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February 03, 2005 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-02-03

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

Metro

The Snowflakes Won't
Know What Hit Them

The inside Track

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Ann Arbor
niversity of Michigan sopho-
more Lauren Levin of West
Bloomfield is a member of a
"club of Jewish introspection."
Membership is growing in this
club called the Maimonides Leaders
Fellowship, which began in
September 2002 in Ann Arbor and
has spawned 15 branches across the
United States and Canada. So far,
about 550 students have graduated
from the program in North America.
The 10-week leadership develop-
ment program is the vision of Rabbi
Avraham Jacobovitz, affectionately
known to the stu-
dents as "Rabbi J."
In addition to a
weekly two-hour
course on a wide
range of Jewish
issues, participants
have the opportu-
nity to interact
with individuals
who have made
Judaism the focal
point of their lives.
Five field trips
range from spend-
ing Shabbat in the
Orthodox commu-
nity of Oak Park to
visiting a sixth-
grade Talmud class
in Toronto.
"I couldn't have
asked for a better
Gross
experience," Levin
said. "I have always
had a strong faith,
and the program
definitely con-
firmed it."
Levin was one of
25 U-M students
who graduated
recently from the
Maimonides pro-
gram offered at the
Levin
Jewish Resource
Center (JRC) near
campus.
"Four years ago, I wanted to create
a framework for students that would
encourage Jewish education in a
meaningful way," said Rabbi J, a

U

MO./24 MOS.
12,000 MILES/YEAR*
$1,500 due at signing

Welcome to the
state of independence

Special to the Jewish News

913410

native of Tel Aviv, who has served as
a Jewish educator on various college
campuses in Michigan for the past
25 years.
One of the challenges he faced was
that many students needed part-time
jobs and therefore could not commit
to the program. To address this
issue, he gained financial support
from various phi-
lanthropists; he
now uses these
resources, in addi-
tion to national
funding, to provide
participants with a
$400 stipend.
"We were able to
answer students'
concerns by bring-
ing together a
comprehensive
package," said
Rabbi J, founder of
the Oak Park-based
Macon L'Torah —
The Jewish
Learning Network
of Michigan.
"I think one of
the biggest indica-
Landau
tors of the success
of the program is
that 85 percent of
the participants last semester were
referrals," said Rabbi Aaron
Eisemann, who coordinates the
Maimonides Fellowship. He calls it a
"club of Jewish introspection."
Rabbi Eisemann compared the
Fellowship to a cooking class in
which students "learn the recipe of
how and why Judaism works and to
taste it in the world around them.
"This is part of Jewish philosophy
— to go out into the Jewish world,
to live by Jewish principles and to
use Jewish values to help others."
Because Judaism is a religion that
encourages participation in society,
one of the goals, according to Rabbi
Eisemann, is to present the Torah as
"as system through which you can
maximize your potential."
"As part of the course, we bring in
professionals who are also successful
in their Judaism," he explained.
"They feel that they are successful
professionally because of their
Judaism, not in spite of it."

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