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March 22, 2012 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-03-22

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FJA senior Noga Barpal introduced U.S. Rep. Gary Peters at a school Town

Hall session.

Debra B. Darvick

Special to the Jewish News

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March 22 = 2012

U.S. Rep.
Peters visits
Frankel Jewish

D-Bloomfield Township, spoke
on a wide range of issues at
the Frankel Jewish Academy's weekly
Town Hall in early March and then
met with small groups of students who
came prepared with questions.
Before introducing the congress-
man, senior Noga Barpal, who had
arranged his visit, told her classmates,
"Your voice matters."
By way of example, Barpal recount-
ed Peters' first visit to Frankel Jewish
Academy. In June 2009, he met with
Ms Israel Advocacy students to
discuss H. Con. Res. 29, a resolution
calling for UNRWA (United Nations
Relief and Work Agency) to use U.S.
tax dollars for humanitarian purposes
to help Palestinian refugees and not
fund hate education and promote
terrorism. After talking with FJA stu-
dents, Peters became one of the bill's
At Town Hall, Peters began by
emphasizing the importance of reach-
ing out to one's elected officials. "Even
if you are not of voting age yet," he
said, "there are still issues that are
important to you and your families.
I can't represent you if I don't know
what's on your mind."
Although H. Con. Res. 29 has not
yet been passed, Peters expressed
hope that in the new session he would
be able to re-introduce the bill and
garner the needed support. "We need

more academies [like FJA] in other
districts:' he said. "Reach out to your
friends to put student pressure on
their elected representatives:'
After his talk, students voiced con-
cerns over the rising costs of health
care and higher education, unfair
international trade practices, job
growth in Michigan and more. Peters
stressed his ongoing support for Israel
and recounted his two visits to the
Sophomore Jesse Arm, son of Robin
and David Arm of West Bloomfield,
asked Peters if he believed tougher
sanctions would deter Iran.
"We have the capability of surgical
strikes to deal with [underground
nuclear systems]," he replied and
stressed the need for credible threat of
military action if necessary.
In addressing concerns over the ris-
ing costs of higher education, Peters
noted that funding for Pell grants
has been raised and that the interest
for student loans is being held at just
more than 3 percent. Acknowledging
the barriers high university costs
pose, Peters lamented, "We spend
more on prisons than on higher edu-
cation. This is seriously out of whack."
Not out of whack was the opportu-
nity the students had to meet with the
congressman, ask questions of him
and know their concerns were being
taken seriously. E

Debra B. Darvick is communications

director for Frankel Jewish Academy in

West Bloomfield.

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