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July 25, 2003 - Image 93

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

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Obituaries are updated regularly and archived on JN Online:
www. d etroitiewis h news.com

Voice Of Kindness

SHELLI LIEBMAN DORFMAN

StaffWriter

l

t was a fitting trib-
ute to Genrikh
"Henry" Shif for
speakers at his
funeral to address family
Honusr
and friends in four differ-
StrIt1;4701t
ent languages.
"One of his special tal-
ents was to be able to speak several lan-
guages," said Leonard Newman of
Huntington Woods. "But his real talent
was to use [it] to help family, friends,
acquaintances
ces and, no doubt, even
strangers.
The only member of his large family
to survive the Holocaust, Mr. Shif turned
the extraordinary kindness of the
strangers who helped him start a new life
into a mission of repayment.
"So many people helped him that giv-
ing back became part of who he was,"
said his daughter Galina Mednik, adding
that he "often went with people to doc-
tor's appointments or the Social Security

Administration to translate for them."
Mr. Shif, of Oak Park, died July 16,
2003, at age 76.
Born in Poland, he moved to Detroit
about nine years ago with his family
from Moldova, with a university degree
in languages and the ability
to speak English, Hebrew,
Polish, Yiddish and
German. Before coming to
the United States, Mr. Shif
worked as an English
teacher, assistant principal
and orc-anized an adult lan-
guage-education group.
A retiree when he arrived
in Detroit, Mr. Shif became
a member of Congregation
Beth Shalom's Circle of
Friends, an outreach group
to develop and strengthen
Genrikh
Jewish identity of Jews from
the former Soviet Union.
Even with his excellent command of
English, he chose to take "English as a
Second Language" classes through the
Circle of Friends, attending the most

books might help best in the future.
She went through her possessions and
returned gifts to the original givers as
mementos
of her, attaching personal
divorces. Rabbi Daniel Syme of Temple
notes.
Beth El, speaking at her funeral, said
Mrs. Morganroth, the former Janice
she touched "countless young lives with
Cohn, was a native Detroiter who grad-
her vigilance and her protectiveness."
uated from Mumford High and
Mrs. Morganroth was a founder of
Michigan
State University. Her father,
the Michigan after-school latchkey pro-
Sidney
Cohn,
still active at the Butzel
gram and, on Nov. 22, would have
Long
law firm in Detroit,
received the Circle of
inspired
her to become a
Hope Award from the
lawyer.
Oakland County Child
At Wayne State
Abuse and Neglect
University
law school, she
Council, of which she was
met
a
young
instructor,
a director.
Fred
Morganroth.
They
A co-founder of a local
eventually
became
partners
divorce-after-50 group,
in
their
law
firm
and
Mrs. Morganroth was "one
enjoyed a 40-year marriage.
of the most respected
Erik said his globe-traveling
female divorce attorneys in
parents, both pilots, "were
Michigan," son Erik
among
the first Americans
Morganroth said.
allowed
to go to Red
When Erik needed a
China."
They
were mem-
heart donation eight years
Janice Morganroth
bers
of
Chaine
des
ago, she became a board
Rotisseurs, an international
member of Gift of Life, a
food and wine society; and each taught
statewide organization that promotes
cooking
classes. Her affiliations in the
organ transplantations.
Jewish
community
included JARC, the
To comfort her dear ones after she
Jewish
Federation
of
Metropolitan
was diagnosed with cancer last January,
Detroit
Women's
Campaign
and Educa-
Mrs. Morganroth distributed hundreds
tion
Department
and
Temple
Beth El.
of books she had inscribed with morale-
Mrs. Morganroth read voraciously
boosting messages, anticipating which

