Boosting Hebrew Immersion
he Jewish Theological Seminary of America
has received a $250,000 grant from the
Covenant Foundation to expand the scope
of its Hebrew Immersion program.
Through Hebrew Immersion — formally
known as Ma'a/ah: Early Childhood Hebrew
Language Immersion Network
Program — preschoolers learn
Hebrew at a time in their lives
when studies have shown the
brain is most-easily attuned to
language and speech acquisi-
Developed by JTS graduate
student Frieda Robins at the
New York City school's Melton
Research Center for Jewish
Education, Ma'alah, which means
"a step up," was tested at four
sites, including metropolitan Detroit.
The experience in Detroit began in 1997 with a
single 20-minute daily class period at Adat Shalom
Synagogue. Because of its effectiveness, Hebrew
Immersion classes soon spread to five preschools in
metropolitan Detroit and a kindergarten class in
The Covenant grant will allow the program to
expand to 12 more preschools in other parts of the
The New York-based Covenant Foundation was
established in 1990 by the Crown Family
Foundation in partnership with the Jewish
Education Service of North America (JESNA). It
provides support to outstanding Jewish educators
and educational programs throughout North
One of the foundation's first individual award
recipients was Harlene Appelman, now director of
metro Detroit's Alliance for Jewish Education,
who was honored in 1991 for her work in family
— Diana Lieberman
ne of Detroit Jewry's longest-serving rabbis
has earned the highest honor bestowed by
the local chapter of the Conservative move-
Rabbi Irwin Groner of Congregation Shaarey
Zedek Southfield received the Rabbi Simon
Greenberg Distinguished Service Award at the May
8 annual dinner of the Detroit Board of the Jewish
Theological Seminary of America.
Shin Awards for exemplary synagogue and com-
munal service were presented to four couples:
Eugene and Anne Greenstein, Beth Shalom; Ira and
Kay Harris, B'nai Moshe; Dr. Abe and Sylvia
Pearlman, Adat Shalom; Dr. Manual and Harriet
Sklar, Shaarey Zedek.
Board chairman Martin Gene said Rabbi
Groner is "a good friend, a good teacher, a good
"We wish to recognize the eloquence and sub-
stance and integrity with which you have graced the
Conservative rabbinate and pulpit," said Dr. Ishmar
Schorsh, chancellor of and rabbi at the New York
In accepting the award, Rabbi Groner, in his 44th
year as a spiritual leader at Shaarey Zedek, talked
about the rabbinic calling.
"We are entrusted with the burden of strengthen-
ing our synagogues, of teaching Torah, of preserving
our heritage and of lifting the
hearts of our people in the valley
of the dark shadows," he said
from the pulpit in his beloved
synagogue before an audience of
"But we also are privileged to
sing the songs: the songs of joy
— for new life, for healing, for
blessing — to sanctify love.
"We sing other songs as well,"
said the former Rabbinical
Assembly of America president.
"Our condition then identifies song, and hope and
melody. And so we sing songs of vision, songs of
dreams and songs of the Conservative movement
fulfilling its mission ... of winning the hearts and
renewing the spirit."
He talked also of Israel's dream of "building a
vibrant and secure society with respect to religious
He concluded: "Am Yisael Chai. Let us make sure the
People of Israel lives, and will live, now and forever."
— Robert A. Sklar
NPR Coverage Protested
emonstrations at National Public Radio sta-
tions in 33 cities across the nation were held
May 14, protesting NPR's coverage of Israel
and the Middle East.
Twenty protesters held signs in front of WDET stu-
dios on the Wayne State University campus in Detroit
saying, "NPR — No Pledge Radio" and "NPR Lies
with My Tax Dollars." Because the station is in a low-
traffic area, few saw the protest. But station officials
took notice and a WDET reporter interviewed protest-
ers and later broadcast a story on the controversy.
Standing on a picnic table, local organizer and
WSU student Talya. Drissman of Farmington Hills
said NPR gives more prominence to Palestinian suf-
fering than Palestinian terrorism and Israeli suffer-
ing, significantly more airtime to anti-Israel view-
points than pro-Israel perspectives, lets inaccuracies
go unchallenged and refuses to label anti-Israel sui-
cide bombers as "terrorists" as it does Al Qaida, pre-
ferring the terms "militants" or "extremists."
WDET General Manager Caryn Mathes said
there has been little local criticism of NPR's cover-
age and it has not affected its recent successful
pledge campaign. She said NPR views the matter
seriously and has posted information and viewpoints
on its Middle East coverage at www.npr.org
Viewpoints about NPR can be found at
www.camera.org and ww-w.israelaction.org
— Don Cohen
JWV Exhibit at JCC
permanent exhibit honoring the service of
Jewish men and women from Michigan who
fought in the U.S. military will open to the
public on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, at the
Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield.
The first-floor exhibit, "We Were There:
Michigan's Jewish War Veterans," will highlight sto-
ries of veterans from the Civil War, Spanish-
American War, World Wars I and II, the Korean
War and the Vietnam War.
In addition to photographs, visitors will see uni-
forms worn by local veterans, their prayer books,
items from first-aid kits, letters to home and other
military artifacts including shrapnel that wounded
Detroiter Meyer Shear, a bomber pilot in the
European theater in WWII.
A highlight will be the only Congressional Medal
of Honor from World War II presented to a Jewish
soldier from this state, Raymond Zussman.
There also will be an interactive computer kiosk
where visitors can search for names of relatives who
were in the military, read a section on Jewish chap-
lains in the services and learn where to find out
more about Jews in the armed forces.
The exhibit is free and open to the public. It is
sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan
Detroit, United Jewish Foundation of Metropolitan
Detroit, Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan
Detroit, Jewish Historical Society of Michigan and
Jewish War Veterans of the United States of
America-Department of Michigan.
— Staff report
Celebrating 40 Years
Wayne State University student Talya Drissman
organized the protest.
ore than 200 people gathered at the
Birmingham Temple on April 11 to view
an exhibit celebrating the Farmington
Hills-based temple's 40-year history and recognizing
the pioneering work of the founder of Secular
Humanistic Judaism, Rabbi Sherwin Wine.
The exhibit features the work of Detroit Jewish
Federation Archivist Heidi Christein, Birmingham
Temple Archives Committee Chair Pera Kane, and
committee members Cheryl O'Donnell and Carol
Gorosh. The committee has been gathering materi-
als for two years; it developed the exhibit during the
past six months. It will be on display through July.
— Staff report