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April 02, 2004 - Image 25

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-04-02

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have programs for them and that
there's Jewish life here at EMU —
that's important."
Encouraging a diverse student
body makes sense, Bernstein added,
because then students have the
opportunity to learn from people
who come from a wide range of
Bernstein said working with the
University to increase the number of
Jewish students also makes it easier
for the Jewish students already
attending EMU. Establishing a "crit-
ical mass" of Jewish students means
students won't have to feel singled
out for wanting to postpone an
exam, for 'example, because of Yom
While changes happen slowly, he
said, a sensitive administration and
others are committed to creating a
welcoming and attractive climate for
Jewish students.
Starting in the fall, students will
be able to take Hebrew and get cred-
it toward a language requirement. It
will be offered through the languages
department as a five-credit, twice-a-
week class instead of in its previous
capacity as a not-for-credit activity.
This semester also has seen an
increase in Judaic studies classes,
with a new biblical history course
added in the fall. "The Jewish com-
munity at the university is growing;
it's flourishing and the university is
really taking an active interest in
helping that to happen," said Hillel
Director Aaron Kaufman.
In the meantime, Kaufman said,
Hillel is working to secure funding
for a full-time program associate for
the fall. They recently hired a part-
time program associate to increase
programming capacity.
"I think Hillel can continue to
grow beyond the current one full-
time staff member and hopefully
two next year," Kaufman said. "We
are the only Jewish agency in all of
Ypsilanti and the needs of the Jewish
community at Eastern can easily
support a Hillel that is double, if not
triple, its current size.
"I think as these °initiatives gain
momentum and Jewish studies gains
momentum, the Jewish population
at Eastern is only going to grow." ❑

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