Young Adult Committee
The Fourth Annual
Beyond- The Headlines
"Everywhere you go, whether talking to a general, a,
hen Israel is not in the news in America,
minister, a cab driver or a person on the street,
we tend to forget that it is caught in a
knows when this is going to end. That is just as
tailspin — one very real and very trou-
psychologically as the constant threat of terror."
• Ming, says Robert Aronson, Detroit
agree that the Palestinians aren't going to heed
Jewry's top communal professional and among the
George W. Bush, even though they consider
North American federated network's most respected
and that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
anything will change.
The chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of
to this feeling that there is no solu-
Metropcilitan Detroit recently spent 10 days in the
Jewish homeland to attend the Jewish Agency for Israel
Part of his fear for the tiny country he first visited as a
Assembly and gauge the continuing impact of the latest
is the economic duress. Once revved by high-tech
the economy now suffers from high unemploy-
In the comfort of his second-floor office in the Max
personal savings, too few good-paying
M. Fisher Federation Building in
tourists to spend money in the hotels,
Bloomfield Township, Aronson spoke
candidly about the state of life today in
"Many, many people I talked to were going to leave
the neighborhoods of Israel nearly 22
for the summer, just to get away from an unbe-
months into the deadly intifada.
tense situation," Aronson said.
In a revealing, heartfelt interview with
cuts in government spending live hurt, too.
the Jewish News, Aronson challenged the
isn't a segment of Israeli society that hasn't
Detroit Jewish community. "We have to
— education, social welfare, even relative-
re-do and re-think our agenda as a com-
ly small things like tourist sites or digs, things that are
ROBERT A. munity," he said, "to make sure that we
part and parcel of what Israel is," Aronson said.
do something about the lack of any kind
of hope on the horizon."
Lending A Hand
The fractured economy, the threat of
In April, the Detroit Jewish community closed an Israel
terror, the government cutbacks, the isolation of the
Emergency Campaign (IEC) of one-time gifts that
people — "these factors have combined to - create almost
yielded more than $7 million for Israelis victimized by
a state of depression in the country," said Aronson, a
frequent Israel visitor whose love for the
Keeping schools open this summer in
land is undeniable and infectious.
Hadera, a town near the West Bank, is one
At the same time, he said, "there is a
example of channeling IEC dollars toward
tremendous determination that should not
keeping kids safe.
"The kids say it's wonderful because
He said many of the walls he saw in .
they're together," Aronson said. "They're
Jerusalem and Tel Aviv contains this graffiti
not isolated in their homes, but in a pro-
message in Hebrew: "There is no land
beyond this land."
With a boost from the IEC, the United
To Israelis, he said, that means, "Our
Jewish Communities, the North American
backs are up against the wall. This is our
federated umbrella agency, has raised the
country. We have no place else to go and
number of kids receiving "safe haven" sum-
we're not going anywhere."
The message underscores the "strong
mer studies from 100,000 to 250,000.
Aronson came away from the June 21-
conviction" among the people, he said,
1 trip convinced that we must do more
despite "a very, very depressed feeling in
than send Eretz Yisrael money — urgent as
that is. He's right in passionately asking
that we work harder to educate every age
Detroit about what's going on there in
The despair that often clashes with- the will to survive
among Israelis "gets to you after a while," Aronson said.
The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, which
"It works on you to where you can feel how it must feel
sponsored four mini-missions over the past 18
to the families who are there."
is planning to hold its fourth Miracle Mission
He said he was struck by "how very difficult life has
in the spring of 2004.
become in Israel, not just in certain segments of society
Aronson wants to concentrate on
that we're accustomed to seeing, but literally up and
varied backgrounds to Detroit to
down the society."
personally with us. Notably,
Children especially feel the impact. For example, he
enjoy part of the summer at
said, scouts who used to camp for several weeks in
Ortonville, thanks to funding
forests now camp over a weekend in a fenced public
"That gave me such an appreciation of how much eas-
ier life is here for Jews than it is there," he said;
He then recounted the deep frustration pervading the
biblical land of 6 million people, most of whom are
Young Kids of
1:00 to 3:30 PM
lain or Wits
Irving and Beverly Laker
Education & Youth
2075 Walnut Lake Road
mimes & amen
Arts n' Crafts
Treats & Prizes
To voluittoor or
(248) 538-6610, ext. 349
Little Things Count
In Israel, any gesture of diaspora support resonates. The
BEYOND THE HEADLINES on page 6
30301 Northwestern Hwy.
Farmington Hills, MI 48334