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January 17, 2003 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-01-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Staff Notebook

A Senate Leader


ilda Z. Jacobs has been sworn in as a state
senator after serving six years in the
Michigan House of Representatives.
"Growing Michigan's economy will be critical in
the coming months as Michigan grapples with an
enormous budget deficit," said Jacobs, D-
Huntington Woods, who represents the 14th State
Senate District. "I look forward to
working with Michigan businesses
to create new jobs and improve
Michigan's business climate."
She also looks forward to work-
ing with the governor and legisla-
ture on policy to protect and assist
Michigan children and families.
Formerly Democratic floor leader
in the House, she will now be assis-
tant Democratic floor leader in the
Sen. Gilda
She will serve as the minority
vice-chair for both the Senate
Committee on Economic Development, Small
Business and Regulatory Affairs and for the Senate
Committee on Families and Human Services. She
also will serve as a member of the Committee on
Government Operations and the Committee on
Health Policy.
She can reached toll-free, at (888) 937-4453;
e-mail, sengjacobs@senate.mcihigan.gov or by mail,
P.O. Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48009.
New lawmakers were sworn in Jan. 8.


— Robert A. Sklar

High-Tech Siddur

abbi Eli Mayerfeld, executive director of the
Yeshiva Beth Yehudah, has found a way to
combine religion with technology — and to
raise a little money for the school at the same time.
The story began when Rabbi
Mayerfeld, who earned a bachelor's
degree in computer engineering
from New York's Cooper Union,
bought a Palm Pilot. The device
was a lot more durable than the
paper pocket calendar he'd been
using, and it had several useful fea-
tures. But it was missing one cru-
cial ingredient.
The pocket calendar — a freebie
Rabbi Eli
from the Orthodox Union had
included the daily prayers and
other necessities for traditional
Jewish observance. Nothing similar
was available for the Palm Pilot.
"I talked to my brother in Israel, who said he was
working on Hebrew support for the Palm Pilot,"
said Rabbi Mayerfeld, who has worked at the
Southfield day school for 10 years. "That's great for
Israel, where they write addresses in Hebrew, but
what_good would that_do_for the rest of the




In what he laugh-
ingly refers to as his
"spare time," Rabbi
Mayerfeld developed
software to install
Hebrew texts of the
siddur (prayer book)
and parshah (section
of the Torah) of the
week, without
affecting the Palm
Pilot-installed fea-
tures that are in
"I posted it, and
people were down-
loading it," he said.
"But I kept playing
with it, perfecting it,
making it easier.
"Finally, I had this
great personal
siddur. I wanted to
share it with the
The software is
available on the
Internet for $10
each, or for an $18
donation to the
Yeshiva Beth
Yehudah. In the three years since he developed the
program, the school has reaped about $1,000,
Rabbi Mayerfeld said.
"People who buy it are from all over the world,"
he said. "I get a tremendous kick out of hearing
from them. The chief rabbi of Singapore e-mailed
me for more information."
Since he began tinkering with the Palm Pilot,
Rabbi Mayerfeld has added several other applica-
tions to his siddur, including the prayers for

"Now, when you march with the lulav [palm],
you can also march with your Palm Pilot," he said.
For more information about Rabbi Mayerfeld's
Palm Pilot applications, follow the links from

— Diana Lieberman

ews Found In Arctic

n Vorkuta, north of the Arctic Circle and in the
former Soviet Union, a Jewish community has
been discovered.
The site had once been called "Stalin's Polar
Death House," a place where Jewish prisoners
worked long days in the coal mines and slept in bar-
Sharon Faulkner, photographer and explorer, was
sent recently to Vorkuta to check out rumors of Jews
living at the top of the world. She was sent by the
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
Faulkner and a JDC representative found about


Brian Blondy and
mother Linda Glass,
both of West
Bloomfield, joined
with participants
from 14 states on
Renaissance II
Mission, the second
in a series of missions
aimed at reviving
tourism in Israel.
They are shown with
Ronit Elhayani, who
was critically injured
in the suicide bomb-
ing on bus 32A at
the Patt Junction
in Jerusalem on
June 18.

2,000 Jews in this town where coal was still mined.
The community had a mayor, deputy mayor, old
and young people, many of them children of those
former prisoners.
There was no synagogue, no kosher food, no
Hebrew schools. Most people didn't even know they
were Jewish. Lifelong friends discovered each other's
Jewish identity, but they'd never thought to ask
"But they are eager to learn," says Faulkner.
The JDC plans to work with the community, as
part of their mandate is to aid Russian Jewry.

— Keri Guten Cohen

MLK Peace Walk

he city of Southfield will hold its 18th annu-
al Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Peace
Walk Celebration beginning at 10 a.m. Jan.
20 at Hope United Methodist Church, 26275
Northwestern Highway.
Keynote speaker will be Dr. Robert L. Green, pro=
fessor of urban affairs programs for Mighigan State
University and a noted expert on urban issues,
including the impact of race, education and employ-
ment on individuals and communities. Dr. Green
worked for Dr. King as education director of the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference from
The Peace Walk will leave at 10:45 a.m. from the
church. The walk will be followed by a program at
11:30 a.m. at the Southfield Pavilion in the
Municipal Complex at 26000 Evergreen Road.


— Keri Guten Cohen

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