She never married, never had
children. Family; as we know, is
at the heart of what being a Jew
is. Ms. Scheib sr was a loner, had
contact with almost no one ex-
cept her attorney and her stock-
broker. That is not a Jewish life.

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