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September 26, 2003 - Image 43

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-26

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

Greenberg's View

Editorials are posted and archived on JN Online:
www.detroitjewishnews.com

MAN- ONE,
Gaili 05 PEACE
AMP WAWA.
Os FOR A
&OOP YEAR.

Preschool's Worth

s the engines of Jewish education rev up once
more, our communal leaders would do well
to steer more attention to making our
reschools the best that they can be — but
still affordable.
Such schools serve a purpose beyond day care. They
encourage kids to try on Jewish behaviors and values.
They spur interest in Jewish history and holidays. And
they act as a gateway to further Jewish learning in a
day or an afternoon school.
They're no longer just an extra. They help keep kids
Jewish.
Preschool-age youngsters have boundless curiosity
and unlimited capacity to learn. What a waste if those
qualities aren't mined.
Too often, parents who must tighten the family
budget rule out preschool or they delay it a year. Either
way, youngsters lose an invaluable counter to the pull
of assimilation during the highly impressionable pre-
school years.
It behooves us to focus on opportunities to put pre-
school within reach of every family. Preschool
then won't be an automatic turnoff for budg-
et-minded parents.
Detroit Jewry has upwards of 4,000 pre-
school-age children; less than half are in a Jewish pre-
school program, according to Federation's Alliance for
Jewish Education.
The Alliance estimates the cost of extended-day pre-

Ap

AZ 5;i ,0 ;:n1":

school, including
the summer version
of it, running
upwards of
$12,000 per year
per child, in the
same ballpark as
COMP YOO PLEASE
Jewish day-school
"soFvzsris:"
tuition.
114E PEACE
More scholarship
PAM'?
money is essential
to making the cost
of preschool palat-
able to more fami-
lies. At stake is los-
L 'Shang Tova
ing the next genera-
dosreotivre- g.zete..at
AtriVAZerp.,
tion of Jews to a
more secular life.
ence at home.
Given the national decline in the number of Jews, that

Preschool teachers should be the best-trained profes-
would be daunting.
sionals we have in our schools. Low pay, no benefits,
We need to step up and find a comfort zone, that
insufficient training and little prestige often deter that
elusive area where 3- and 4-year-olds, eager
from happening. But better compensation alone isn't
to explore, can discover their Jewish her-
the answer. The job also must yield greater respect. It's
itage in a fun and fruitful way without
disingenuous to entrust our children to preschool
being a financial drain on their parents.
teachers, yet take those teachers for granted.
That's a key challenge of the newly realigned
Preschool is the foundation from which all other lev-
Alliance. No doubt, near the top of its priority list is
els
of Jewish education arise. A weak foundation is a
determining what inspires young families to see pre-
threat
to who we are as a people. ❑
school as a key step in creating a stronger Jewish pres-

EDITORIAL

Embracing The Challenge

mission is to make the Jewish News as integral to
akea dose of shifting Jewish demograph-
hubbies life as it is to her grandchildren's, whether
ics. mix it with the rapid pace of techno-
they are religious or secular, foreign or native born,
logical advancement. Add to it an
residing in Oak Park or Ann Arbor, gay or straight,
expanding choice of filtered and unfil-
intermarried or single. Now that's a challenge!
tered information sources.
While the Jewish News has published
The outcome is a recipe for indigestion.
every week since 1942, and continues to be
The publisher and editor of any media
the largest and most comprehensive publica-
outlet attempting to serve the American
tion of its type in America, our vision is
Jewish community are confronted with
broader.
We view ourselves as gatherers and
this perplexing combination ... and
disseminators
of unique and useful informa-
remarkable opportunity.
tion.
The recently released National Jewish
Today, more eyeballs view content that
Population Survey paints a picture of
the Jewish News has gathered than at any
complexity. We're aging faster than the
time in its history. Well over half of the
national average, postponing the creation
of families and intermarrying at increasing ARTHUR M. identifiable Jewish households in the
rates, yet we maintain strong links to our
HORWITZ Detroit metropolitan area receive the Jewish
News, the highest proportion of paid circu-
Jewish identity, including attendance at
Publisher's
lation of any Jewish community publication
Passover seders, celebrating Chanukah and
Notebook
in America. Our companion Web site,
advocating for the safety and well being of
wwvv.detroitjewishnews.com, welcomes
Israel. The relationship between the inten-
more than 3,000 unique visitors each day,
sity of our Jewish education and the depth
and breadth of our Jewish identities are closely cor- including bubbies and grandchildren. And a totally
electronic version of the Jewish News has a growing
related.
audience in Israel, Florida and other out-of-state
More than synagogue or Jewish Community
locations (including college campuses) who value
Center membership, Federation gift giving, keep-
its timeliness and convenience.
ing kosher, lighting Shabbat candles or fasting on
Methodologies w
_ e are developing, largely
Yom Kippur, reading a Jewish newspaper or maga-
through advances in database technology, are
zine was identified by the survey as a key connec-
tion between Jews and their Jewish identities. In an enabling the Jewish News to identify additional
opportunities to reach underserved or overlooked
era of instant communication and Web savvy, our

.

pockets of Jews throughout Michigan (and really
the rest of America) with tailored information that
meets their needs and links them to the larger
Jewish community.
I recall those initial days of the 1991 Gulf War
when the information-gathering cycle of the Jewish
News was struggling to keep pace with live CNN
broadcasts of Scud missile attacks on Israel. Would
newspapers and magazines be made obsolete by
Cable Network News and other 24/7 news imita-
tors? Some six years later, the .com explosion and
mercurial rise of America Online further chal-
lenged the viability of print media and the printed
word itself.
Yet, as we approach Rosh Hashanah 5764, the
Jewish News continues to balance its tightrope walk
between print and electronic, religious and secular,
young and old, relevant and irrelevant.
We appreciate your ongoing embrace of our
information, whether in printed or electronic form,
weekly or daily. Consistent with the findings of the
National Jewish Population Survey, we appreciate
your ongoing assistance to link the Jewish News
with those in the community who would benefit
from the Jewish connection we provide. We are
energized by the myriad ways to be of service to
you and our community.
Best wishes for a peaceful, healthy and
rewarding year.

L'shanah tovah!D

3W

9/26

2003

43

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