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August 02, 2002 - Image 47

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-08-02

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

Communit

Maze! Toy!

After Betty and Eddie Schwartz
renew their wedding vows,
friends andfanzily dance a Nora.

A Vision Of Love

Eddie and Betty Schwartz rea zrm their wedding vows after 60 years.

DIANA LIEBERMAN
Copy Editor/Education Writer

IVIIT hen Eddie and Betty
Schwartz asked Rabbi
Avie Shapiro to officiate
as they celebrated their
60th anniversary with a second wed-
ding ceremony, the rabbi was conflict-
ed.
On one hand, the event was sched-
uled for July 14, smack in the middle
of the Nine Days — the period of
extreme mourning between the first of
the Hebrew month of Av and the fast
day of Tisha b'Av.
On the other hand, the request
came from Eddie and Betty Schwartz,
perhaps the most beloved couple at
West Bloomfield's Fleischman
Residence.
"So I asked my rabbi (I'm not going
to tell you his name — why should we
both get in trouble?) and we came up
with some compromises," Rabbi
Shapiro said.

As a result, about 150 friends, rela-
tives, Fleischman residents and staff
gathered in the building's central
meeting area, Blumberg Plaza, to
drink cranberry juice and hear modi-
fied blessings at what was termed a
" get-together" — not a celebration.
The couple's daughters and sons-in-
law, Terri and Leslie Swartz and Joyce
and Jack Polsky, all of West
Bloomfield, held the four corners of
the chuppah, the traditional wedding
canopy, which had been fashioned by
Leslie from a tallit (prayer shawl).
Great-granddaughters Abby Rochlen
of Southfield, 21 months, and
Hannah Aronow of Cleveland, 2'/2,
threw flowers along the path of the
happily married couple — and then
brought smiles to everyone's faces as
they began picking them up again.
But the broadest smile in the room
was on the face of Eddie Schwartz —
a man who had proved that, despite
nearly lifelong blindness, he could
have a happy marriage, build a career,

raise a family and keep savoring every,
thing life has to offer well into his
eighth decade.

Hand In Hand

The Schwartzes were married in 1942
at the Detroit home of Gertrude
Gilbert.
"I was 24; she was 22, but we kept
company for six years before then,"
Eddie Schwartz said.
Gilbert, now 93 and living in
Farmington Hills, attended the
Fleischman event. "My mother made
all the food," she remembered.
The Schwartzes moved to
Fleischman more than three years ago
from Florida, where they'd gone after
selling their Livonia home. Both
native New Yorkers, they originally
came to Detroit because of a Michigan
law giving the blind first option to run
newsstands.
Over the years, the pair operated
three newsstands. At Detroit's Liquor

Commission and Lafayette Clinic,
they ran the cafeteria along with the
newsstand.
"My parents were always at the cafe-
teria by 5:30 in the morning to start
the coffee," recalled daughter Terri
Swartz. "They called home to make
sure I was up and ready for school.
"They worked incredibly hard all
the time I was growing up; they were
completely devoted to making a good
life for their family."
In his sermon, Rabbi Shapiro, who
works year-round with Fleischman res-
idents, made several references to
Eddie Schwartz's blindness. He noted
that some of the audience may feel
this was insensitive.
"Eddie Schwartz knows he is blind,"
Rabbi Shapiro said. "But through his
blindness, which many would term a
disability, he has become a teacher to
many of us, teaching us the impor-
tance of not taking life's blessings for
granted." ❑

8/ 2
2002

47

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