A Good Citizen
Special to the Jewish News
oting may be a commonplace event for many
people, but for Micah Fialka-Feldman of
Huntington Woods, his first election was a
milestone he'll never forget.
Fialka-Feldman, a senior at Berkley High School, has
a developmental disability that affects his ability to read
and write, but that hasn't deterred him from learning
about and becoming involved in politics, both local
His knowledge about the candidates and the issues
surpasses that of many more experienced voters. He has
spent hours perusing various political Web sites, read-
ing newspapers and watching relevant television pro-
"Micah's a political junkie," said his sister Emma, 14.
"Who else would bring the results of the last six exit
polls to the dinner table and expect us to discuss
Fialka-Feldman's parents, Rich Feldman and Janice
Fialka, helped Micah celebrate this landmark with a
"First-Time Voting Party" Nov. 3. Approximately 50 -
friends and family members came to eat bagels and
share their own first-time voting stories.
"My dad talked about voting for [Harry] Truman in
1948," said Janice Fialka. Her father, Albert Fialka,
came in from Flint to help commemorate the occasion.
Fialka-Feldman, who declares himself a Democrat,
said he was voting for Jennifer Granholm for governor
'because he feels that Michigan needs a change. He
especially likes Granholm's plans to improve the public
At the Democratic election night party at the
Renaissance Center in Detroit, which he attended with
his father and sister, Fialka-Feldman said he cheered
when Granholm's victory was announced.
"I'm very excited that we have our first woman gov-
ernor," he said. "She really wants to help the people."
Fialka-Feldman's involvement in politics began long
before the recent election. For the past two years, he
has been a board member of KASA (Kids As Self
he Hebrew names for adherents to
different faiths — a Jew Yehudi, a
Christian Notzri and a Samaritan
Shomroni — refer to geographical
places in Israel. Can you identify them?
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Rich Feldman accompanies his son, Micah Fialka-Feldman,
who voted Nov. 5 in his first election.
Advocates), a national advocacy organization comprised
of young people with disabilities who want to make life
better through political activism.
Improving and expanding public transportation, both
locally and throughout the country, is an important issue
to Fialka-Feldman, because many people with disabilities -
are unable to drive.
He also speaks at various conferences and before classes
of future special-education teachers about school inclu-
sion and other issues affecting people with special needs.
"When you have a child with a disability, you learn to
rebuild your dreams, to nurture their strengths," said
Fialka, who is a nationally recognized author and lecturer
on the topic of children with special needs.
"Micah has revived our sense of awe about the whole
voting process," she said. "We've heard this from many
of our friends, too. He takes this so seriously. He asks
questions and he really wants to pick people that are
Rich Feldman echoes his wife's sentiments: "We're
very proud of Micah because he really understands
what citizenship and involvement are all about. He
understands the issues, he studies the candidates. He's a
good citizen." ❑
"I feel protected and happy and surrounded by love, and like my
ancestors are looking down at me, happy that I am doing a mitzvah."
Manly Zack, 8, West Bloomfield
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"Life goes on. We have to make sure it goes on.
I won't stop sitting in cafes. We can't let terror
— Itzhik Elbaz, an employee at Rif Raf Cali; in
the wake of Palestinian terror bombings that have
prompted Jerusalem cafes to tighten security, as
quoted in the November issue
of Hadassah magazine.
"We tried to make this music easily accessible to
the congregation. They already knew many of
the words, so the comfort level was there. We
used melodies that were familiar -- but now
some of the melodies have a reggae beat, some
have a contemporary beat and others are pure
— Cantor Regina Heit of Congregation Emanuel
in Denver, Colo., about "Shabbat Unplugged" a
monthly Friday-night service that draws 500 700
worshippers, as quoted in the winter issue of
Reform Judaism magazine.
"There is no richer language in all the world."
—Alexander Brenner, head of the Jewish commu-
nity in Berlin, Germany, and a native speaker of
Yiddish. He was reacting to Leo Rosten "The Joys
of Yiddish" hitting German bookstands as
"Yiddish, A Small Encyclopedia," 35 years after it
first appeared in English and five years after the
author's death, as quoted by JTA.
"Our daughter's too shy and reserved,
Nonplussed," said a mom "and unnerved."
"I think you've forgotten,
Es vet gornisht shatten
Ti um shiddach* her husband observed.
— Martha Jo Fleischmann
Friday, Nov. 8: 4:59 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 15: 4:52 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 9: 6:02 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 16: 5:56 p.m.
* It won't hurt her any in making a nuptial
To drag or pull or lag behind.
(Source:The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten, McGraw-Hill)