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March 12, 2004 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-03-12

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

LETTERS

We portefte r j elcetttleert s t eth
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inedthei Je wishwN
rite ewrss. gW
eneerr oe
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one letter per 4-6 week period, space permitting.
Letters must contain the name, address and title of the writer, and a daytime
telephone number. Original copies must-be hand signed. Mail to the Jewish News
at 29200 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 110, Southfield, MI 48034;
fax to (248) 304-8885; or e-mail to: rsklar@thejewishnews.com

Selection Process Flawed

Kudos to Farmington Hills resident
Susan Burstein Kahn for an outstanding
letter ("School Action Questioned,"
March 5, page 6) in which she questions
the selection of Howard Wallach as the
newest trustee on the Farmington Board
of Education.
It is difficult to stand up in opposition
to the political advancement of a promi-
nent community leader. Mrs. Burstein
Kahn is to be commended for her
integrity and her willingness to be politi-
cally incorrect when the need arises.
The board (with the exception of Mr.
Jack Inch, who recused himself) selected
Mr. Wallach in a process that appears to
have been flawed and rushed. His
resume and credentials appear impres-
sive; but politics is, colloquially writing,
for grown-ups. His wanting to do a
good job does not give him the educa-
tional experiences, involvement and cre-
dentials necessary to serve on the board
of education. Neither, might I add, does
his position as the Anti-Defamation
League chairman.
Those survey questions about ethnici-
ty, race and religion, which Mrs.
Burstein Kahn addressed in her letter,
are most distressing. The ADL was born
in opposition to such questions.
We must, as a Jewish community,
stop creating hagiography around each
Jew (for example, Mr. Wallach and for-
mer vice presidential candidate Joseph
Lieberman) who runs for office. It is
nice when a highly qualified Jewish can-
didate succeeds, but we should not be
any easier or any harder on a politician
because of his religion.
I wish Mr. Wallach well, both for the
sake of the district's students and for his
own personal sake; however, the process
that selected him was wrong, and the
substance of appointing him when there
were significantly more qualified candi-
dates interviewing for the position also is
wrong.
Eric j. Rosenberg
Farmington Hills

Wallach Well Qualified

I was disappointed to read the letter
titled "School Action Questioned"
(March 5, page 6), in which the writer
used the opportunity to criticize the
appointment of Howard Wallach to fill
a two-month term on the Farmington
school board as well as to suggest his
appointment smacked of a "good old
boys" network, qualifications aside.
Having known and served with Mr.
Wallach in various volunteer leadership
capacities over the past 12 years, I can

3/12
2004

6

speak first hand of his abilities. I can
also attest to the difficulty in developing
and maintaining a volunteer leadership
base whether at a synagogue, school or
community organization. To suggest
that Mr. Wallach is part of a "good old
boys' network is not only inaccurate, it
also is an affront to those who have
served with him.
In answer to the writer's question: No
— holding a voluntary leadership posi-
tion with the Anti-Defamation League
does not, in and of itself, give one the
requisite knowledge to be a school board
member. However, it does provide a
context for applying a decision-making
model in a leadership position as do Mr.
Wallach's previous leadership roles,
including with the Jewish Community
Council and the Israel Cancer
Association of Michigan.
Qualification to hold office should be
determined by overall experience in
leadership roles where a leader is
required to make decisions on a variety
of issues, not just by agreement with a
narrow agenda, such as the writer's
opposition to the district's International
Affairs course.
While the writer has every right to her
opinions and to express them, using the
Jewish News to attack the character of a
respected Jewish communal volunteer
does little to further her own cause or to
encourage others to assume the mantle
of leadership.
Scott Cranis
West Bloomfield

the issues and spoke with care and con-
sideration. With help from the ADL
educational director and other ADL
leaders, Howard made unemotional sug-
gestions based on sound educational
principles and foresight and eventually
for what was right for the students, the
administration and the community. At
the ADL, anti-bias education is part of
our core mission and outreach.
At a time when industry giants and
corporate heads are forgetting their
ethics and obligation to their boards and
shareholders, Howard Wallach deserves
our highest praise. His integrity and
morality is above reproach. The
Farmington Board of Education
deserves accolades for recognizing the
dedication and commitment of this fine
leader, not criticism of their appoint-
ment.
Betsy Kellman
regional director,
Anti-Defamation League
Bloomfield Township

