Caring Staff Places Elan Seniors
hen I first heard the news
that Elan Village in
Southfield would close
for good on July 31, I
started to feel a vast personal devasta-
tion. I had been seeing and visiting
residents at Elan for almost three years
every Sunday at 10 a.m. for a
Sarah, Feival, Al, Ben, Sarabell,
Gertrude and so many more seniors
were not just strangers that I would
see once or twice a week; they had
become family. My first concern was
where would "my family" go to live?
For those who kept kosher .... where
would they go so as to be able to keep
a "kosher home"?
Fleischman Residence in West
Bloomfield had announced that it
Jay Korelitz is a Farmington Hills resident.
hadn't any rooms available, leaving
Menorah House in Southfield and the
new Meer Jewish Apartments in West
Bloomfield as the only other kosher
facilities available for accommodation.
Little did I know that two angels
were waiting in the wings to look after
The "last Havdalah" at Elan was
July 28. I knew that there would only
be three residents to celebrate our
beautiful tradition. I admit that dur-
ing the week leading up to July 28, I
was saddened by the prospect.
My nervousness was eased after talk-
ing with two people at Elan. Marcia
Mittleman, executive director of Elan
Village, and Janet Antin, director of
admissions, were also, if not more,
concerned than I as to where "their
family" would go. Little did I know
that they had a plan.
American Jewry Passes The Test
hen the history of the
current Middle East con-
flict is written, Israel's
killing of Hamas chief-
tain Salah Shehada may not turn out
to be a decisive moment in the Jewish
state's war on Palestinian Arab terror.
While the attack on Shehada's hide-
out was justified — civilian casualties
notwithstanding — there will be
other murderers to take his place. And
despite signals that the Palestinians'
determination to go on pursuing their
bloody war of terror against Jews is
waning, there is no end in sight to the
Soon enough Shehada, and even the
innocents who went to their deaths
because he hid among them, will be
forgotten. If there is anything we
should have learned by now, it is that
this war — that Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat launched in September
2000 — never seems to run out of vic-
tims, both Israeli and Arab, or killers.
But the Israeli bombing of Gaza that
targeted Shehada deserves to be noted
for other reasons. It provided a clear
test of the good sense and steadfastness
of American supporters of Israel, who
found themselves in an uncomfortable
position when the front pages pro-
claimed that Israel had killed 14 Arab
civilians, including nine children.
Jonathan S. Tobin is executive
editor of the Jewish Exponent in
Philadelphia. His e-mail address is
jtobin @jewishexponent. corn
It was, perhaps, the moment that
Israel's critics had been waiting for: a
seemingly clear-cut case of Israeli
wrongdoing that could stampede the
hitherto solid American Jewish con-
sensus behind support for Israel's right
of self-defense against terrorism.
Unlike the invasion of Palestinian
Arab towns and cities in April after
the Passover massacre and other horri-
ble terrorist attacks on Israeli targets,
the Gaza bombing could be portrayed
as pre-emptive rather than reactive.
And though much of the world
press was quick to cry "massacre" dur-
ing the brutal house-to-house fighting
in the Jenin refugee camp that month,
the charge had not resonated as easily
among Americans. Indeed, it was soon
proven to be a transparent hoax, and
never gained traction here.
But the facts of the Shehada attack
were plain enough. If Israeli intelli-
gence thought they could take him out
without killing others, they were mis-
taken. The decision to use an
American-made F-16 jet to deliver the
bomb to be dropped on his lair, com-
bined with the initial laudatory reac-
tion reported from Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon (which made no mention
of the civilian casualties), created a situ-
ation tailor-made for Arab propaganda.
The pictures of dead children being
held aloft during the ghastly funeral
procession for Shehada by his many
fans in Gaza were enough to make
even the most steadfast of Israeli sup-
But as the days passed, it became
With undaunting diligence,
ably be in new jobs.
both Mittleman and Antin
As for me, it has turned out
proceeded, one-by-one, to
better than I expected. Ten of
place each and every resident
the residents were placed in
in quality care facilities.
Menorah House, where I con-
More than 50 residents of
duct a Shabbat service each
Elan were given new homes
Friday. Sixteen of the resi-
within about six weeks. It bog-
dents were placed at
gles the mind to think of all
Fleischman, where I visit
the work these two rare and
KORE LITZ every Shabbat afternoon.
exemplary representatives of
Plans are under way to start
the Jewish community were
up a new Havdalah program
able to do in such a short time.
at one facility, where I can
And Fleischman somehow
still see many former Elan res-
tweaked this and that, made a move
idents every Sunday morning.
here and there, so as to provide room
Yes, there are concerns with the resi-
for 16 former Elan Village residents.
dents about this dramatic lifestyle
Kudos to Fleischman.
change. But with the help of
When I recently talked to Antin, she
Mittleman, Antin and other profession-
told me of plans for she and Mittleman
al personnel taking extra time to work
to visit all the residents in their new
one-on-one with each resident, I have
homes, even though both would prob-
seen a calming effect on the residents.
clear that the hopes of the
any more pristine than those of
anti-Israel crowd and the fears
the far more fastidious Israelis.
of Israel's friends were similarly
Nor could anyone here credibly
misplaced. There had been
claim that if American forces
times in the past when the
knew the location of Osama
leaders of American Jewish
bin Laden's hideout that anyone
denominations, as well as
in this country would care
some public policy groups,
whether the terrorist's entire
had run for cover when Israel
JONATHAN extended family.— or even the
was depicted as the villain.
population of a small city —
One such instance was the
were with him if U.S. bombers
beginning of the first Arab
Commentary attempted to take him out.
intifada (uprising) against
Not that there weren't a few
Israel in December 1987,
left-wing Jews willing to jump
when the late Yitzhak Rabin — then
on the anti-Israel bandwagon. So-called
serving as defense minister — prom-
alternative American Jewish voices who
ised to "break the bones" of Arab riot-
earn their notoriety — and talk-show
ers and was denounced by many Jews.
invitations — via ads in the New York
But it didn't happen this time.
Times were quick to castigate the Israelis.
Though the temptation to stand in
Others picked up on the not-so-
moral judgment over Israel was, no
subtle leaks from the U.S. State
doubt, tempting for some of the self-
Department (where Secretary Colin
infatuated leaders of American Jewish
Powell and his clique are still pouting
organizations, most resisted.
about President George W. Bush's
Condemnations only came from
rejection of their anti-Israel policies in
two insignificant left-wing groups,
his June 24 Speech) that claimed that
while just about everyone else either
a cease-fire might have been achieved
kept their mouths shut or worked
but for the killing of- Shehada.
furiously to put the incident in proper
This, too, was a familiar line of argu-
perspective. While some Israelis folded
ment, since several times before when a
in the face of condemnation and were
leading terrorist had been eliminated,
even prepared to make concessions to
Jewish leftists were quick to believe
atone for the operation, most
that Israel's counterattack, rather than
American Jews held their ground.
the continuing Palestinian terror cam-
Indeed, it wasn't long before the .
paign, was to blame for the violence.
news media was being swamped with
Some Jewish leaders who might
letters and e-mails defending Israel's
have wavered held fast. Rabbi Eric -
actions. And though regret over the
Yoffie, head of the Union of American
deaths of civilians was nearly univer-
Hebrew Congregations and someone
sal, their arguments were powerful.
who has not been afraid to criticize
Few Americans could deny that the
Israel in the past, told the Jewish
actions of our own armed forces during
Telegraphic Agency that some in the
the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan were
Reform movement wanted him to