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July 25, 2003 - Image 26

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-07-25

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This Week

Insight

Remember
When •

From the pages of the Jewish News
from this week 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
and 60 years ago.

At The Helm

1993

Hillel Day School hires a new head of school.

DIANA LIEBERMAN

StaffWriter

S

teve Freedman, who spent more than 13 years as
educational director of Beth Sholom Congregation
in Elkins Park, Pa., will take over Aug. 1 as head of
school at Hillel Day School of Metropolitan

Detroit.
He replaces Dr. Mark Smiley, who left the Farmington
Hills Conservative day school after 16 years.
Freedman, Beth Sholom's longest-serving educational
director, received his bachelor's degree in secondary educa-
tion from Pennsylvania's Beaver College. He went on to earn
a master's degree and principal's certificate in Jewish educa-
tion from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America
(JTS), where he is now a doctoral candidate in Jewish edu-
cation.
At Beth Sholom, a Conservative congregation
with more than 1,300 member families, Freedman
led a supplementary school offering classes from
preschool through 12th grade. For this coming
year, the high school division alone has a projected
enrollment of 165 students.
In March 2003, Freedman became president of
the 500-member Jewish Educators Assembly
0EA) , the professional association of North
America's Conservative Movement educators and
educational administrators. Last summer, he
taught at the New Directors Institute of the United
Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
"He's a very talented educator, with a warm, approach-
able personality," said Eddie Edelstein, executive director of
the JEA. "The fact that he was selected as president of the
JEA shows that he's a visionary who looks beyond the four
corners of Jewish education as it now stands.
"I'm sure he's going to be very beloved in Detroit in a very
short amount of time."
Freedman and his wife, Joan, also a Jewish educator, have
four children, Eytan and Elana, 14; Yoni, 12; and Talia, 10.
The Philadelphia native had his first experience as a
Jewish educator serving as youth director at Beth Sholom.
Later, he worked as youth director at Temple Beth El in
New Rochelle, N.Y., and at the Solomon Schechter Day
School in White Plains, N.Y., where he progressed to princi-

time development director, Marianne Bloomberg, to a simi-
lar job with the Anti-Defamation League's Michigan Region.
More recently, the school, which serves children in kinder-
garten through eighth grade, faced the resignations of its
upper school principal, elementary Judaic Studies principal
and finance director.
Former Hillel president Robert Orley called Freedman "an
absolute find."
"He's warm and fuzzy and engaging and bright," Orley
said. "Everybody at JTS told me he has revitalized afternoon
school education. And one of his references told us 'the city
of Philadelphia will mourn' if he leaves."
Rabbi Lee Buckman, head of school at the Jewish
Academy of Metropolitan Detroit, encouraged Freedman to
apply for the Hillel position, Orley said.
"He wasn't looking for a job," Orley said. "I think the rea-
son we got him was, first, the challenge of running one of

"An absolute find ...
He's warm and fuzzy and
engaging and bright."

Pal

Freedman takes over as Hillel headmaster at a time of
great budget and personnel stress for the 720-student school.
During the 2002-2003 school year, Hillel initiated a cost-
cutting program intended to trim about $400,000 from its
annual budget. Increases were made in tuition and in the
required "Give/Get" program, the amount a family must
either contribute or bring in as purchase of scrip, tickets for
the annual dinner, journal ads or the like.
In addition to Dr. Smiley, Hillel last spring lost its long-

7/25

2003

26

— Robert Orley

the premier Solomon Schechter schools in the country; plus
where this community is going in innovative Jewish educa-
tion."
Freedman's oldest son will attend JAMD in the fall.
Representing the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan
Detroit on the search committee for the new head of school
was Howard Neistein, Federation's chief planning officer,
who called Freedman "a competent professional with a
vision for the school."
"He seems to be a real team player and very community-
minded, thinking of Hillel as a member of the larger Jewish
community," Neistein said.
At his installation as JEA president at the organization's
annual conference in Boston, Freedman said, "The Jewish
people have something powerful to offer humanity. Our tra-
dition prepares us to live a life that makes us God's partners
in His creation, contributing something back to this world
through our daily actions and relationships with others."
"We know that living a Jewish life is to live a meaningful
life. We know that as Jewish educators we may very well
have the most important jobs of all in the Jewish communi-
ty. And as such, we have dedicated our lives not merely to a
job, but to a mission. Our mission is driven by our passion
to teach children, to touch their nishamot [souls], so they, in
turn, will internalize the love for Jewish learning and
embrace Jewish living."



With the help of a $30,000 Max
M. Fisher Foundation grant, the
Jewish Community Center of
Metropolitan Detroit is helping to
mainstream special-needs adults
and children.

1983

Afrique Isabel Kilamanjaro, a 13-
year-old eighth-grader in
Greensboro, N.C., is thought to be
the first African-American Jewish
bat mitzvah in the South.

World -Jewry mourns the passing of
Louis Pincus, chairman of the
Jewish Agency and executive of the
World Zionist Organization, who
died in Jerusalem at age 61.

Temple Beth Am, beginning its
third year as a Reform Jewish con-
gregation servicing northwest
Detroit and suburbs, announces the
appointment of Rabbi David Jessel
as its first full-time spiritual leader.
The Windsor Jewish Community
Center will undertake a long-range
study program designed to provide
information on attitudes and values
of Jewish teenagers.

1903

The Jewish News will move into its
new home on Seven Mile and
Biltmore in northwest Detroit this
week.

1943

Fred M. Butzel is certified as one of
Detroit's delegates to the American
Jewish Conference, after the
National Board of Elections rules
that Detroit should have 10 delegates
instead of the original nine.
Myron A. Keys is named chair-
man of the War Records
Committee of the Detroit Army
and Navy Committee of the Jewish
Welfare Board.

— Compiled by Holly Teasdle,
archivist, the Rabbi Leo M Franklin
Archives of Temple Beth El

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