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October 27, 2005 - Image 40

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-10-27

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Metro

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Fisher and Taubman eased
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wo Jewish mega-philanthro-
pists, A. Alfred Taubman and
the late Max M. Fisher, corn-
bined to allow civil rights pioneer
Rosa Parks to live the twilight
years of her life in comfort at the
Riverfront Apartments in down-
town Detroit. She died there
Monday at age 92.
Mrs. Parks, who launched the
civil rights movement in America
when she refused to give her seat
to a white man on a Montgomery,
Ala., bus in 1955, had been living
alone on Detroit's west side in
1994 when she was assaulted by a
man who broke into her home.
"The assailant roughed her up,
but she was OK; however, we did-
n't want her to go back to that
neighborhood:' recalled her long-

T

time friend, Federal Appeals Court
Judge Damon Keith, who is hear-
ing cases this week in Cincinnati,
the seat of the U.S. Sixth Circuit.
"So I called my friend Al Taubman
and told him what happened. He
said to get her over to the
Riverfront Apartments, and she
could live there the rest of her life."
Mrs. Parks later publicly forgave
her attacker.
Judge Keith said Mrs. Parks
paid rent there for a while, then
Taubman, of Bloomfield Hills, and
Fisher, of Franklin, helped estab-
lish a foundation to allow her to
stay rent free.
"I remember that Max sent me
a check, with a note that said:
`Damon, if this isn't enough, just
call me and I'll send more'," said
Judge Keith. "Then, just five years
ago, Al and Max combined to

Mrs. Parks Remembered

Detroiters pay tribute to the heroine of civil rights.

Harry Kirsbaum

Staff Writer

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40

osa Parks' grace and her act
of civil disobedience rever-
berated through the Detroit
Jewish community upon news of
her death. Rabbi Paul Yedwab of
Temple Israel in West Bloomfield
grew up in the civil rights move-
ment.
As a kid in the 1960s, he took
part in civil rights protests with
his parents in Lakewood, N.J.
His father, Rabbi Stanley
Yedwab, a Reform rabbi, was the
founding president of Ocean
Inc., Ocean County's poverty
program. His mother, Myra, was
a co-founder and teacher of
Head Start.
Rabbi Paul Yedwab said he
never met Parks, "but she
seemed like she was part of the

family."
"Jews of my generation define
themselves in many ways
Jewishly through their affiliation
with the civil rights movement"
he said. "It was in some ways
one of the most important
expressions of their belief in
prophetic Judaism, and Rosa
Parks was, if you will, the
prophet. She was the one who
stood up by sitting down. We all
followed her."
Rabbi David Nelson of
Congregation Beth Shalom in
Oak Park called Mrs. Parks a
woman of great grace and pres-
ence who didn't want to be in the
limelight.
"She was a powerful reminder
of what one person could do,"
said Rabbi Nelson, who brought
her name up during Yizkor serv-

October 27 2005

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