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May 24, 1996 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-05-24

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s' •





Week's Top Stories


Rebuilding Noah's Ark

The Women's Gift

Community volunteers renew one of the JPM's most used areas.

The concept that started a Federation division
50 years ago has fueled the Jewish women's
movement in Detroit.



yen a biblical landscape
gets a little tired after 40
days (or more) of rain,
whether it's from Noah's
time or from modern Michigan.
Snow and bright sun can also do
their damage.
So dozens of volunteers gath-
ered Sunday on the west side of
the Jimmy Prentis Morris Jew-
ish Community Center (JPM) in
Oak Park to spruce up the 2-
year-old Weinberg Biblical Play-
ground and rebuild the adjacent
DeRoy Preschool Playground.
The daylong, community-wide
effort drew volunteers to rake
new sand and wood chips,
smooth and put linseed oil on the
wooden Star of David and other
wooden structures, tighten bolts,
install steering wheels on play-
ground toys, plant sod and re-
place fencing around the
preschool lot.

Two shifts of volunteers and ASI donated bulldozers,
worked throughout the day to front-end loaders and profes-
brighten one of the most highly sional operators to do the heavy
used areas of the JPM.
"These areas touch everybody
Major area merchants, such
— from grandparents to little as Schechter Landscaping, Sam's
kids," said David Morrison, co- Club, Target, Mercury Paint,
chair of Playground Day
Buttons Rental, Banner
with Todd Sachse and Pa-
Lumber, Bar Processing
Ab ove:
Rosa C hessler and The Jewish News do-
tricia Bernstein.
app lies
The revitalization had
nated everything from
been planned for more linse ed oil. workmen to tools, paint,
than a year and included
hoses and advertising to
project captains Daniel Barth, help the effort.
Richard Gold, David Chomsky,
Many of the items were pro-
Kenneth Silber, Steve Shanbom cured by Terry Nosan.
and Mr. Sachse organizing teams
The $15,000 cost of the recon-
to distribute the sand and cush- struction was defrayed by a ma-
ionwood wood chips, fix the struc- jor gift from the Marilyn and
tures and apply the oil. Other Jerome Soble family, as well as
crews kept refreshments plenti- support from Jerry Kaufman,
ful throughout the day.
Mr. Sachse, Ron Loeb, Jerry Ack-
The volunteers were assisted er, Mr. Morrison and Dr. David
by professionals to handle the Kirsch.
major jobs. Quality Construction PLAYGROUND page 24


sidore Sobeloff was either a
grand marketer or an early
promoter of the feminist
movement. Maybe he was
Whatever his motivation, Mr.
Sobeloff, the former executive
director of the Jewish Welfare
Federation in Detroit, may not
have understood the potential
for the Women's Division that
he created.
Now, 50 years after the or-
ganization's first formal meet-
ing, the division counts 6,664
members and has been respon-
sible for $92 million in dona-
tions to the Allied Jewish
Campaign, $4.8 million in the
last year. It is one of the most
successful federated women's


groups in the country.
"I don't think you ever want
to say always, never or the most
when describing something,"
said Diane Klein, a former pres-
ident of the Women's Division
and a current board member of
the United Jewish Appeal's Na-
tional Women's Campaign.
"But we are pretty close (to be-
ing the most successful)."
The division first started and
has maintained its primary
purpose as a way to raise more
funds for the Allied Jewish
Campaign. Headed by Dora
Ehrlich, the division began the
"plus-gift" in the late 1940s.
Based on the concept that fam-
ilies already made contributions

WOMEN'S GIFT page 20

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