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September 10, 2004 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-09-10

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Reshaping Jewish Detroit

o our valued
readers and
Since arriv-
ing in Detroit in 1986,
I have had the oppor-
tunity and pleasure to
provide a "State of the
ARTHUR M. Jewish News" to you as
HO RWITZ part of the annual Rosh
Hashanah issue. In so
many ways, you are all
stakeholders in this
enterprise. Your loyal and passionate
readership and/or investment of adver-
tising dollars have helped to make the
Jewish News the country's preeminent
community publication. In return, we
have continued to reshape the content
and scope of the Jewish News to keep it
timely, relevant and attuned to the
changing demographics and media pref-
erences of the Detroit Jewish communi-
The good news is that advances
in technology enable us to tighten
our production timetable, enhance
reproductive quality, significantly
expand our JN Online Web site
wwvv.detroitjewishnews.com and cap-
ture data that enable us, in turn, to
refine our offerings. Our content, under
the editorial direction of Robert A.
Sklar, is geared to satisfy the interests of



As a graduate of the University of
Michigan class of 2004, I witnessed first
hand the struggle over Judaism that is
fought on campus. Although there are
many Jewish "events" that go on in Ann
Arbor, few organizations run events that
are Jewish in content.
If we are serious about combating the
spread of Jewish assimilation, and espe-
cially the potential proliferation of Jews
for Jesus, it is vital for us to invest in
organizations that promote Judaism as a
vibrant culture, philosophy and ideology.
Luckily, U-M is blessed with one
organization that does just this, focusing
on exposing Jews of all denominations
to an educated and profound Judaism;
one that encourages free thought and




The Community We Serve

Strategically, we had viewed the Detroit
Jewish community as a series of concen-
tric circles, with the middle constituting
our readers. The second ring around our
core had consisted of those who are
involved in the Jewish community (for
example, givers to the Federation's
Annual Campaign, members of a syna-
gogue, members of the Jewish
Community Center) but not readers of
the Jewish News. And the outer ring had
comprised those who are not readers of
the Jewish News and not involved with
the organized Jewish community.
In many ways, our content and mar-
keting initiatives were designed to have
the ripple effect of a pebble tossed into a
still pond. The hit was at the core, with
the impact radiating outward and, par-
don the expression, getting watered

down, along the way. For example, we
made an investment in Ann Arbor news
coverage this past year that benefits our
core readers and, at the same time, pro-
vides reason for involved Jewish resi-
dents of Ann Arbor to read the Jewish


The 2000 National Jewish Population
Study, inspired and underwritten by
Detroit Jewish community visionary
Mandell L. Berman and released within
the past year, has changed how we view
the local Jewish community. Instead of a
Jewish community of concentric circles,
the study sees a Jewish community that
resembles a barbell ... involved (and in
some cases, with considerable intensity)
on one side of the bar and uninvolved,
unengaged and disinterested on the
other side.
What does this mean for you, our val-
ued readers? The Jewish News will be
true to its mission and bring you, via
print and electronic means, useful and
engaging information you can't find else-
where. For advertisers, we will continue
to deliver a loyal, buying-oriented audi-
ence who treats their messages in the
Jewish News with the reverence of a
Good Housekeeping seal of approval.
However, we are facing a stark reality
... the Jewish News cannot be the out-
reach vehicle that, on its own, brings
uninvolved and disinterested Jews (to

the extent that they consider themselves
Jewish) into the community's embrace.
Concentric circles touch. Barbells don't,
except for a very narrow connection.
Many of you are involved in Jewish
communal causes as volunteers, leaders
and contributors. As the 2000 National
Jewish Population Study underscores, it
isn't business as usual. How many of you
are demanding accountability from your
favorite causes, whether it's your syna-
gogue, Federation, JCC or Zionist
group, requiring them to show how they
are adapting with the times, not just liv-
ing in the past. For starters, ask them if
they have read the National Jewish
Population Study and how they feel it
impacts their assumptions about the
Detroit Jewish community.
As we head into the New Year 5765,
may you and your loved ones be blessed
with health, happiness, peace and con-
tentment. May terrorism around the
world be controlled and eradicated. And
may one of your "resolutions" for the
New Year be that you will challenge the
status quo within the Detroit Jewish
community, and commit your time and
passion to reshape it to the demographic
realities of the 21st century. ❑

Eshanah tovah,

We prefer letters that relate to articles in the Jewish News. We reserve the right to edit or reject letters. Brevity is encouraged. Letter writers gen-
erally are limited to 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 We prefer letters to be e-mailed. More original letters are posted at www.detroitjewishnews.com

A Valued Resource


longtime readers along with those of
their children and grandchildren. And
we continue to attract and retain a
remarkably talented staff who are dedi-
cated to Our JN Mission (stated each
week on page 8) of providing you with .
information that's "useful, engaging,
enjoyable and unique" and reflective of
"the full range of diverse viewpoints
while also advocating positions that
advocate Jewish unity and continuity."

exploration, as well as a deep connection
to Jewish tradition.
The Jewish Resource Center, run by
Machon L'Torah, served an important
role in my Jewish college experience.
The organization reaches hundreds of
Jews on campus and strengthens their
connection to the Jewish People. Only a
lack of funds prevents them from having
a larger impact and creating stronger
Jewish ties both on our campus and on
campuses around the country.
I would encourage all those who are
serious about combating assimilation
and the spread of Jews to Jesus to invest
in groups that teach active Judaism, such
as the JRC in Ann Arbor.
Joshua Skarf

A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture
and Urban Planning
Ann Arbor

A Campus Treasure

I read "Aiming For Detroit," about
the Jews for Jesus organization coming
to metro Detroit and Ann Arbor
(Aug. 27, page 16). I want to share
with you information about another
organization that has been operating
in this area for several years doing
"Jews for Judaism"-type work.
Two years ago, I came to the
University of Michigan as a very
Reform, confused 18-year-old Jew. On
campus, I ran into Rabbi Aaron
Eisemann of Machon L'Torah's JAAM
(Jewish Awareness AMerica) and have
spent the last two years studying tradi-
tional Judaism with him and other
great teachers.
I have spent hours studying Jewish
philosophy, ideology and tradition. I
have traveled to places like Los

Angeles, Toronto and Oak Park,
spending time with amazing Jewish
communities and learning with them.
I now have a much deeper under-
standing of Judaism in general and
specifically what Judaism means to me
because of my involvement in JAAM.
It is truly a special place with very spe-
cial people working very hard to edu-
cate Jewish students on campus about
Judaism in a very positive way.
I am confident that the students
who I have learned with at JAAM will
be able to effectively stand up to the
Jews for Jesus supporters. We will
show how strong the University of
Michigan Jewish community has
become because of our learning at
David Morley

Ann Arbor

LETTERS on page 9

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