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April 28, 2011 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-04-28

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Voice from page 12

725 years] means a

generation of successful
and satisfying service to
the congregation."

— Rabbi Norman T. Roman

"Our youth group is an important
part of what we do," Roman says, not-
ing how many teens have been officers
of NFTY, the Reform youth movement,
on a local, regional and national level,
including two of his children. Chad is a
former national president and Caryn is
a current URJ and NFTY staff member.
"We regularly send outsized delega-
tions to Reform summer camps and
youth leadership events.
"One of the nice things about our
Jewish community is that we have so
many niche congregations:' he says.
"Our niche is that we are a welcom-
ing, inclusive, participatory main-
stream Reform congregation with a
nice mix of contemporary and tradi-
tional music and a low-key tone.
"What is extremely gratifying over
the years is that lots of professional
staff at local Jewish agencies —
department heads, assistant direc-
tors, etc. — choose to affiliate with
TKA, to educate their kids with us
and be active Roman says.

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April 28 e 2011


Love Of Israel
"Growing up in Cleveland, my rabbi,
whom I would later work with,
instilled in us a very strong connec-
tion with Israel," Roman says. "It was
a given. It was part of what we did. I
remember telling the search commit-
tee that I want to help others build a
relationship with Israel."
Chudnof recalls traveling to Israel
with her husband, Mel, and their
children on a congregational trip in
the early 1990s.
"He was full of energy and had a
wonderful love and passion for the
people and the country:' she says. "We
walked away with his passion moved
onto us." She also noted the deep
impact the trip and Roman made on
her children.
"Others travel to Florida or
Arizona, but Israel is where I
recharge my batteries," says Roman,
a descendent of early settlers of
Zichron Yaakov overlooking the
Mediterranean Sea. He likes to go at
least once each year.
"Israel is not the center, but at the
center, of what we do:' Roman says.

"It provides inspiration, a dream and
a reality, a laboratory of Jewish val-
ues to be played out in the real world.
And there is a role we can play in
making Israel better, a more success-
ful experiment."

A Caring Leader
Chudnof credits Roman with the
vision to build a school wing at Kol
Ami, which was opened in the fall
of 2008. Until then, the school was
always housed elsewhere.
"We were nomads:' she said. "We
didn't have a place. Under his leader-
ship, we were able to say, This is our
school!' It's wonderful to have the
kids in our building.
"We've always had a great relation-
ship," she said. "He's always been will-
ing to look at what can be done bet-
ter. We do a lot of community action,
and because we are just 375 member
units, we have to let people know that
while we are small, we are mighty."
Dave Henig, a congregant for more
than 20 years, is proud of Kol Ami's
legacy and the role of its rabbis in the
"Under Rabbi Roman's guidance,
our commitment to social action and
interfaith activity, begun by Rabbi
Conrad, continues and grows:' Henig
says. "He has an ongoing commit-
ment to United We Walk celebrating
the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday
and participates not only in local
events, but also in the broader metro-
politan community.
"The rabbi enables and encourages
spiritual growth, allowing each of us
to grow at our own pace. He is a great
teacher and caring pastor, concerned
about his congregants and their lives
as well as many of those with whom
he has crossed paths:' II

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$25 in advance, $36 at the door;
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