Editorials are posted and archived on JN Online:
The Right Move If ...
ewish Family Service's plan to build an $8
million new headquarters in West Bloomfield
seems odd at first blush. After all, where is the
clientele of the social and behavioral health
service agency? JFS' own statistics would seem to indi-
cate that the move makes no sense. Of its 10,000 cur-
• 45 percent live in southeast Oakland County:
Southfield, Oak Park, Royal Oak, Huntington
Woods, Ferndale, Berkley.
• 20 percent live in West Bloomfield, Bloomfield
Hills, Commerce, Walled Lake.
• 15 percent live in Farmington, Farmington Hills,
Livonia, Northville, Plymouth.
• 20 percent live elsewhere in the metro-
politan area, including Rochester, Troy,
Birmingham, Detroit and Grosse Pointe.
But an analysis of the agency's services
shows a different pattern.
Adoption services (mostly home studies for other
agencies): 50 percent of the clients are Jewish and 50
percent are non-Jews. The Jewish clients are over-
whelmingly young and living in the outer suburbs.
The same is true for JFS' addiction recovery services.
Children of divorce: services are offered through the
Southfield office on Greenfield Road and the agency's
leased office on Orchard Lake Road north of 14 Mile
in West Bloomfield. These services include individual
counseling, support at the Jewish day schools and a
contracted social worker for Bloomfield Hills Schools.
Services that have similar needs in all areas include
crisis support (domestic violence, counseling, emer-
gency financial assistance), volunteer services (mentor-
ing), senior services (counseling, care management,
home care, Meals on Wheels) and transportation serv-
ices (taking clients to health appointments, grocery
shopping or visiting a spouse in a nursing
According to David Moss, Jewish
Family Service director of marketing and
development, the number of home care
cases in Farmington Hills and West
Bloomfield is increasing. And the JFS
transportation vans are serving 38 com-
The key here is service. JFS, like many
other social service agencies, is caught in a
web of governmental control: It accepts
state and federal funding to better serve
. its client base but, in doing so, must
broaden that client base to the
general community. But it is
critical that Jewish agencies
remember their core con-
stituencies, their core funding source and
what the "J" stands for in their names.
For years, the Jewish Community
Center's Jimmy Prentis Morris Building
in Oak Park was a stepchild of much larg-
er JCCs — first Meyers-Curtis in Detroit,
then Maple-Drake in West Bloomfield. It
took a concerted effort by area residents
— lobbying and fund-raising — to turn
JPM into a full-service JCC.
Now JFS, with very generous help from
Sally A. and Graham A. Orley and
Suzanne E. and Joseph H. Orley, plans to
replace an aging Southfield facility with a
modern headquarters in West Bloomfield,
across Maple from the JCC. A satellite office will
remain in the Oak Park-Southfield area.
If the JPM model is followed, and full services are
maintained in that still-vibrant and important Jewish
area, the proposed Orley JFS Building will be a mas-
sive boost for the entire Jewish community. 11
Solidarity With Israel
with principles, although this time the movement
will be in a different direction.
It will not be easy, for example, to watch Israeli
troops move out of the West Bank and Gaza cities
that have for so long served as bases for terrorists.
The Israel Defense Forces fought hard to bring these
areas under a semblance of control that has con-
tributed importantly to slowing the suicide bombers.
Moving out may simply encourage some of the
Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorists to
launch new attacks, so we can't let down
our guard entirely.
Even more difficult will be to support the
promised release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.
The first group will be people with no demonstrated
links to terror, but pressure could grow to free some
who may have incidental ties to the masterminds of
Unlike the withdrawal of armed forces, prisoner
release is not mandated by the U.S.-backed road map
to Mideast stability. Remembering the photos from
Ramallah where, at the start of the latest intifada
(uprising), a mob killed two reservists — the photos
where blood was quite literally on the hands of the
murderers — it is hard to think about releasing
Palestinians who would agitate again. But it has
become a preoccupation for the extremist groups that
effectively rule the Palestinians and may well become
a bargaining chip that Israel will have to pay to pro-
long their cease-fire.
Nor can we be terribly optimistic when the long-
term incitement to violence continues. For example,
it was disgusting last week to see the Palestinian
Authority name a kids' summer camp for Wafa Idris,
the first female suicide bomber. It was equally repel-
lant when the P.A. failed to stop a mob that tried to
suppress a Palestinian professor whose research
showed the majority of Palestinians favoring an end
to the violence. But American Jews as well as Israelis
are going to have to swallow that kind of abhorrent
behavior for a while.
The likeliest avenue to continuing this fragile eas-
ing of tensions after nearly three years of destruction
will be intelligent concessions — including an aware-
ness of the Palestinian political realities that make the
posture of belligerence a necessity even for peace
seekers in the West Bank and Gaza. Just as we
defended Israel's stern actions when they were need-
ed, American Jews must now support specific, limited
steps toward a more relaxed and open approach. ❑
ore than a year ago, when the
Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis were
being launched at the rate of one an
hour, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
began a counterattack with few holds barred. The
actions included targeted killings of terrorist master-
minds and the destruction of the homes of
terrorists' families as well as stringent securi-
ty checkpoints that necessarily disrupted the
lives of innocent Palestinians.
At the time, many American Jews were very uneasy
about these defensive tactics, feeling the reprisals and
preemptive strikes were not in keeping with the
Jewish character or history or even Israel's short-term
interest. But we understood the need for solidarity in
the face of a concerted onslaught by radical Arabs
and Muslims. Also, the Jewish community did an
admirable job of explaining to other Americans —
even before 9-11 — why existential threats demand-
ed a firm response.
Now we must adapt to a different reality, again one
that may involve some very painful compromises