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October 03, 2003 - Image 29

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-03

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Editorials are posted and archived on JN Online:

Community Central

Dry Bones


0 most Jews, it's simply the JCC.
That helps explain why the Jewish
- Community Center is a key stitch in the
fabric of Detroit Jewry. However religious
we are, we want the JCC to be a gateway to Jewish
The two-campus JCC, more than any other Jewish
agency, has the wherewithal to bring together Jews to
learn, work out, advocate, mingle, dine, relax or grow
Detroit Jewry wouldn't fade away without the JCC,
but we're richer with it.
The Jewish Book Fair, Lenore Marwil Jewish Film
Festival, Seminars for Adult Jewish Enrichment,
Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, Sarah
and Irving Pitt Child Development Center,
Janice Charach Epstein Gallery and Inline
Hockey Center speak to many of us. The
new Handleman and Prentis social halls have been .
well received. The special-needs program is a treasure.
So is the new Jewish War Veterans exhibit hall, "We
Were There."
Health Club and fitness changes promise to draw
new dues-paying members, a critical component if the -
JCC is to become less dependent on communal subsi-
dies. The desired effect of successful marketing would
be new users and givers who together yield more oper-
ational revenue and endowed funding.
The Jewish. Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and
its finance arm, the United Jewish Foundation,
spurred a $7.5 million endowment campaign and a
$25.5 million capital campaign for the JCC.
Federation also has made Annual Campaign and sup-
plemental grants to the JCC to meet operational

budget deficits and construction cost overruns.
Federation chips in 31 percent of JCC's $10
million budget, a higher percentage than what
is raised by program fees or membership dues.
To solve a projected $6.2 million shortfall in its
general fund, Federation cut 2003-2004 alloca-
tions to all partner agencies. These agencies
stand to benefit if JCC income increases
because of new members and greater enroll-
ment in programs; there would be less of a need
for supplemental Federation support.
The new JCC president, Hannan Lis, is
engaging, articulate and knows how to market.
We raised these questions after he took office
in June and hope the answers are
found under his stewardship: What
JCC model is optimal for projecting
five years out? Can staffing and
supervisory levels be adjusted quickly to meet
the huge swings in use on weekdays? Are com-
plaints quickly resolved? Can more grants,
funds, foundations and donations be tapped?
Are more young adults picking the JCC Fitness
Club over private workout operations — which
boast longer hours and, with easier-to-secure
lines of credit, can stay up with ever-changing
Still corning at the JCC in West Bloomfield
are the relocated Henry and Delia Meyers
Library and one of the most original and excit-
ing JCC programs in years — Shalom Street, part of
the new Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Judaic
Enrichment Center, which also will include the ORT
Resource Center.




ay MATH .



7\-te WORLD.

The JCC aspires to be "a new neighborhood of
Jewish life." And Lis, who respects the role that com-
munication plays in a neighborhood, is eager to create
a dialogue among neighbors.
Shame on us if we don't create just that. ❑

Unsettled Future


sraeli leaders, pondering the settlements in
the West Bank and Gaza, ought to consider
one of Yogi Berra's insights: "You've got to be
careful if you don't know where you're going
`cause you might not get there."
It is indeed a great mystery. Where do Israeli lead-
ers hope their settlements will lead? Is there a strate-
gy to what is allowable and what is not, or is there
merely a set of processes and political compromises
that vary with time and circumstance?
Making the guiding principles and goals clear is
desperately important for both the near- and long-
term future of the Jewish state. Its enemies
and its allies — along with a lot of states
that may be trying to decide which catego-
ry they will choose — need to know
Israel's intent. So, too, do Israelis, who are being
asked to bear special burdens on behalf of those set-
tlements, some crucial to Israel's security.
The 2002 Statistical Abstract, published two
weeks ago by the College of Judea and Samaria in
Ariel, reported that the Jewish population of the
West Bank had grown to 213,000, an increase of
144 percent in the past decade. In the two years

from 2000 through 2002, the new study said, the
West Bank Jewish population rose 20 percent, more
than three times the rate for Israel as a whole.
This rise came at the same time as the current
intifada — the renewed Palestinian terror against
Israel and its settlements. Obviously, the incentives
to move to the West Bank — nice homes, conven-
ient commutes to work, tax subsidies, military pro-
tection, and, in many cases, the religious passion to
settle in all areas of the land of Israel — outweighed
any Palestinian threat.
Israel is building a security fence on the West
Bank. But it cannot stop terror attacks
such as the one that claimed the life of a
baby girl in Nehogot, within the West
Bank, last week. And Israel's firmest
American ally, the Bush White House, has criticized
the fence and forced difficult changes in the route.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon no doubt sees a tacti-
cal advantage in never being clear about which set-
tlements he thinks Israel should keep as part of a
negotiated peace plan that recognizes a Palestinian
state. But that lack of precision, while serving his
domestic political aims of not giving the settler


movement anything to complain about, does not
serve the country's best long-range interest.
As the new census data shows, Israel has tolerated
or even encouraged settlement growth that it knows
will infuriate the Arab world and much of Europe
— who already believe that Israel would never sup-
port Palestinian statehood. Many American sup-
porters of Israel are correctly concerned about
Jerusalem's failure to halt unlimited settlement
The best course for Sharon would be to identify
which West Bank and Gaza settlements are
absolutely necessary for Israel's security and will be
allowed to grow. Despite the domestic political
risks, he needs to say which are negotiable should
the Palestinians ever prove themselves worth talking
to. And he should crack down firmly on illegal out-
posts, preferably by making it clear in advance that
they will not get the military protection they need
to survive.
A more-open declaration by Sharon of his aims
for the settlements, coupled with consistent enforce-
ment, could end a confusion that harms Israel far
more than it could help it. ❑


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