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March 28, 2003 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-03-28

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The Rabbinic Viewpoint

Local rabbis give guidance in the face of war.



wing in a time of vvar has turned many
anxious Americans toward their spiritual
leaders for support and guidance.
Detroit-area rabbis respond in various
ways while attempting to ease fears through under-
standing, explanation, compassion and listening.
Several local rabbis offer their thoughts:

"I find it odd when people pray for
peace," said Rabbi Elimelech
Silberberg of the Sara Tugman Bais
Chabad Torah Center in West
Bloomfield. "What's wrong with pray-
ing for an American victory and realiz- Rabbi
ing that there can't be peace without a
decisive victory?"
Maintaining that Saddam Hussein is an enemy

said. "People were grateful to have this opportunity to
support our troops."
Part of her enthusiasm for the project stemmed
from Donna's father, Bruce MacMurray of Florida,
who served in World War II. "When I told my father
what we were doing, he got very emotional," Klein
said. "He said how much these packages would have
meant to him when he was serving overseas."
Grace and Emanu-El religious school student
Becca Fealk, 16, of Farmington Hills spent Sunday
writing notes for the boxes and packing goodies.
"The troops have to be there; they don't have a
choice," Fealk said. "I'm against the war, but they have

Opposite page:
Bea Sacks
the idea of
to U.S. troops
and brought it
to her synagogue,

Left: Children
from Emanu-El's
religious school
made cards to
slip into the
goodie boxes.

of both the United States and Israel, the rabbi
said, "He is evil — not crazy, but evil — and this
is a war against evil.
"The president has the best interest of America
in mind. And while this is not a Jewish war and
President Bush is not fighting for the Jews or for
Israel, it is a war against Saddam Hussein, who is a
sworn enemy of Israel. So in effect, our troops are
also fighting Israel's battle against a vicious and
implacable enemy. American Jews owe the U.S.
armed servicemen a special debt of gratitude for
Rabbi Silberberg also spoke of the importance of
prayer. "As Jews, our obligation to pray for the
safety of our troops in Iraq and the Middle East
goes beyond the obligation of other American citi-
zens," he said. "Aside from stressing the impor-
tance of prayer, Torah also teaches that mitzvot and
good deeds elicit God's protection. Hopefully, all
of us will increase not only our tefillot (prayers)
but also our daily acts of kindness, that God may

to be there. A little does a lot for them in the long run."
Stephanie Stone of Huntington Woods brought her
sons, Jake, 9, and Alex, 6, to the temple lobby
Sunday to deliver their package. The boys had deco-
rated a card with flags and stars, - with the message
"Go USA!" written inside.
"You just feel helpless because you want to do some-
thing, and there's not much else we can do," Stone said.
"This is the kind of outreach program that is typi-
cal of our temple and our congregation," said Rabbi
Joseph Klein, who enthusiastically agreed to support
the project when it was proposed.
Temple member Mary G. Klaper of Oak Park
helped to coordinate it.
"What amazed me was how one person's idea
snowballed into such a successful program," Klaper
said. "Everyone does a little something, and it ends
up turning into something big. That's how we do
things here.
Sacks is thrilled with the way the project has grown
through word of mouth. When one woman from West
Bloomfield heard about the cookie drive, she called
Sacks and changed her original order of 60 boxes of
cookies to 60 cases. Sacks referred her to Selfridge.
Sacks expects the temple to ship close to 1,000
boxes before the project is over. II

For information on contributing to the
Temple Emanu-El cookie drive, or starting an
outreach program of your own, call Bea Sacks
at home, (248) 398-3737, or at Rep. Levin's
office, (248) 968-2025.

Barricades in front of the Jewish Communi ty
Center in West Bloomfield.

Orange Plus

In the face of war, Jewish
institutions tweak security.


s the war in Iraq escalates, local offi-
cials say they are stepping up securi-
ty measures at area Jewish commu-
nity centers.
Until further notice, barricades will block
automobile traffic at the entrances of Jewish
Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit
buildings in West Bloomfield and Oak Park,
said Executive Director David Sorkin.
"We've alerted people that there is security in
the building and they may be asked to show
identification or [allow someone to] look
through their bags."
A buzzer system was installed nine months
ago at the entrance of the Jewish Community
Center of Washtenaw County in Ann Arbor,
said Leslie Bash, its executive director. Now the
JCC is working to streamline the process of
entering the building by issuing parent identi-
fication cards for the early childhood center
and the Hebrew day school, she said.
Betsy Kellman, Anti-Defamation League
Michigan Region director, said security issues
have changed in the past few months.
"We're looking into biological and chemical
warfare, which is something we've never really
dealt with before," she said "We're talking
about home safety and what businesses need to
do in an era where there's a threat of terrorism."
The ADL contacted the FBI to plan a securi-
ty seminar for Jewish institutions tentatively
planned for April 1.
Although there are no specific threats in the
Detroit metropolitan area, Kellman said the
ADL is just being proactive. Li



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