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May 04, 2006 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-05-04

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



'Gosh, ,Flow I Miss You'

Gary Weinstein tells of
losing "the rest of my life."

The Weinstein family:

Judy and Gary with

sons Alex and Sam.

Robin Schwartz
Special to the Jewish News


ove, not hate, was the focus
of a moving victim's impact
statement delivered by Gary
Weinstein of Farmington Hills at the
April 26 sentencing for the drunk
driver who killed his wife and two
young sons.
"I want you all to know that I don't
hate this Tom Wellinger guy," Weinstein
told the tearful crowd inside an
Oakland County courtroom. "I just hate
what he did."
Weinstein did not directly address
Thomas Wellinger, who stood just a few
feet away. Instead, he read emotional
letters to his wife Judy and sons Alex,
12, and Sam, 9. All three were killed
one year ago this week on May 3, 2005,
when Wellinger slammed into their car
on 12 Mile Road near Orchard Lake
Road in Farmington Hills. At the time
of the crash, Wellinger had a blood
alcohol level of 0.43— more then five
times the legal limit. He pled no contest
to three counts of second-degree mur-
der and was sentenced to 19-30 years
in prison.
"This tragedy ripped at the very
heart of family life in our community,"
Weinstein read. "Gosh, how I miss you.
I can hardly stand the thought of mov-
ing forward in my life without you."
In his letters, Weinstein told his
deceased loved ones about the events
of the past year. "Alex, we went ahead
with your bar mitzvah celebration in
November as planned. We sang songs,


May 4 3 2006

had a chocolate fountain with fresh
strawberries and party hats all around.
You would have loved it',' he said.
He also spoke about the funeral
and the days that followed the crash.
"Sammy, as your friends came by the
house in the days and weeks after the
accident, I was overwhelmed by how
many of them knew you as their best
friend:' Weinstein said. "Forever and
ever, I will love you:'
One day after making those powerful
remarks, Weinstein met face-to-face
with Wellinger at the Oakland County
Jail in a rare court-ordered meeting.
Weinstein's attorney, Barry LaKritz, said
they gathered important information
for a pending civil lawsuit during the
two-hour session. LaKritz also filed a
petition for $8.1 million in restitution
to compensate for the loss of future
earnings of the Weinstein children.
"How do you replace human life?
How do you put a value on human
lives?" LaKritz said.
Wellinger offered an apology toWein-
stein during the private meeting and
appeared remorseful, LaKritz said.
Weinstein didn't speak because he said
all he wanted to say during his victim's
impact statement.
"When I see a senior citizen couple
or a young family, I always stop to
wonder, what if;' Weinstein said as he
concluded his remarks in court. "What
it might have been like to grow old with
my wife, to watch my boys grow as they
learned the lessons of life. I will never
truly know and this is what I lost. I lost
the rest of my life."

Dove Names Honorees

The Dove Institute has announced its 2006
Dove Dinner honorees.
Rabbi Daniel Nevins of Adat Shalom
Synagogue will receive the James R. Lyons
Award. Since mov-
ing to Farmington
Hills in 1994, Rabbi
Nevins has been
actively involved
with the Dove
Institute and with
interfaith activities
in the Detroit area.
Most recently he
Rabbi Nevins
served as president
of the Farmington
Area Interfaith
Association and last spring led a group of
Christians and Jews, clergy and lay people,
to Rome and Jerusalem.
He serves on the boards of the
American Jewish Committee and the
National Conference
for Community and
Justice and teaches at
the Jewish Academy
of Metropolitan
Susan Yorke was a -
member of the first
dialogue group at the
institute. She also
served on its board
Susan Yorke
and co-chaired the
2000 Dove Dinner.
As an active member of the Speakers
Bureau, she has shared her love of Judaism
with Christian congregations throughout
the metropolitan area and is completing
her second term as president of Temple
Israel in West Bloomfield.
The Dove Dinner will be held 6:30
p.m. Thursday, May 11, at Congregation
Shaarey Zedek Southfield. Guy Gordon
of WDIV-TV will serve as master of cer-
emonies. Pianist Sasha Buhrstein will
Dinner tickets are $150 per person. Call
Barbara Yuhas, (248) 557-4522.

Benefit Aids Kids

Yeshivat Akiva in Southfield will host
an afternoon of activities to benefit
Kids Kicking Cancer Sunday, May 7. The
program will pair an Akiva high school
student with a child with cancer who par-
ticipates in KKC.
Kids Kicking Cancer is a national orga-
nization founded by Rabbi Elimelech .
Goldberg of Southfield. The program
encourages children to use martial arts,
meditation and other techniques in their
cancer treatments.
The Akiva event will include cookie dec-
orating, arts and crafts, games organized

by Joe Cornell, and snacks. A highlight of
the event will be a marital arts demonstra-
tion by members of KKC.
The program will begin at 2 p.m. Games
will be from 2:15 until 3:15 p.m. Arts and
crafts will be held from 3:30 until 4 p.m.,
and the martial arts demonstration will be
at 4 p.m. •
All proceeds will be donated to KKC.

Teen ToUr Set

Jewish teenagers will see old and new
Jewish Detroit on a B'nai B'rith Youth
Organization. bus tour on Sunday, May 7.
The Jewish Heritage tour, in conjunc-
tion with the Jewish Historical Society
of Metropolitan Detroit, will begin at 1
p.m. from Adat Shalom Synagogue in
Farmington Hills and return there at 4
The tour is open to all Jewish ninth-
12th graders at no charge and a snack will
be provided. Pre-registration is required
through the BBYO, (248) 788-0700.

Hadassah Installation

The Eleanor Roosevelt Group of Hadassah
will hold its installation 6:30 p.m. May 9
at Gourmet Garden Chinese restaurant in
Farmington Hills.
Meredith Weston Band will install Jackie
Cohen, president; Fran Heicklen, Evelyn
Freeman, Sue Rollinger, Suzi Boschan,
Eva Lande, Doreen Turbow, Sharon
Goldenberg, Brenda Altus, vice presidents;
Gayle Eder, treasurer; Roz Klein, Debbi
Eber, Arlene Beerman, secretaries; Sonja
Kass and Marcia Bednarsh, publicity;
Margie Stern, cheers and tears; Gail Katz,
There is a charge. RSVP: Hadassah,
(248) 683-5030.

Building Strong Women

Little bears, big
business and women
who dare to make a
difference will be the
focus of the Jewish
Women's Foundation
of Metropolitan
Detroit annual spring
luncheon with Build-
A-Bear founder,
Maxine Clark
president, CEO and a
Jewish philanthropist
Maxine Clark.
The event is 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday,
May 15, at Congregation Shaarey Zedek
Cost is $40 per person, with reserva-
tions requested by May 10. Contact Helen
Katz, (248) 203-1483 or katz@jfmd.org .

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