Detroit Dollars At Work
A Place To Belong
Extended-day school programming brings hot lunch and enrichment
to students in Israel's lower-income neighborhoods.
Exclusive to the Jewish News
With the after-school programming, 62,000 stu-
dents, ages 6-12, are in school until 4 p.m., three extra
hours each day, for four days out of the usual Israeli
six-day school week. During those hours, the children
receive extra tutoring and homework help in small
study groups, a hot lunch and lessons in music, theater,
computers, art and martial arts. The involvement of
the Detroit community, $1.8 million, has added 12
schools to the program and 2,100 students.
The Pe'er Am school has 177 students from first
through sixth grade, and 150 children are currently
really affected by unemployment and terror attacks,"
explains Buzaglo. 'And the system really works."
In the two years since the beginning of the
Palestinian intifada (uprising), Hadera has been hit
hard by terror attacks, ranging from drive-by shootings
and bus bombings to the 11 people killed last year at a
bat mitzvah celebration in a banquet hall.
As a peripheral city that has also been affected by the
rising unemployment rate, many Hadera parents can't
afford after-school activities or tutors for their children.
For now, Pe'er Am is offering theater, art and music,
martial arts and technoda, an activity involving elec-
tronics and aeronautics. There is also extra help in
English and Russian as well as art and physical therapy
for the school's special needs students.
"We offer activities, but it's still not enough,"
Buzaglo says. "We need more variety, and it's very lim-
ited for now But it's better than having these kids out
on the street or watching television until their parents
itzhak Albon likes two things most about
the days he stays late in school: lunch and
his "capuera" class.
"They always have something I like to
eat," says the gregarious 9-year-old, chomping on a hot
dog smeared with ketchup. His regular lunch compan-
ions, Omer, Liad and Shimon, all nodded in agree-
ment around the table. All four were working on
plates piled high with rice, cabbage salad, hot dogs
and veggie burgers. The beverage of choice was
magenta-colored bug juice, while dessert was an
The topic for discussion was the boys' afternoon
activity, a martial arts class that Yitzhak called
capuera. "It's not really capuera," says Omer
Almakus, who also is 9. "It's more like judo."
The activity is actually a general martial arts class,
but capuera, a Brazilian sport that combines gyrn-
nastics, acrobatics, music and dance, is one the
hottest activities these days amongst Israeli adoles-
cents. For Yitzhak, the chance to try out capuera —
or judo — is particularly appreciated. If it were not
for his school's extended day program, neither he
Left: Gila Musba helps children at the Pe'er Am Elementary School work on their homework at the extended-day program.
nor his lunch buddies would be able to afford the
Right: Children at the school enjoy an after-school music class.
The boys are students at Hadera's Pe'er Am
get home from work."
participating in the after-school program, according to
Elementary School, one of 12 schools adopted by the
Thas what Shai Pinchas, a sixth grader, used to do
Edna Buzaglo, the school principal. Around 35 percent
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit through the
the after-school program began this past
Jewish Agency for Israel's emergency campaign, as part
according to his mother, Nomi Pinchas, who
of the community's involvement in an extended-day
is a single parent working at a local factory. She used to
homes. The school is in a Hadera neighborhood called
program. The program, run by the Rashi-Sacta
keep Shai at home because she doesn't like him to be
Beit Eliezer, a lower-income community that attracts
Foundation and the Association for the Advancement
around some of the rougher kids in the neighborhood.
many immigrants and single-parent families, given the
in Education, targets schools in lower-income neigh-.
With the extended-day programming, she has
borhoods that also have been more susceptible to terror low rents in the area.
seen the difference in his attitude toward
attacks in the last two years.
school. "It helps him focus on school more," Pinchas
says. "And it helps me to know that he's in good hands,
that he's getting personal attention."
Over in the second-grade classroom, decorated with
lines of cut-out dolls bearing the name of each student,
ichigan Miracle Mission 4 has been scheduled for April 18-28, 2004, by the Jewish Federation
clusters of second-graders were getting help with their
of Metropolitan Detroit with the cost of the 10-day tour at $2,745 per person. The price repre-
homework from one of the teachers brought in for the
sents an early sign-up incentive discount of $150 per person when a confirmed trip deposit is
paid by June 30, 2003. The full price of the mission is $2,895, based on double occupancy
Lital and Amit had just finished their Torah home-
"In spite of the current situation in Israel, our community maintains its hope and great desire to be
work and were. packing up their school bags before
there," said Richard Krugel, who chairs the mission with Peter Alter.
heading over to the library down the hall. "I love when
The trip is an all-inclusive travel package, including the round-trip El-Al flight, leaving directly from
I can do homework in school," says Lital, who did not
Detroit Metropolitan Airport, bus travel, tours, luxury hotel accommodations for six nights in Jerusalem,
want to give her last name. "This way I know it's
six breakfasts and dinners, as well as two nights in Detroit Jewry's Partnership 2000 region of the Central
Galilee, with home hospitality.
"This is what it's really all about," says Vered Ronen,
"We are especially pleased to announce the Michigan Board of Rabbis as co-sponsors of the mission,
a representative for the region from the Association for
along with Federation and the Detroit Jewish News," said Alter.
the Advancement in Education. "We can really see how
Associate Chairs are Scott Kaufman, Lisa Lis, Beverly Liss, and John Marx. Jane F. Sherman is honorary
the kids are progressing by checking grades mid-year. If
chair. Doreen Hermelin, Lawrence Jackier, Ron Klein and Ben Rosenthal serve on the advisory council.
we don't see results, we ask questions. Because we
For information or for an application, call Sally Krugel at Federation, (248) 203-1485.
want to see results." ❑
iscoran For Early Mission Sign-Up