e voti on
the disabled people in the same class regardless of their disability and
regardless of their age? How could I be able to learn in that kind of a
structure and in that kind of system? What chance would I have?"
His candidacy is endorsed by the United Automobile Workers, the AFL-
CIO and the Michigan Education Association. Indeed, it was his close ties
with labor that led to his nomination at the state Democratic convention
in August. "[Running] was a joint decc2n with these organizations. We all
worked together to save special ed, and afterwards we decided it would be a
good idea to run for this position to keep up the fight," says Bernstein.
"Wayne [State] represents the idea of hard work and determination and
people who don't necessarily have a franchise. People who attend Wayne
have to work very hard to get where they're at and have greater challenges
than those who attend other universities."
Bernstein, who spent his undergrad years at the University of Michigan
in Ann Arbor and graduated from Northwestern University's law school in
Evanston, Ill., feels a special bond with Wayne State students, thanks in
part to his disability.
"I dickizto to Wayne, but it's the issues and concerns of students and
issues and concerns of the community that affect Wayne that I'm most
passionate about. I want to fight for people who don't have it so easy. I
love working with people who have to work to get an education," says
Bernstein, who was student body president of U-M's College of Literature,
Science and the Arts in 1995-96. "Those are the people I admire the most,
people who want an education so bad that they're willing to work day and
night for it."
Since August, Bernstein has been crisscrossing the state to reach out to
voters. His parents, family and friends drive him. He is a trial lawyer in
the family law practice: His father is Sam Bernstein of 1-800-CALL SAM
fame and brother Mark is also in the practice. Mother Susan is not, but
sister Beth is in her second year at the Northwestern law school.
Other candidates for two seats on the WSU board are Democrat Leon
Atchison of Detroit and Republicans Diane Dunaskiss of Lake Orion and
Andrew McLemore Jr. of Detroit.
Bernstein routinely puts in 19- and 20-hour days, traveling from func-
tion to rally to conference and back again. "It keeps life very interesting
and I think it makes it fun. At the end of the day, you feel like you've
done something worthwhile," he says.
In addition to his lifelong efforts on behalf of the disabled, Bernstein's
platform is focused on increasing Wayne's funding in order to reduce
tuition. He plans to work closely with the state Legislature.
"The model the state uses for funding is really prejudiced towards
Wayne. Over 50 percent of the students at Wayne are part-time students,"
Bernstein says. "The majority of students that go to U-M and MSU are
full-time students. As a result, U-M and MSU get much more funding
because of the full-time vs. part-time ratio the state uses."
Bernstein also promises to work on issues concerning Wayne's Jewish
student population. "My mission, if I am so lucky to be elected to this
position, is to make sure that I represent everybody — but that I especial-
ly make sure that students who are attending the university Who are Jewish
are protected, that their interests are protected, that they don't feel intimi-
dated and that they have a sense of belonging on their campus."
But Bernstein is concentrating on the bigger picture, and not just a por-
tion of Wayne's 31,000-strong student body. He chalks up his enthusiasm
and optimism to his unique perspectives on life.."I look at politics very
differently than do most politicians, because I look at politics as a vehicle
to make a difference and make things better for people. It doesn't matter if
I'm doing it, if you're doing it, or if the people walking down the street
are doing it. "When you're blind, getting through the day is a real chal-
lenge. Just getting down the street is a real challenge.
"What happens is you're not afraid to take on things that most people
think are impossible,- because you're used to living in a world where every-
thing is 'impossible.'"
and T-shirt. Contact Jonathan
Goldstein, (248) 203-1471.
(734) 482-0456 or
e through 30-some-
thing. This calendar is published
the second and fourth Fridays of
Oct. 13 Sunday, 4-7 p.m. EMU
Hillel Ultimate BBQ, with frisbee
and food at Riverside Park,
Ypsilanti. Cost: $3: RSVP to Brent
Yarkin, (734) 482-0456 or hilleljc-
Oct. 13 Sunday , 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Jewish Federation Young Adult
Division co-sponsoring the 16th
annual Fame Games for atheletes
with disabilities. Free breakfast, lunch
Oct. 25 Friday, 6 p.m. Young Adult
Division Shul Crawl at Keter Torah,
Orchard Lake and Walnut Lake
roads, West Bloomfield. Sephardi
Shabbat service followed by dinner.
Dinner is $12. To RSVP, call Alaine
Waldshan, (248) 203-1486.
Oct. 17 Thur,sday, 7 p.m. EMU
Hillel movie night. Spaceballs,
prizes, food and games. No charge.
For location, contact Brent Yarkin,
Oct. 25 Friday, 7 p.m. "Shabbas
for a Novice" catered dinner at
EMU Hillel. Cost: $5. RSVP by
Monday, Oct. 14, to Rachel
Fauman, (734) 482-0456 or
Hillel of Metro Detroit is accepting
applications for 18- to 26-year-olds
to take free Birthright Israel trips in
December to Israel. Persons who have
never traveled to Israel with a peer
group before can apply at Hillel's
Web site, www.hillel.org