Nurturing Defender

ESTHER ALLWEISS TSCHIRHART

Special to the Jewish News

p

eople were drawn to Janice
Morganroth because they
knew they mattered to her.
Within her family, she was
a devoted wife, mother, grandmother
and daughter — plus the eldest of five
siblings.
As a family law attorney in the firm
of Morganroth, Morganroth, Jackman
and Kasody in Bloomfield Hills, she
was just as devoted an advocate for chil-
dren.
These roles help to explain her life-
long interest in caring for others, espe-
cially "to nurture those younger or
weaker than her," said sister Lynn Rae
Lowe.
Mrs. Morganroth, 63, died of pancre-
atic cancer July 17, 2003, at home in
Franklin. Another sister, Gail Palmer,
was her primary caregiver in the final
months.
All children's welfare mattered to Mrs.
Morganroth. She founded the Child
Advocacy program of the Oakland
County Juvenile Court and served as a
court-appointed attorney representing
children's best interests in high-conflict

advanced level courses and even substi-
tute teaching for the less-advanced
groups.
"It was important for him to learn the
idiomatic expressions," said his teacher
and friend Joanna Berger, who co-found-
ed and co-chairs the program. "Even in
classes where all the students had
advanced language skills, he was able to
help others by explaining the nuances to
them in Russian. He was
willing to help anyone, any-
time with anything."
In addition to always
working to improve his own
language skills, it was impor-
tant to Mr. Shif that others
were able to share stories
and experiences. "He took
great pains to help other
people make dialogue mean-
ingful," said Newman, one
of Mr. Shif's teachers at
Circle of Friends.
But any help he gave was
"Henry" Shif
always offered in the most
kind and modest manner.
"He was so full of compassion and so
willing to give his time to share his spirit
and his energy with other people so sin-

cerely," Newman said.
He characterized Mr. Shif by his
untold acts of kindness, great love and
devotion to others — calling him a "gen-
tleman, an intellectual, a mentsh ... a
true communicator."
Mr. Shif gave his time to Yad Ezra and
Jewish Family Service, where he was
honored as Volunteer of the Year several
years ago.
The son of a Hebrew teacher, Mr. Shif
relearned how to read Torah in recent
years and was able to participate in Beth
Shalom's Men's Club Shabbat. "He loved
coming to Shabbat morning services so
much," Cantor Samuel Greenbaum said
of Mr. Shif, who was also a trustee of the
men's club. "He was a sweet and precious
man, with a kind and beautiful soul."
Genrikh Shif is survived by his wife,
Reyzl Gleyzer Shif; daughter and son-in-
law, Galina and Vladimir Mednik of
Southfield; grandchildren, Olga Mednik,
Vitaliy Mednik.
Contributions may be made to Beth
Shalom Circle of Friends, Congregation
Beth Shalom, 14601 W. Lincoln, Oak
Park, MI 48237. Interment was at
Hebrew Memorial Park. Arrangements
by Hebrew Memorial Chapel. ❑

and was a poet, photographer and cal-
ligrapher. She had a flair for fashion but
didn't stand on ceremony.
Her other son, Greg Morganroth,
called his mother his confidant — and
said she always told the truth.
Lynn Rae said her sister's energy was
unflagging, in spite of her rarely sleep-
ing more than four hours a night.
"That's how Janice had time to do all
she did," said friend Denise Alexander,
her former law partner.
Janice Morganroth is survived by her
husband, Fred Morganroth; sons and
daughters-in-law, Greg and Katie
Morganroth of California, Erik and
Andrea Morganroth of Birmingham;
daughter and son-in-law, Candi and Dr.
Jeffrey Rosenberg of Birmingham;
grandchildren, Alexander, Adam and
Madeline Rosenberg, Emma and Max
Morganroth; sisters and brothers-in-law,
Gail and William Palmer of Rochester,
Lynn Rae Lowe of Tucson, Ariz.,
Wendy Darville of Copenhagen; broth-
er and sister-in-law, John and Franny
Cohn of Colorado; parents, Sidney and
Beverly Cohn of Pleasant Lake.
Interment was at Beth El Memorial
Park. Contributions may be made to
the Child Abuse and Neglect Council,
44765 Woodward, Pontiac, MI
48341. Arrangements by Ira Kaufman
Chapel. ❑

7/25

2003

93

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