Quality Over Quantity
The survival of Judaism is more adversely affected
by people who remain single than by intermar-
riage, an authority on the evolution of American
Jewish life said at the kickoff lecture for Detroit
Jewry's major midwinter adult education program.
At least Jews who intermarry have children who
may be raised Jewish even if their non-Jewish par-
ent doesn't convert: But the chance of that parent
seeking to convert is higher than ever, said Rabbi
Reuven Kimelman, keynoter at the annual
Shiffman Family Lecture at the Jewish
Community Center in West Bloomfield. The Jan.
13 talk before 300 people kicked off the 2004
Seminars for Adult Jewish Enrichment (SAJE), a
joint effort of the JCC and the Jewish Federation
of Metropolitan Detroit.
In the 1950s, Jews were more apt to convert to
Christianity than vice
versa. Today, the gap
has narrowed, said
Rabbi Kimelman, a
professor. "When it
comes to Christian
and Jewish choices,"
he said, "couples,
insofar as they
choose, are choosing
Judaism as much as
He said many con-
verts are more committed to Judaism than spouses
who are lifelong Jews. "It's an amazing phenome-
non," he said.
The National Jewish Population Survey 2000-
2001 pegs the intermarriage rate at 47 percent.
Examining The Religious Right
About 75 community members
came to the Birmingham Temple on
Jan. 26 for the second in the tem-
ple's Voice of Reason lecture series.
"The Religious Right and the
Michigan Legislature" program fea-
tured State Sen. Gilda Jacobs, D-
Huntington Woods, and State Rep.
Marc Shulman, R-West Bloomfield.
Sen. Jacobs believes President
Bush's mention in his State of the
Union address of limiting the rights
of gay Americans legitimized the
issue. Locally, Oakland County
Executive L. Brooks Patterson had
been successful in keeping the
County Commission from voting
on the issue of gay marriage, but the
president's words will most likely
bring the topic back to the table,
Another flash point for the reli-
gious right is the issue of charter
schools, she said, "because so many
- - ill0,-.,(-Ez77cha
There is only one major biblical character whose
date of death is identified in the Hebrew
Scriptures. Yet, despite Jewish reverence for graves
and yahrtzeits, Jews hold no commemoration on
that date. Who is that person?
charter schools are religion-
Rep. Shulman made his main
point repeatedly: "Religion is
not the enemy of politics."
"We don't believe for a
moment that this country is sec-
ular," he said. "But, when you
see politicians who use [their
religious beliefs] in the name of
being good Americans — well, we
in this country don't have to toler-
ate that kind of pandering."
Audience member Russ
Bellant of Detroit said, "The
issue is compelling, and there
needs to be a lot more discus-
sion on it. The kind of discus-
sion we had tonight shows
there's a lot of perplexity on
these issues. I think it's insane
you would use government
funds for proselytization."
—Diana Lieberman, staff writer
of Kids Kicking
feel a tremendous
Cancer, will be the
loss of autonomy
and a decline in
March 26 as Norup
School in Oak Park
holds a week of
activities to raise
money for organi-
zations that fight
cancer in children.
The week of March 23-26
young cancer patients in the
has been designated March
martial arts, helping them to
view themselves as strong
Madness week at the school,
and capable, rather than as
which is part of the Berkley
School District. Norup is
To volunteer your time or
seeking individuals and busi-
financial support for the
nesses to help sponsor the
Norup School project, call
week's activities, including a
Gail Katz at the school,
basketball tournament and
(248) 837-8359, or Michelle
March Madness T-shirts. All
Nunally, (248) 546-0653.
funds will go to the
— Diana Lieberman,
Leukemia and Lymphoma
Society and Kids Kicking
uo pall) ottm <uo.rev
— Robert A. Sklar, editor
Norup Seeks Volunteers
Intermarriage is highest among Jews younger than
35; 41 percent who marry choose non-Jewish
But many newlyweds commit to a Jewish life
deeper than the one followed by their parents.
The birth rate is higher among highly committed
Jews, a factor that contributes to Jewish continu-
ity, Rabbi Kimelman said.
He said the increase in Jewish day care centers,
kosher restaurants and Jewish-related books on
the shelves of major booksellers is significant. even
if the number of Jews in America is dropping.
"It could be that we are losing the numbers
game," he said. "But it is clear there is an intensi-
fication of Jewish feeling."
"The question now is if there is enough quality
to counter the losses in quantity," he concluded.
"On that, the jury is still out."
Said Orville's mom once, with a sigh,
"Like Wilbur, you're some kind of guy.
You patshkied* around
'Til finally you found
An idea that really could fly."
— Martha Jo Fleischmann
* messed; fooled
Should Israel try again to assassinate
Q • Sheik
Ahmed Yassin, the founder and
spiritual leader of the Palestinian terror-
ist group Hamas?
To answer, click on Jewish.com
Last week's Jewish.com survey question asked:
Do you believe that there should
be a constitutional amendment on
Of 98 votes, 24 (24.5 percent) said yes, 63
(64.3 percent) said no, and 11 (11.2 percent)
said it should be a state decision.