. Service vice president,
shows fifth- and sixth-
graders some of the
items packaged by
workers in the
Copy Editor/Education Writer
t was called the Care Van — a
school bus commissioned by the
Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit for a tour
of local Jewish social-service agencies.
The bus carried 18 fifth- and sixth-
graders and their families to the Jewish
Community Center and the
Fleischman Residence, both in West
Bloomfield. Then it went across town
to the Southfield headquarters of the
Jewish Vocational Service.
"The purpose of the day was two-
fold," said Kari Alterman, Federation's
director of community outreach and
"First, they saw, in action, some of
the agencies they learned about at
Tzedakah Fair in January. And they
also learned how doing volunteer work
makes the Jewish community a better
and stronger place."
Most Conservative, Reform and
Humanist congregations now require
volunteer work as part of the bar or
bat mitzvah experience. But 12-year-
olds rarely know what agencies are
available in the Jewish community, or
what these agencies do.
This was the first of two tours
designed to remedy that situation.
The second is scheduled for 9:45
a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7.
The program was the idea of Douglas
Bloom, co-chair of Federation's
Annual Campaign 2002.
Marcia Liebson, educational direc-
tor at Temple Emanu-El, went on the
Care Van with her nephew, Ben
Levin, 11, of Oak Park.
"I thought it was very good, and
Ben thought it was very good,"
Liebson said. "I wanted to see what it
was like and to see if I should tell
people to go on the next one. And I
For his part, Ben, who is going into
sixth grade, has decided to volunteer
at the Jacob's Ladder program. It is a
series of short-term classes for seniors
who live at the Fleischman Residence,
Hechtman Apartments and Meer
Apartments, all in West Bloomfield. -
At JVS, the visit included a video
and a tour of the agency's Southfield
facility. In all, JVS runs programs at
"The Jewish Vocational Service is a
sectarian agency that provides services
on a non-sectarian basis," Barbara
Nurenberg, the agency's president, said
on the video. "For many people, 'I am
my job and my job is me' is where
they're coming from."
Karol Friedman, JVS vice president,
was among the agency's tour guides.
"Everybody has different abilities,"
Friedman told the young people. "We
want everyone to be able to work at
the top of their ability."
This may mean helping laid-off
executives polish their resumes —
along with their self-confidence —
through individual and group sessions.
Or giving a boost to newly divorced or
widowed homemakers seeking their
first paying job; running a sheltered
workshop where those with mental or
developmental impairments can earn a
salary; or providing work for retired
senior citizens who want to stay active.
JVS runs a transition program, with
job coaching and shadowing, for grad- . ;
uates of the Detroit Public Schools'
special education programs. The
Southfield headquarters of JVS also
houses one of the two sites for the
Dorothy and Peter Brown Jewish
Community Adult Day Care Program,
where seniors with Alzheimer's disease
or other forms of dementia can spend
the day in activities that give respite to
their family caregivers. The other pro-
gram site is in West Bloomfield.
As the tour wrapped up, Katie Hess,
who will celebrate her bat mitzvah at
Temple Israel, had begun to consider
volunteering at Fleischman, while
Stephanie Indianer, of Congregation
Beth Ahm, had decided to work at
Yad Ezra, the Berkley-based kosher
Lea Selitsky, whose bat mitzvah will
take place at Temple Emanu-El, said
she wants to do "something with ani-
Fortunately, Gail Greenberg, pro-
gram coordinator at Jewish
Experiences For Families, had a good
Jewish answer right up her sleeve.
"Try CHAI [Concern for Helping
Animals in Israel]," she said. "They're
on the Internet." ❑