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March 05, 2009 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-03-05

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Front Lines



Cemetery Coalition
The idea of an umbrella network for Jewish
cemeteries has become reality with an
Oakland County cemetery
administrator at the helm.
Ralph Zuckman of
Farmington Hills is
board chairman of the
new Jewish Cemetery
Association of North
America. He's the
executive director of the
Hill Park Cemetery of
Congregation Shaarey Zedek.
The new organization aims to spotlight
end-of-life issues and maintain Jewish
burial practices.
"Recognizing the ever changing land-
scape of the Jewish communities around
the country," Zuckman told the JN, "it
became apparent that there was a need
to provide an avenue for the exchange of
information and ideas for those involved in
operating Jewish cemeteries!'
JCANA was born at the National Chevra
Kadisha Convention last June in Edison,
N.J. The 12 founding member cemeteries
are now reaching out to the thousands of
independent Jewish cemeteries in the U.S.
and Canada.
"Population shifts around the country
have caused many Jewish cemeteries to be
abandoned or be operated with minimal
funding:' Zuckman said. "JCANA plans to
offer professional cemetery management


assistance to member cemeteries that
require information to plan for the future'
JCANAs first conference is set for June 7-
9 in Berkeley, Calif. Jewish cemetery manag-
ers and administrators will discuss Jewish
thought on cremation interments, interfaith
cemeteries and other common issues.
"Cemeteries throughout North America:'
Zuckman said, "are faced with the same
issues: managing trust funds, balancing
halachic burial practices with current inter-
pretations of Jewish laws, intermarriage, cre-
mation and general cemetery operations!'

Political Pow-Wow
A contingent of Orthodox leaders from
Metro Detroit met Feb. 17 with U.S. Sen.
Carl Levin, D-Detroit, at the Oak Park home
of local community activ-
ist Gary Torgow.
The meeting included
representatives of the New
York-based Orthodox
Union. Discussion topics
included the U.S.-Israel
relationship under the
Obama administration,
Carl Levin
the Iranian nuclear threat,
green and alternative
energy projects for non-public schools,
homeland security grants for vulnerable
local nonprofits and the state's economic
"It is important for us to know that we
have an advocate in Washington that is
willing to take the time to listen to our

concerns and to get to know us:' said Rabbi
Michael Cohen of Young Israel of Oak Park.
Rabbi Yechiel Morris of Young Israel of
Southfield, said: "Sen. Levin was receptive
to our concerns and candid in his assess-
ment of the current challenges facing the
country. His commitment to proactively fol-
low through on some of the issues that were
discussed was genuine and well received!'

Righteous Gentiles
A new graduate of the University of Michigan
heads the new Young Associates Division of
the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous. The
New York city-based organization tells the
story of people — Christians and Muslims
— who reached out to save Jewish victims of
Nazi persecution.
The nonprofit is dedicated to identify-
ing, honoring and supporting Righteous
Gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews
from death in Europe, especially Eastern
Europe, during the Holocaust. A top goal of
the organization is to teach young people
about the Holocaust.
Schulweis works in interactive market-
ing and advertising in New York City. While
attending the University of Michigan, he
volunteered at Head Start in Detroit.
He has put together a board of young-
professional colleagues working in a variety
of careers.
"This program takes the lessons of the
Holocaust and applies them in today's
world:' he said.

— All notes by Robert Sklar, editor


"North American Conservative Judaism is wres-
tling with demographic change (in other words,
the graying of our movement) and several
decades of intermarriage. We are challenged to
re-examine our assumptions about intermar-
riage while testing the limits of pluralism.
Specifically, how shall we relate to the support-
ive non-Jewish spouses in our communities and
movement institutions?"

— Rabbi Charles Simon, executive director of the

Conservative Movement's New York-based Federation

of Jewish Men's Cubs, in the spring issue of Voices of

Conservative/Masorti Judaism

Our JN Mission

Scroll Of Support

Mayor Ruvik Danilovich of Beer Sheva, Israel, (center) was presented Feb. 17 with
a 12-foot scroll of supportive messages written by community members at the
Jan. 8 Israel Solidarity Rally held at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield.
Presenting the scroll to Danilovich are B'nai B'rith International President Moishe
Smith and BBI Executive Vice-President Daniel Mariaschin. The presentation was
coordinated by Alan Schneider, director of BBI's World Center in Jerusalem. Cards
and letters gathered at the rally were distributed in Sderot by the Israel office of
the Anti-Defamation League. Letters to soldiers were delivered by the Friends of
the Israel Defense Forces.


March 5 • 2009

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