EUROPEAN & AMERICAN
Reinvigorate Jewish Detroit!
e see empty houses and zoning violation notices
glued to front doors in our neighborhoods. We
see friends who, after a lifetime of giving to char-
itable causes, are now in need of some charity themselves.
We see an army of independent contractors and business
consultants — in those roles by necessity, not choice. We see
adult children moving to other cities
for economic opportunity.
We sift through the findings of
last year's Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit demographic
study and see an aging, shrinking
Is it any wonder we see the glass as
half empty? Or, that we add our voices
to the chorus of negativity about our
future as a Detroit Jewish community?
The economic and demographic
trends in Southeast Michigan are
alarming and envelop the Jewish community. But it's time
to stop surrendering to the perceived inevitably of
decline and decay.
It's time to aggregate the attributes
of our region and our community in
ways that make us a magnet — yes,
a magnet — for Jewish entrepre-
neurs and their families from
around the country ... includ-
ing our kids who moved to
Chicago, New York, Los
Angeles, Washington, D.C.,
And it's time to fast-
track Jewish community
revitalization to the top of
Federation's strategic agenda.
What are these attributes?
• Attitude adjustment. Folks, let's start
by changing the conversation from "CAN'T DO" to "CAN DO."
It's counterproductive to hear parents, community leaders and
rabbis tell their children and congregants that if they want
a future, they should leave Detroit. If we don't believe in our
future, who will?
• Jewish communal infrastructure. The quality of
Jewish life in the Detroit area is extraordinary and unique.
We assume that every community is like Detroit. Wrong! The
array of social, educational, religious, cultural and recreational
opportunities are broad and of high quality, with a safety net
of services for vulnerable populations. The Federation plan-
ning and endowment umbrella helps keep the community
pulling in the same direction.
• Access to venture capital and venture capitalists.
Within Detroit's Jewish community are some of the most cre-
ative businesspeople, and job creators, in America. They are
willing and able to support business ideas, provide mentoring
and are testimonials that you can be successful right here in
• Quality of life. When we scrape off the "rust" from our
belts, Michigan offers a beautiful place to live, play and raise
• Ann Arbor. Forty-five minutes from where most of us
live is the University of Michigan, one of America's finest
universities, and Ann Arbor, one of America's finest university
towns. Make Ann Arbor part of Jewish Detroit's allure.
• Affordable housing. The glass is half full on this one!
By the way, have you seen what homes in Highland Park,
Ill.; Livingston, N.J.; the San Fernando Valley in California;
Bethesda, Md.; and Newton, Mass., cost these days?
• Brainpower. The University of Michigan, Michigan
State University and Wayne State University form a powerful
research triangle" that surrounds our community with inno-
vation, creativity and laboratories of opportunity.
In response to the demographic trends, Federation assem-
bled a task force to study ways to attract Jews, especially those
in their 20s and 30s, to the area. Its recommendations are
likely to advocate coordinating community agencies, private
resources and metro-area foundations to find and create jobs
— and promoting the quality of Jewish life here.
The recommendations must be funded aggressively. Many
of the community's endowments provide dol-
lars for Jewish agencies, programs and
services in perpetuity. What good are
perpetual funds if the Jewish com-
munity diminishes dramatically
on our watch?
The Jewish News in your
hands includes the debut
of our monthly business
section. It will highlight
the emerging generation of
business leaders and entre-
preneurs, the ones who will
help reshape and revitalize Detroit's
/ Jewish community.
It includes a monthly profile of a per-
son who has "come back" to Detroit
and achieved business success. It is
sponsored by ePrize, whose CEO Josh
Linkner, came home, achieved success and created hundreds
of jobs in the process.
The section also includes a monthly Doer Profile. It is
sponsored by Southfield-based Telemus, one of America's hot-
test investment firms and led by young doers who are deeply
committed to the Jewish community.
Part of our community's uniqueness is the Jewish News.
According to the Federation demographic study, Detroiters
read their hometown Jewish News with more frequency than
do the members of any other American Jewish community
studied. We will use our "bully pulpit" to keep revitalization
of Jewish Detroit at the top of the community's strategic
agenda. I 1
What else should Federation do to rally
U) W us around an aggressive response?
What community strengths should we
play up as retention/attraction tools?
271 WEST MAPLE
July 12 • 2007