For Love Of Torah
Yeshiva Beth Yehudah attracts a record crowd to its 88th anniversary dinner.
Copy Editor/Education Writer
etroit's Jewish community
is fragmented into a multi-
tude of religious and cul-
tural beliefs, but the
atmosphere at Yeshiva Beth Yehudah's
88th anniversary dinner proved once
again that these fragments form an
effective and cohesive whole.
The Oct, 27 dinner brought 2,200
people to the Detroit Marriott
Renaissance Center — the largest ever for
the 800-student, Southfield-based school.
More than 200 tables were filled with a
cross-section of the Jewish community,
supplemented by numerous political and
judicial leaders and candidates.
Among those on the podium were
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit,
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing)
and gubernatorial candidates Lt. Gov.
Richard Postht_u-nus and Attorney
General Jennifer Granholm.
"Each year, over the last 10 years,
the annual dinner has grown," said
Gary Torgow, Yeshiva Beth Yehudah
president. "I believe that the dinner
has become the most prominent com-
munal affair in Jewish Detroit because
of the institution's [the Yeshiva's] criti-
president of the Florida region of
cal significance, the great unity our
Women's American ORT.
community enjoys and the wonderful
event the dinner has become."
Like many of those in the audience, the Study Partners
Dr. Conrad Giles, former president
two couples honored this year with the
and current board member of the
Yeshiva Beth Yehudah Torah Guardian
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan
and Golden Torah awards are not mem-
Detroit, is also past chair of the Allied.
bers of the Orthodox community.
Jewish Campaign and president of the
Receiving the 2002 Torah Guardian
Award were Gloria and Edward Meer
of West Bloomfield. "The Meer fam-
ily's extraordinary generosity contin-
ues to help shape the future of the
Detroit Jewish community," Torgow
Most recently, the couple provided
a new gym for Yeshiva Beth
Yehudah's Beth Jacob School for
Girls in Oak Park. •
This year's winners of the Yeshiva
Beth Yehudah Golden Torah Award,
Drs. Lynda and Conrad Giles of
Bloomfield Hills, have together spent
countless hours in service to the
Gloria and Edward Meer
Jewish community. "Both are
extremely dedicated to the communi-
Council of Jewish Federations.
ty and very committed to the success
Dr. Lynda Giles, immediate past pres-
of Jewish education," Torgow said.
ident of the Agency for Jewish
In the audience to see them receive
Education, is currently a Federation vice
their award was Dr. Conrad Giles'
president. She also serves on the boards
mother, Victoria Giles, 92, of
Hollywood, Fla. She is immediate past of JESNA (Jewish Education Service of
North America) and its Continental
Council for Jewish Day School
Education. In addition, she is a board
member of United Jewish
Communities, which represents 156
Jewish federations and 400 independent
-communities across North America.
While Dr. Lynda Giles has been
intimately involved in the educational
programs at Yeshiva Beth Yehudah,
her husband's relationship with the
school began relatively recently.
"Until two years ago, Yeshiva Beth
Yehudah was just a line in the budg-
et," Dr. Conrad Giles said.
Now, he studies every week with
the school's Partners in Torah pro-
gram, in which participants of all ages
pair up, in separate classes for men
and women, to explore the ideas and
values expressed in the Torah.
"Those who have not walked in
the classrooms and corridors of
Yeshiva Beth Yehudah cannot real-
ize the kind of enthusiasm and
sense of dedication this institution
provides for all of us," he said.
Dr. Conrad Giles, whose Partners in
Torah study . partner is Yeshiva Beth
Yehudah President Torgow, was among
several students interviewed in a video
about the program. In addition to Dr.