Orchards Chi ldrens' Services remembers itspast as it celebrates its 40th birthday
The pair, who now live in Novi, have
three grown children and three grand-
As the Orchards' founding president,
Abramowitz had to build policies and
procedures; interface with other agencies
and social work professionals; work with
residents and their families; and hire —
and fire.— all employees.
The agency's original housemother got
the ax before the first young residents
showed up. "We were all eating lunch in
the kitchen, and I heard her say to
another staff member, 'Turn off that
From the pages of the Jewish News for
this week 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60
Fresh Air Society and Midrasha
College of Jewish Studies bring the
first Jewish-sponsored Elderhostel
to Michigan, to be held at Butzel
Conference Center in Ortonville.
Oakwood Hospital's neonatal
intensive care unitin Dearborn is
named in honor of Dorothy Shaye.
could have done the work he did, in
growing the organization and in fund-
raising. Jerry's world and my world are
hen Ralph Abramowitz
both part of this organization."•
took over as first presi-
Levin took over leadership at the
dent and CEO of
Orchards in 1966, when Abramowitz
left to accept a position as professor at
Services in 1962, the entire organization
State University's School of
consisted of a single four-bedroom resi-
Pam Glazer, the top-ranked
He remained in the pres-
dential home in Livonia.
American woman in karate, plus
ident's chair for 33 years, until his
A program of the National Council of
two others, pass up the chance to
sudden death in 1999 on the
Jewish Women, Greater Detroit Section,
with the United States
Michigan Miracle Mission to Israel.
its mission was to provide residential
because the trials are
To honor him, the organization rec-
treatment for troubled Jewish boys.
ognizes its top volunteers with the
Today, the Orchards has 187
full-time employees, based in
Children. Award. Representing
Wayne, Oakland and Macomb
Mrs. Ralph Davidson, a founder of
Levin family at the Sept. 20
counties. No longer a sectarian
the Metropolitan Detroit Chapter
organization -- and no longer in
Hadassah, receives the Shalom
Randie Levin of Bloomfield
the residential treatment business
for her services and leader-
Hills, and daughter, Amy Levin
— the child welfare agency super-
Olson of Sterling Heights.
vises about 430 boys and girls in
The exhibition "Synagogues From
foster care and about 350 in family
Damascus to Newport: Five Centuries
caring, nurturing environment.
situations at any given time.
of Jewish History" opens at the
"I tried to develop a culture
Metropolitan Museum in New York.
dren," said Randie Levin, who is
where all employees would be sen-
director of agency relations at the
sitive to a child's needs," said
Federation of Metropolitan
Abramowitz, who was honored
The Canadian census shows Jews
"He would have been
Sept. 20 as Orchards' staff and vol-
moving out of cities and into sub-.
unteers celebrated the agency's 40th
urbs as a growing trend.
for this celebration."
Jewish Theological Seminary of
Abramowitz said his goal was
America in New York City opens a
to assure that everyone at the
Ralph and Harriet Abramowitz help dedicate 0 rchards
Michigan regional office in Detroit.
sectarian, developed two addi-
Orchards — from the young peo- Children's Services' Abramowitz Conference Roo .
m tional group homes, and started a
ple hired as residential counselors
day camp, baseball league, after-
to the cook in the kitchen — would
light or I'll chop off your hand.' This
Joseph Holtzman heads a commit-
school ails activities and respite care.
come to the point where they realized
was not the way I wanted our boys to b e
tee arranging a celebration for
Said Olson: "No one who knew my
"how the kids responded to them was
treated," Abramowitz said.
actor-comedian Eddie Cantor's
dad could doubt that he loved this
a function of who the kids were, not a
upcoming visit to Detroit.
agency with all his heart. He tried to
judgment of what kind of person they
leave no stone unturned in attempting
To Rescue Children
to make children safe, to maximize
"When kids are acting out,"
Another early employee passed muster
The Detroit unit of Junior
their chances for success."
Abramowitz said, "they are showing
in a big way. Gerald Levin, then a
Hadassah sponsors a membership
"Of all the great fathers, he was the
their problems, repeating their histories,
graduate student at Eastern Michigan
tea and Sukkot party at the Jewish
greatest," she later added.
so you don't get caught up in what
University in Ypsilanti, came on board
Deborah Dinco, Orchards president
they're trying to make of you."
as an Orchards child care worker dur-
The Jewish Welfare Federation
and CEO since 1999, said the organi-
Abramowitz, a native New Yorker,
ing the agency's first year.
of Governors and Detroit
zation's past 40 years have been filled
graduated from City College and went
"I could see his love for children,
Service Group decide that the
on to earn a master's degree in social
and also a bit of sadness in his eyes,"
Detroit Allied Jewish Campaign
"Times have changed, but our com-
work from the University of Pittsburgh,
said Abramowitz of the man who
will participate in the War Chest of
mitment to placing children in stable
where he met his wife, Harriet. A for-
would become. the Orchards' second
homes hasn't," she said. "The key to
mer social worker in the.Bloomfield .
— Compiled by Holly Teasdle,
our success is dedication to our mis-
Hills Schools, she is an adjunct professor
"Jerry helped build the organization as sion to better the lives of Michigan's
archivist, the Leo M Franklin
at Wayne State University in Detroit.
it is today," Abramowitz said. "I never
Archives, Temple Beth El
Copy Editor/Education Writer
a c .may