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July 02, 2004 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-07-02

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City: West Bloomfield
Kudos: The Holiday Teacher

Ever since she moved into the Hechtman II
Apartments seven years ago, Naomi Floch — the
first principal of Hillel Day School of Metropolitan
Detroit and a longtime Detroit Public Schools
teacher — has made it her business to gather
information about Jewish holidays and commemo-
rations and share it with her neighbors.

How did you start organizing Shabbat
"Ninety-eight-and-a-half percent of the people
who live here are Jewish and I wanted to give
them a Jewish education. Our first emphasis lies
with the holidays, traditions, ceremonies and
rituals; but we make sure to include commemo-
rative observances — like Yom HaShoah also."

When do you hold your sessions?
"They are part of our oneg Shabbat celebra-
tion on Friday nights. We offer them a week or
two before the holidays so people can learn
things in advance of the holiday."

How do you prepare for the programs?
"I work together with our general cultural
chairman, Sonia Glaser, who lives at Hechtman;
and we have a program committee. I write all
the material and then I contact people who I
know would be good participants and I ask
them to learn about an area and present it at the
oneg. That way, it's a double learning situation
for some of the people in the audience, too. We
also serve refreshments and that gives people a
chance to ask me more questions or set up a
time to discuss the material further."

Why do you volunteer?
"I'm not the type of person who can sit in a
chair with my hands folded. There is so much to
learn — and teach. For some people, the days
seem long. For me, the days are not long
enough." LI

— Shelli Leibman Dorfman,
staff writer


Know a Doer — someone of any age doing interest-
ing, meaningful things in their life outside of their
job? Share suggestions with Keri Guten Cohen, story
development editor, at (248) 351-5144 or e-mail:

7/ 2


See You In September

here is a TV commercial
for Southwest Airlines
that airs frequently at this
time of year.
It compares their bargain fares
to the feeling.that once swept
over you on the last day of
The ad shows a bunch of office
workers running merrily from
their building; screaming, throw-
ing paper in the air, behaving in a
generally unruly manner.
But one guy just strides
ahead with a dazed look on his face. That
would have been me.
I went through most of
my school years with that
sort of look. But on-the
day that school let out
for summer, it was
I never went to camp.
No one in my neighbor-
hood did. Once or twice
during the season, my dad
would manage to get a few
days away from his office;
and we would go on driving
trips somewhere.
When I say driving trips, I
mean just that. Stops were
made infrequently and reluc-
tantly. My dad's goal. seems to have
been to cover as many miles and shoot as many
rolls of eight-millimeter film as fast as humanly
possible. America just sort of whizzed by the car
But the rest of the summer consisted of extended
idleness; long, shapeless days of listening to the
radio or playing ball, either on an actual field or on
one of several board games that I owned.
Every once in a while, a tune pops into my head.
I know it from somewhere and can't place it. Then

George Cantor's e-mail address is


I realize it was a singing commercial implanted
deeply in my brain from those long-ago summer
radio days.
What makes it worse is that the jingle usually
plugs a product or company that no longer exists.
United Shirt Distributors. Worth Clothes.
Federal Department Stores. Hi-Speed Gasoline.
Robert Hall. Pfeiffer Beer.
Like some sort of weird alarm clock ringing in an
abandoned house, they go on pitching products no
one can buy.
Souvenirs of summers long past.
There would also be infatuations that ended
badly. Sometimes, the name pops into my
memory, but I search without success for
the accompanying face.
One summer, we had a front
porch and on rainy days
there was nothing better
than to sit there on the
swing with a book, a
Kool-Aid and a
portable radio
propped up on the
window ledge and
watch Tuxedo Avenue
in Detroit get wet.
The greatest blunder
in the history of
American domestic
architecture was doing
away with the front porch.
Decks don't even come close.
By August, the joy of the last day of
school had shriveled into boredom. "There's noth-
ing to do," I'd complain to my mother, who would
inevitably respond, "Only stupid people are
So I'd peddle over to the Parkman Branch and
get some books or daydream that a summer infatu-
ation would turn up in one of my classes in
September and rekindle the passion — or whatever
it is that passes for passion when you're 12.
On Labor Day, I'd watch the sunset and realize
that vacation was almost over and very little of the
anticipation of June had come true.
And I surrendered my freedom with a smile.

Shabbat Candlelighting

"I cherish each time I light my Shabbos candles because it is my special time to stand before God
alone and talk to Him. Then, when I uncover my eyes and look at the beautiful lights, I feel very
connected with Him as I begin Shabbos."
— Sara Field, librarian, Oak Park

Friday, July 2, 8:55 p.m.

Friday, July 9, 8:53 p.m.

Shabbat Ends
Saturday, July 3, 10:06 p.m.

Shabbat Ends
Saturday, July 10, 10:03 p.m.

To submit a candlelighting message, call Miriam Anmalak of the Lubavitch Women's Organization at (248) 548-6771 or e-mail: miriamamzalakl@juno.com

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