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February 11, 2010 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2010-02-11

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

jewis

ado

www.theJEWISHNEWS.com

Environmental Concern from page JE 1

COMMENTARY

help people help the environment."
The partners have been active this winter when energy bills typically rise. Both par-
ticipated in Weatherization Day in Lansing and installed energy-efficient light bulbs,
caulked windows and applied weather stripping to five low-income family homes there.
In November, they sponsored and donated two energy audits to the Hillels of Michigan
Online Auction. This month, they conducted their first paid audit.
With President Barack Obama and Michigan making energy efficiency a priority, the
state is ripe for the green movement, Duke said. Michigan also approved homeowner tax
credits for energy-efficiency improvements, an alternative energy personal property tax
exemption and various other incentives to promote going green.
And with a large base of unemployed yet educated and experienced workers and even
more on the way as college graduates grow the glut, Go Green Energy Consulting sees tre-
mendous potential for a statewide operation.
"I'm looking for a job in the worst economy since my grandma was in her teens," said
Smith, who grew up with Duke in West Bloomfield; both graduated from Birmingham
Groves High School. "If you look at it that way, Adam and I have a really positive outlook.
You can look at there not being jobs and say, 'Boo-hoo, everyone is out of work,' or you
can say, 'Oh great, look at all these really qualified people available to work.'"
Duke and Smith said much of the green movement's problems are attributed to decision-
makers locked into an older way of thinking. While some people might have more busi-
ness experience, often the smaller start-up firm is responsible for significant innovations.
But business experience isn't everything, either. Duke has attended alternative energy
conferences for four years and usually is the youngest person in the room, but he has put
in just as many years in the alternative energy business as the next CEO. And in the end,
it's Go Green Energy Consulting's combination of youth and experience that will bring the
green movement — and jobs — to Michigan.
"We have grown up and been handed a world, and the outlook doesn't look so good
anymore," Duke said. "As young people, we have a duty to tell the people who gave us this
world that we don't want it to be that way anymore and that the environmental cause is
something we're going to have to deal with over the next 50 years.
"I love working with my best friend; and we're just trying to help people in Michigan
take advantage of this because it's going to happen no matter what." @

by Shelley Rosenberg

Zack Colman of Bloomfield Township is a senior at Michigan State University in East Lansing. To contact
Go Green Energy Consulting, visit GoGreenEC.net .

Jerusalem

Shelley Rosen:De:cc; in Israe.1 lasT. year.

The Great Divide

Exploring life on the other side
of Israel's security barrier.

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2

February 11 • 2010

jewish@edu • al

tudying at the Hebrew University atop Mount Scopus last semester, my love of Zion
was bolstered each morning when I awoke to the Jerusalem skyline. While brushing
my teeth, I could catch a glimpse of the Temple Mount and the Kotel. Naturally, the
Jerusalem hills took a toll on my daily run.
One day, a friend and I lengthened our run. About 20 minutes from my apartment, we
suddenly found ourselves running along the security barrier that separates Israel proper from
the West Bank. Later, I could not stop thinking about the nearby security fence. What lay on
the other side? Finally, I decided to visit the West Bank to better understand the divisiveness
prevailing in Israel today.
I visited Bethlehem as part of an established program through the organization Encounter
and stayed overnight with a local Palestinian family. Although initially apprehensive, my
fears quickly were allayed by common ground. My host-father, Salah, and I discovered our
favorite movie was Slumdog Millionaire. He then told me he had never been to a movie the-
ater and sat entranced as I described my typical cinematic experience.
Only a 15-minute drive from my modem Israeli lifestyle, the juxtaposition of his dire liv-
ing conditions was striking. In the West Bank, people lack many simple comforts of life and
basic infrastructure such as an adequate sewage system. At first I thought our incompatible
lives would leave us nothing to talk about, but after Salah and I cast aside our differences, we
candidly discussed politics, religion and culture for several hours, nurturing an understanding
of two varied life experiences.
It is not fair that Israeli parents fear for their children's lives when loading them onto the
school bus each morning. It is not right that the Jewish people still struggle to gain political
acceptance from the world. But it also is not fair that Salah, an honest, hard-working man,
just wants to provide his children with a better life, and he can't.
Salah has never left the West Bank. If allowed out, he would not choose to bomb an Israeli
cafe, but instead would move his family to a community like our own in Detroit and pursue
the American Dream. His aspirations are similar to my very own great-grandparents and
grandparents, who worked hard to provide me a better life than they had. Salah's life also is
not fair. He was born on the wrong side of the security barrier.
When working at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., two summers ago, I asked one
of my bosses if he was pro-Palestine? His response forced me to probe deeper. He explained,
confidently, "Of course. Being pro-Palestine is pro-Israel."
While I am young, I am not naive. All I can offer you is what I have experienced and seen
in my 21 years as a passionate Zionist. I have seen firsthand that face-to-face interaction has
the power to transform conflict.
As the Maharal, the famous 16th-century talmudic scholar, Kabbalist and philosopher,
said, "For the love of inquiry and knowledge, it is advisable that one not reject what contra-
dicts one's view." He added, "Therefore, it is not right to dismiss the words of one's oppo-
nent, but to draw him close and look carefully into his words." @

Shelley Rosenberg is a senior at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

www.theJEWISHNEWS.com

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