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September 06, 2003 - Image 36

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-06

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known as a Jewish stronghold,

which has remained fairly sta-

ble over the last 50-plus years.

More synagogues, Jewish

educational institutions, Kosher

butchers and bakeries can be

found in Oak Park than in any

other suburb in our community.

A large Eruv, which connects

with the nearby Southfield

Gardens subdivision, allows

people to push strollers and

wheelchairs through the neigh-

borhood during Shabbat.

Oak Park, which recently cel-

ebrated its 50th anniversary as

a chartered city, has long been

Rabbi Herschel Finman, his wife, Chana, and their seven children, Shira, 7; Alex, 10; Geula, 12;
Aidel, 13; Hinda, 15; Bracha, 17; and Tsivia, 19

home to the majority of metro

Detroit's Orthodox families,

many of whom are second- and

even third-generation resi-




Mayor Gerald E. Naftaly

currently presides over the city,

which is served by three school

districts; Berkley, Ferndale and

Oak Park.

In more recent years, after

the completion of the 1-696

freeway that provides conven-

ient east-west access, Oak Park

has become a popular choice

for young families of all


The Neighborhood Project,

which provided interest-free

loans to Jewish people buying

homes in Oak Park and

Southfield, also increased its

desirability. Real estate value

has appreciated accordingly,

although housing prices are

still considered very afford-

able, especially considering the

amenities the neighborhoods

have to offer.

The construction of the 1-696

overpass included the Victoria

and Rothstein parks, adjacent to

the Oak Park Jewish Community

hen Rabbi Herschel
Finman, his wife, Ghana,
and their seven children came to the
Detroit area after living in Australia
for several years, they were drawn to
Oak Park because of its solid Jewish
community, its central location and
affordable housing.
Rabbi Finman likes the sense of
community and belonging that he and
his family feel in their neighborhood.
"If a person is alone, somebody
will invite him to Shabbos dinner; if
someone is sick, a neighbor will bring
over some hot chicken soup," Rabbi
Finman said.
The Finmans and their children
(Shira, 7; Alex, 10; Geula, 12; Aidel,
13; Hinda, 15; Bracha, 17; and Tsivia,
19), have made many friends and
become very involved in the Jewish
community during the 15 years
they've lived here.

Rabbi Finman presides over
Congregation B'nai Teshuva, an
independent organization that pro-
vides a variety of educational pro-
gramming such as classes, seminars
and speaking engagements. He also
hosts the only Jewish radio show in
Detroit, "The Jewish Hour," which is
aired every Friday afternoon at 3
p.m. on WPO\ (1460 AM).
Ghana Finman participates in a
variety of community volunteer activ-
ities, does original artwork in her own
studio, substitute teaches in the local
day schools and works with
Mitmazel.com , an international
Jewish matchmaking Web site she
helped establish.
"It's suburban, yet it's an urban
community in many ways," she said.
"The kids have good friends in the
neighborhood, and they feel safe
walking or riding their bikes."
The Finman family belongs to
Mishkan Israel, a 45-year-old
Lubavitch congregation in Oak

Center Campus. These parks are

popular family destinations for


playing and picnics as well as for

reader," Chana Finman said, "and all the kids love going to Zeman's bakery. Shira enjoys playing

a variety of local events.

3 6 • SOURCEBOOK 2003-2004

in the parks behind the JCC."

"Alex loves the library; she's an avid

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