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July 09, 2009 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-07-09

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Mi tAiglit ysitE

Front Lines






Advertising Sales
Publisher/President Arthur M. Horwitz
Sales Director: Keith Farber
Account Executives: Ann G. Abrams, Jan Haskell,
Melissa Litvin, Heidi Martin, Rick Nessel, Dharlene Norris
Senior Sales Assistant: Kim Metzger

Ordained In Germany

First German-trained Orthodox students become rabbis.

Shelli Liebman Dorfman
Senior Writer


abbi Steven Burg was able to
observe firsthand the growth
of Jewish life in Germany on
a visit to Munich where he attended the
first Orthodox rabbinic ordination of
German-trained rabbinical students.
Burg, international director of NCSY,
the New York-based Orthodox Union
(OU) youth program — who lived in the
Detroit area while serving as associate
director of NCSY's Central East region
from 1996-2000 — joined Jews from
around the world at the history-making
The two new rabbis — Zsolt Balla, 30
and Avraham Radbill, 25 — graduated
from the newly established Orthodox
rabbinical seminary, Rabbinerseminar zu
Berlin. The seminary was founded by the
Central Council of Jews in Germany and
the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation. It grew
out of the programs of the Torah-study
institution Yeshivas Beis Zion in Berlin.
There are seven more students in the rab-
binical program there.
Having already met Balla on a visit to
Germany last year, Burg reconnected with
the new rabbi at the June 2 ordination
ceremony. And Both Balla and Radbill
had previous OU connections, having vis-
ited the agency's New York headquarters
last August to participate in a seminar
on kashrut laws. Balla also collaborated
on the Hungarian and German editions
of the NCSY bencher, edited by David
Olivestone, OU national director of corn-

munications and planning.
Burg first met Balla last year in
Germany where Burg worked with the
Lauder Foundation to develop strategies
to inspire Jewish teens, something he
strived for during his four-year tenure at
the Southfield NCSY regional office.
During his time in Detroit, Burg cre-
ated NCSY's Latte and Learning program,
bringing high school students to coffee
houses to discuss the relevance of Torah
in secular life. The program is now in
place in dozens of cities across North
America and has expanded to Chile,
where NCSY has a thriving presence.
Burg was joined in Germany by Rabbi
Zvi Sobolofsky, of Yeshiva University in
New York and NCSY Kollel, a program of
touring and learning in Israel for high
school students.

A Momentous Event
"The rabbinical ordination that recently
took place in Germany was a truly sig-
nificant and momentous occasion': Burg
said. "This extraordinary ceremony was
televised throughout Germany and left
everyone in attendance inspired, our eyes
brimming with tears and shining with
The fact that the German minister of
the interior was there to witness the event
is unbelievable when one considers that
the same position was once in charge of
the Gestapo during the Holocaust:'
Rabbi Joshua Spinner, vice president
of the Lauder Foundation, said, "We
intended for the day to be a statement
that Torah Judaism is alive in Germany,
and impressively so. Responses to the day


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Rabbis Balla and Burg following ordina-

tion of the German-trained Orthodox
rabbinical students.

indicate we were successful in our goal."
In addition to attending the ordination
ceremony, Burg and Sobolofsky led 20
students of Yeshivas Beis Zion, including
the two new rabbis, on a mission touring
"We wanted to show the young men
who had just finished a yeshivah pro-
gram their Jewish roots:' Burg said.
Further cooperation is planned
between NCSY and Am Echad, the Youth
and National Outreach Department of
Lauder Yeshurun, which is dedicated to
facilitating Jewish education for young
Jews in Germany.
"The recent rabbinical ordination, the
fact that Am Echad is flourishing and the
day school in Germany that is growing
rapidly, all signify the growth in building
b'nei Torah [children who follow a Torah
way of life] in Germany;' Burg said.
"The purpose of this trip was to
advance the cause of passionate Judaism,
and give strength and moral support to
those all over the world who are in the
trenches of that cause' 1-1


Editor: Robert A. Sklar
Associate Editor: Alan Hitslcy
Story Development Editor: Keri Guten Cohen
Arts Editor: Gail Zimmerman
Senior Writer: Shell Liebman Dorfman
Senior Columnist: Danny Raskin
Columnists: George Cantor, Robin Schwartz, Steve Stein

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Senior Copy Editor: David Sachs
Copy Team Assistant: Sy Manello

Editor: Lynne Konstantin
Executive Editor: Gail Zimmerman

Young Adult Advisory Board

Gayle Friedman Gold, Jordan Glass, Robin Schwartz,
Brad "Bubba" Urdan

Published by: Jewish Renaissance Media
Chairman: Michael H. Steinhardt
President/Publisher: Arthur M. Horwitz
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Customer Service Manager: Zena Davis


Drake Road Construction
The Road Commission for Oakland
County expects to close Drake Road
at both the north and south sides of
the Maple/Drake roundabout in West
Bloomfield on July 13 so the round-
about can be modified slightly to
accommodate new pedestrian cross-
walk signals.
Drake, a crossroads for the

Eugene and Marcia Applebaum
Jewish Community Campus in West
Bloomfield, is expected to remain
closed at the roundabout until Aug. 14.
The work will reconfigure the "split-
ter" islands, adjust some of the curbs
and install the crosswalk signals.
The signals are a new form of
pedestrian-activated signals, and will
be placed at all four entrances to the

roundabout. The signals will stop traf-
fic entering and exiting the roundabout
to allow pedestrians to safely cross the
Unlike traditional pedestrian-cross-
walk signals, the new signals will
remain unlit unless a pedestrian press-
es the crosswalk button.

— Keri Guten Cohen,

story development editor

Our J14 Mission

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advocating positions that strengthen Jewish unity and continuity. We desire to create and maintain a challenging, caring, enjoyable work environment that encourages creativity
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July 9 • 2009


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