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August 22, 2003 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-08-22

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

This Week

Special Report

VOLUNTEER POWER from page 16

neer, directed the re-starting of the
backup generators after they ran out of

Shabbat Help

Rabbi Freedman, worried about the
blackout continuing into the Sabbath,
consulted with Rabbi Asher
Eisenberger. He is a Halachic (Jewish
law) authority as Well as a teacher at
Yeshiva Beth Yehudah's Beth Jacob
School for Girls in Oak Park and a
rabbi at Agudas Yisroel Mogen
Abraham, which meets at the Beth
Yehudah's boys school in Southfield.
"With Halachah," said Rabbi
saving a
Freedman, " pikuach nefesh
life — takes precedence" over Shabbat
laws. But one must try to dispense
with only those laws that are necessary
to save a life, the rabbi said.
The major application here was to
allow observant Jews to carry flash-
lights ("fire") on Shabbat. The rabbis
asked that a non-Jew turn on the flash-
lights, if possible, but that Jews could
carry them to help the seniors. If eleva-
tors were working, they were set to
stop automatically at each floor so they
did not have to be manually operated.
Rabbi Eisenberger signed a written
document with this Halachic ruling
and asked Kamin to duplicate it for
every JAS building.
Power returned to the Jewish campus
in West Bloomfield around 6:30 p.m.
Friday. Just before 9 p.m., about 45
minutes after Shabbat began, the
power came back on in Oak Park.
With the continuing water emergency,
however, the crisis continued at a lower
Friday evening, as the Farmer Jack
store at 10 Mile and Telegraph in
Southfield was closing, JAS staffers
called to purchase more drinking
water. Employees remained until JAS
staff and volunteers could pick up the
store's last 150 gallons.
"I have been here 12 years," said
JAS Director Kamin, "and I've never
seen the community come together
like this."
Added Rabbi Freedman, "We mar-
shaled the community and they were
unbelievable. There were hundreds of
responders during the 30 or so hours"
of the power failure. "It was beautiful.
At times like this, our differences and
barriers become very minor."
Zinaida Kravets, who came to the
United States in 1995 and began living
in Prentis I in December of that year,
could only say, "The children, the
Orthodox, Yad Ezra — thank you,
thank you!"


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