Teacher Lori Golani of Northville helps Scott
Goutman, 8, of West Bloomfield and Sydney
JPI director Marilyn Wolfe of West Bloomfield leads
a game in class.
Samantha and Jack Lebo, both 11, of Novi
listen in class.
Sokol, 8, of Commerce with Hebrew letter stamps.
Classes With Gusto
t Sunday morning classes at the Jewish Community Center in West
Bloomfield, the secular Jewish Parents Institute introduces its 50 children
from 40 member families to Jewish culture and history and explores the
underlying ethical and moral values inherent in the Jewish tradition.
JPI, now in its 61st year, is a school "where families of diverse backgrounds and
beliefs, single parents and interfaith couples are welcome says director Marilyn Wolfe.
"Parents have a say in curriculum and programming, and families celebrate holidays
A round table helps keep the Torah study discussion lively.
and Jewish life cycles together.
Classes for grades K-7 are kept small, making it possible for students to receive indi-
vidualized attention. Music, Jewish values and history all are important.
On a typical Sunday morning, the children begin their day with moms and dads and
siblings for a bagel breakfast. Then it's off to classes.
Holiday programs, at the JCC, are open to the community at no cost. ❑
- Keri Guten Cohen, story development editor
Discussion leader Jacqueline Fox of Farmington Hills makes a point as Shelton Stern
of Franklin listens.
Around The Table
iscussion leader Jacqueline Fox of Farmington Hills is a relative newcomer to
Temple Israel's Sunday morning Torah study group that's been meeting for
almost 25 years. She joined about five years ago.
The group was started by Batya Berlin of Southfield, who led the discussion for 19
years. They meet in the West Bloomfield temple's conference room each Sunday at 10:15
a.m., with a consistent 15-20 people showing up every week. They shmooze for a bit
while enjoying bagels and coffee, then get down to business.
Every week, they discuss the Torah portion for the coming Shabbat. Though each year
they discuss the same Torah portions, they always find something new to talk about.
"When I prepare, I go through the Torah portion and take notes as if I'm looking at it
for the first time Fox said. "Then I look to see what I can find from other sources and
finally I look at my notes from past years. I always try to bring something new to it."
She says discussions can get heated, especially when issues revolve around "what
must people who read this think or think of us, or how could God be so cruel, or how is
something today versus back then?"
Everyone contributes at one point or another.
"This is a lively group of people, and our study sessions are fun and interesting;' she
says. "I like it because I learn from it. Now there's a social part to it, too. We're very close
and we've become good friends. We have a seder together the last night of Passover
— it's become a tradition!' 0
- Ken Guten Cohen, story development editor
September 18 • 2008