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Beth Ahm to send its students to Adat Shalom religious school.
Copy Editor/Education Writer
same on our side — it's great to have more kids for our
kids to be friends with."
Blackman emphasized that Beth Ahm is not abandoning
its younger families. "We are enhancing other avenues of
youth and family programming," he said. "Right now,
we're in the midst of hiring a family and youth director."
That Beth Ahm is eliminating its religious school should
not be seen as a sign of an overall loss of popularity in sup-
plementary Jewish education, said Rabbi Judah Isaacs, exec-
utive director of the Agency for Jewish Education of
"The majority of kids who are enrolled in Jewish educa-
tion of any kind still go to supplementary school, even
eth Ahm Synagogue, one of the oldest
Conservative congregations in the Detroit area,
announced this month that it will no longer run
a religious school.
Member families will be able to send their children to
Adat Shalom Synagogue's Beth Achim Religious School at
the same rates as Adat Shalom members.
Although Beth Ahm has seen enrollment in its Natalie and
Manny Charach Religious School decline over the past few
years, this does not reflect on the overall health of the syna-
gogue or the quality of its religious school, said Sidney
Blackman, president of the West Bloomfield congregation.
Instead, enrollment declined because many of the syna-
gogue's younger families have been sending their children
to Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit, located in
Farmington Hills, rather than to a public school followed
by supplementary religious classes.
"We happen to have the highest number of students at
Hillel Day School of any synagogue in metro Detroit,"
Blackman said. "And I'm talking about total numbers,
According to the Hillel Day School accounting office,
80 students at the school list Beth Ahm as their home
Blackman said he was not complaining about the sit-
Members of Beth Ahm Synagogue's nursery school graduating
"If every Jewish kid in the city was going to day school,
class, June 2000.
I'd love it," he said. "It's the best education possible."
With the number of students enrolled at Hillel, not
enough students are attending Beth Ahm to make its reli-
though day schools have grown exponentially," Rabbi
gious school program economically or educationally feasi-
Isaacs said. "It's a serious issue for congregations, especially
ble, Blackman said.
Conservative congregations, but nobody is giving up on
. "It wasn't fair to the kids," he said. "They need to be
them [supplementary schools]."
with their peers."
The AJE supports supplementary schools with extensive
teacher training, material resources and support for educa-
tional directors and family educators, the rabbi said.
By The Numbers
With 450 member families, Beth Ahm is one of the
As recently as five years ago, 150-200 students attended
area's smaller Conservative congregations. Congregation
Beth Ahm's religious school. Last year, that number
B'nai Moshe has about 500 member families;
dropped to 55-57 in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Congregation Beth Shalom, 630; Adat Shalom Synagogue,
Last year, the synagogue began a joint high school pro-
1,350; and Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Southfield and
gram with Congregation B'nai Moshe. For the coming
West Bloomfield, 2,100.
school year, this program will be disbanded.
Beth Ahm was established as Beth Abraham Synagogue
Adat Shalom will accept all Beth Ahm students, from
in Detroit in 1892. Shortly after, it merged with Beth
kindergarten through high school age. Beth Ahm Rabbi
Hillel Synagogue, also of Detroit. The congregation moved
Charles Popky will be involved in the Adat Shalom pro-
to its present site on West Maple Road in 1971, and, in
gram, and Beth Ahm members will join the education
1975, joined forces with Congregation Beth Moses, anoth-
committee of the Farmington Hills synagogue.
er formerly Detroit-based shul.
"We're looking forward to having them here," said Elissa
On Jan. 1, 2000, the synagogue changed its name from
Berg, Adat Shalom education director. "It's understandable
Congregation Beth Abraham Hillel Moses to the current
that parents want their children in larger classes. It's the
Beth Ahm. At that time, it had 620 member families. ❑
Temple Israel in West Bloomfield
opens a temporary shelter for the
homeless, serving food to 29 guests.
A groundbreaking ceremony is held
at the Jewish Community Center in
Eric Jay Rosenberg receives
Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook
School's highest honor, cum laude,
upon completing the 11th grade —
an honor usually given to graduat-
Oscar M. T azrus, secretary of the
National Conference of Christians
and Jews, donates to establish a center
for interreligious affairs to fight big-
otry and improve Christian-Jewish
Jewish Historical Society of
Michigan presents to the Detroit
Public Library Burton Historical
Collection a printed catalogue from
the American Jewish Archives in
-, www‘k,, u2gwNxw4:%k.n Vk-t.
Morris Karbal joins "Torah Pioneers"
to aid the Detroit-based Beth
U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren
and his wife visit Hadassah-Hebrew
University Medical Center during
their stay in Israel.
Cornell University completes a
study of Jews in small towns —
communities of less than 10,000 in
New York state.
Erwin S. Simon is elected presi-
dent of Detroit-based Jewish
wok\ x Avv‘
It was reported the Nazis killed
24,000 Jews in Vitesbsk, Russia.
The highest award for bravery
given by Great Britain, the Victoria
Cross, was presented to Commander
Myer, captain of a submarine.
— Compiled by Holly Teasdle,
archivist, the Rabbi Leo M Franklin
Archives, Temple Beth El