Wallach Leads By Example

It became clear to us that the Jewish
News does not check facts before print-
ing letters such as the one submitted by
Susan Burstein Kahn ("School Action
Questioned," March 5, page 6).
Howard Wallach, newly appointed to
the Farmington Board of Education,
was criticized for not responding to or
having a comment when a member of
the outspoken F-PEN group was
attacked" by the board. Howard was
not even a member of the board at that
time. Why would a non-board member
step in and respond as a board member?
Has Mr. Wallach ever been asked for a
comment?
As for as the International Affairs class
is concerned, Mr. Wallach spent count-
less hours reviewing the curriculum" with
teachers and administrators alike when
he was asked to step in as chair of the
ADL and give his opinion of the already
approved curriculum. Ms. Kahn said he
"claimed" to have reviewed the curricu-
lum, thus putting in question if he actu-
ally did review the curriculum. Did she
call the superintendent's office and the
teachers involved, or even Howard, to
see if he did indeed meet with them for
the many hours that he did?
He is a man of integrity like few we
have had the honor and privilege to
meet. He leads by quiet example with
his children and organizations, never
hurting or attacking a fellow human
being. We know the board will be
enhanced by his insight and thoughtful-
ness. Reasonable people do differ, hope-
fully in a respectful way. We have never

known Howard to be anything but
respectful and thoughtful in his
approach to issues.
Dr. Paul and Cheryl Darmon
Farmington Hills

Focus On The Issues

I write in response to the letter "School
Action Questioned" (March 5, page 6).
Rather than take the opportunity to
inform me about the issues, the writer
chose to attack personally the character
of a well-meaning person, who has vol-
unteered countless hours to countless
causes, simply because they have a dif-
ference of opinion.
In fact, the truth is that while their
respective approaches differ, both sides
of this debate really want the same
thing; the best possible education for
students who will graduate prepared to
enter the world not merely well
informed, but also with an open mind,
ready to separate fact from fiction, truth
from lies, and sometimes (unfortunately
all too often) even good from evil.
The importance of this goal warrants
quiet thought and careful reason.
Whether this author has a legitimate
gripe against the Farmington schools (I
don't pretend to know) is certainly
something that merits open debate. But
debate will only serve the students if it is
civil and limited to the issues.
Daniel M. Levy
West Bloomfield

((

Wallach A Strong Leader

Howard Wallach is not a volunteer at
the Anti-Defamation League ("School
Action Questioned," March 5, page 6).
He is "the" lay leader and I say that
word "leader" with pride.
For the past two years, Howard
Wallach has epitomized the word
mentsh. When I began my position at
the ADL, it was Mr. Wallach who
helped me come up with a strategy and
direction for the agency. With a gentle
demeanor, he supported me with kind-
ness, integrity and sincerity.
Howard Wallach is a bright, energetic,
tactful and committed man. We are
grateful for his leadership at the ADL
and are proud of his accomplishments
with the school board, and support his
industry to that organization.
Letter writer Susan Burstein Kahn's
suggestion that "he claimed" to have
read the curriculum for the International
Affairs class is patently untrue. When
other activists loudly pushed for change,
Howard made sure he was educated on

Hiller Merits Support

As Israel continues to need and deserve
our community's support, we can be
proud and gratified that Jim Hiller, pres-
ident of Hiller's Markets, has taken a
stand in continuing the promotion of
Israeli products in his stores ("Standing
With Israel," March 5, page 13).
What began as an act of generosity
has turned into an act of courage. In the
face of public criticism and threat of a
boycott of his business, Mr. Hiller has
not backed down, but has indeed accel-
erated his program to increase awareness
and sales of Israeli products in his stores,
with all proceeds from sales going
through the Federation to directly bene-
fit humanitarian aid and rescue opera-
tions in Israel. Since its inception last
October, this program has exceeded all
expectations.
Thousands of dollars have been raised
and every dollar has helped support chil-
dren, victims of terror, families at risk,
those who are now the most vulnerable
in Israel's complex society.
What Israel needs now is more Jim

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