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August 01, 2003 - Image 25

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-08-01

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Editorials are posted and archived on JN Online:


Dry Bones

Granting Dignity


he original Sinai Hospital is no more, but
its legacy continues to dispense succor,
refuge and enrichment to the most vulner-
able among us, Jewish or not.
For that we can be proud.
The legacy is the Jewish Fund, created in 1996
from proceeds when Sinai Hospital was sold to the
Detroit Medical Center. Over its first five years, the
independently managed Fund provided $15.5 mil-
lion in grants toward diverse local health and welfare
The twice yearly grant cycle has helped more than
50,000 people keep their dignity, including the frail,
jobless, disabled and mentally impaired. Beneficiaries
also include immigrants, Holocaust sur-
vivors, hospice patients, people with special
needs and others.
In addition to meeting Jewish needs, the
Fund purposefully embraces community-based
health needs that cross ethnic, racial and religious
Notably, 25 percent of the grants go beyond the
Jewish community to DMC, including Sinai-Grace
Hospital on West Outer Drive, and other secular
providers and programs. When the Jewish Fund was
endowed with $65 million, Detroit Jewry pledged to
bolster human services in the northwest Detroit
neighborhood vacated by Sinai Hospital as well as
other parts of the city.
We applaud the Fund's board — led by chairman
David Page and chairman emeritus Mark Schlussel
— for holding to its mission. Grants to the Greater
Detroit Area Health Council for health education
programs at the Adams-Butzel Recreation Center, to
JVS for helping homeless people develop job skills
and to AIDS Partnership Michigan for treating peo-
ple with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

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Walking Delicate Lines


or a man without a country, Mahmoud
Abbas made a fairly presentable showing
last week in Washington. The Palestinian
prime minister seems to have impressed
the White House, congressional bigwigs and even
Jewish leaders with his sincerity and commitment to
finding a lasting peace between his people and Israel.
That's a good first step. It is clearly in Israel's best
interest to be able to deal with a responsible
Palestinian leader rather than with Yasser
Arafat, the terrorists and the rejectionists.
But Israel and its supporters in America
need to proceed carefully. Just because
Abbas seems to mean well in the American capital is
no assurance that he will succeed in Ramallah and
Gaza City. And American Jewish leaders in particu-
lar should recognize that, in the sad world of mis-
trust that shadows so much of the Mideast, too
hearty an embrace of Abbas could actually under-
mine him in the West Bank and Gaza, where he
could be seen as an American or Israeli puppet


at the Infectious Disease Clinic of Sinai-
Grace Hospital are three examples of
Jewish Fund outreach within Detroit.
The strength of our support of the larger
community must not wane. Sinai evolved
from decades of discrimination directed at
Jewish doctors who sought hospital privi-
leges, but it was always open in how it was
staffed and whom it served.
It's not surprising the Jewish Fund
stepped up with a one-time allotment of
$500,000 when the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit fell $6.2 million
short in General Fund revenue for the fis-
cal year beginning June 1.
Federation cut Annual Campaign
allocations to constituent agencies
to compensate, but four agencies
that provide key relief services rebounded a
bit when the Jewish Fund gave each an
emergency grant ranging from $60,000 to
Detroit Jewry galvanized the notion of
treating its own in 1912, when Orthodox
rabbis led by Rabbi Judah L. Levin held a
"Buy A Brick to Save the Sick" march on
Hastings, the heart of Detroit's Jewish
Through 46 years of service, Sinai stood
as a symbol of Jewish unity and resolve.
The Jewish Fund is now that symbol.
general community, grants should have a defined
It's also something more. Its a godsend for the
and lasting effect, not be token handouts.
neighborhood and the city Sinai once served so
So far, so good — on both counts.
The challenge for Fund directors is to stay respon-
In this light, the Jewish Fund board is obligated to
sive to the Jewish community's will and the greater
assure that its grants integrate well with recipient
good as it makes grants on behalf of its stakeholders
budgets and don't just mask bad planning. In the
— the 96,000 Jews in metro Detroit. ❑

rather than a defender of Palestinian interests.
It is also somewhat unsettling that Abbas misrepre-
sented some key points. For example, on the demand
for immediate release of the 7,700 Palestinians impris-
oned by Israel, Abbas said that action was part of the
first step laid out by the Quartet-backed road map
when it really refers to the steps suggested two years
ago by a group headed by CIA Director George Tenet.
In fact, the first step of the road map only cites the
Tenet plan in reference to strengthening
security cooperation between the
Palestinians and Israel. Israel has agreed to
release more than 500 prisoners, including
some members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. But it
surely is not compelled by the Tenet plan, the road
map or even simple justice to send the murderers of
innocent civilians back to the West Bank and Gaza —
and Abbas should not claim that it is.
The Palestinian leader did acknowledge steps
Israel has already taken to ease tensions and improve
life on the West Bank and Gaza by easing travel


restrictions and dismantling checkpoints. But he
insisted that Israel must stop settlements in those
areas and halt the security fence it is building. "The
new era of peace requires the courageous logic of
peace, not the suspicious logic of conflict," he told
President Bush.
The problem is that his people have not yet
shown they really want peace. The Palestinian
Authority continues to educate its children to hate
Israel and to run summer camps where guerrilla
warfare and martyrdom are glorified. Hamas and
Islamic Jihad still have their weapons and still con-
tinue to talk about hudna, a temporary cease-fire
that historically is a prelude to new sneak attacks,
rather than permanent recognition of the Jewish
state's right to exist within secure borders.
The best chance to build the temporary halt in
hostilities into something stronger will be if both
sides scrupulously enforce the terms of the deal. The
"suspicious logic" can be answered — and eventual-
ly replaced — if the Palestinians take actions such as
actually disarming the terrorist cadres.
Mr. Abbas sounded good in Washington. His
challenge is to do good when he gets home. ❑

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