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September 22, 2011 - Image 22

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-09-22

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ice project.

Gail Katz
Special to the Jewish News


he Jewish Community Relations
Council and J-Serve (Jewish teen
service) joined with major corn-
munity leaders and organizations to mark
the 10th anniversary of 9-11 through A-OK
(Acts of Kindness) Detroit, a day of com-
munity service and intercultural connection
on Sunday, Sept. 11.
Volunteers met at the Focus: HOPE cam-
pus in Detroit to perform service activities
for its food outreach, education and com-
munity revitalization efforts. The Jewish
teens worked with Muslim and Christian
teens to assemble projects and stuff back-
packs for Detroit Public School students.
They joined volunteers from City Year
Detroit, United Way, the University of
Michigan-Dearborn, ACCESS, Women's
Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and
Outreach in Metro Detroit (WISDOM),
the Interfaith Leadership Council of
Metropolitan Detroit and the Council of
Islamic Organizations of Michigan.
The aim of A-OK Detroit was to trans-
form 9-11 from a day of mourning into a
day of service and acceptance by bringing
together diverse community groups with
common missions of unity, peace and
mutual understanding.
The Acts of Kindness mission was to
change 9-11 into a day for people to work
side by side to find commonality as human
beings, to reduce myths and stereotypes
about the "other," and increase respect and
"It is so wonderful to see Jewish teens
from all sects of Judaism join with teens
from many other faiths to serve the com-
munity," said Jared Rothberger, program
director for the BBYO youth organization
and co-chair of J-Serve Detroit. "Ten years
after our nation was driven apart by trag-
edy, we are coming together to make a dif-


September 22 • 2011

ference in Detroit.
"This J-Serve project was so important
for our teens who were young children when
9-11 hit. We are making sure that as teenag-
ers, they take responsibility for their com-
munity and learn how important service
and dialogue are for a stronger Michigan!"
J-Serve volunteer Abby Siegal, a student
at Birmingham Groves High School, said,
"It doesn't matter what religion we are,
we all need to help our community. I have
friends that said they were too scared to go
to Detroit to volunteer. We are all just people
— human beings that need to understand
one another."
Gabby Lowenthal, a J-Serve teen volun-
teer from West Bloomfield High School,
observed, "People forget that there were
Christians, Jews and Muslims in the build-
ings that were attacked on 9-11. I was too
little at the time to understand, but now I
know enough to give back to the communi-
ty, so that nothing like this happens again."
Josh Morof, Bloomfield Hills Andover High
School senior and founder of the interfaith
teen initiative called "Face to Faith," said,
"A-OK truly put the community in com-
munity service. A-OK took my passion for
both community service and interfaith and
brought them together for the first time."
A-OK Detroit, in partnership with J-Serve
and WISDOM, drew more than 800 volunteers
to give back to a city in need. J-Serve offers
service opportunities throughout the year
in partnership with many local synagogues,
temples, schools, camps and youth groups.
For more information about Jewish teen
service, contact Jared Rothberger at (248)
432-5685. For more information about
community interfaith activities, contact
Gail Katz at (248) 978-6664 or
gailkatz@comccast.net .

Ail 100 J.-Serve teens with
the tree planted in honor of
the 9-11 day of service

Abby Siegal, a Groves High School student, and Gabby Lowenthal, who attends

West Bloomfield High School, participated in A-OK Detroit.

Daphne Logan and Jenna Weberman, both of Bloomfield Hills, Asim Mishra,

Gail Katz is co-founder of WISDOM and
educational co-chair of the Interfaith

deputy chief of staff for policy at the Corporation for National and Community

Leadership Council.

Josh Morof of Farmington Hills

Service in Washington, D.C, who spoke to the teens about volunteer service, and

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